France may conjure up gastronomic images of patisseries, fatty cheeses, and sugary crepes, but if you’re looking for a healthier holiday, there are some delicious French foods to be had that won’t bust the button on your jeans.
The French take time over their meals, which in itself is a healthy way of eating as it aids digestion and ensures you have a happy mealtime chatting with friends and family. Red wine is never absent from a table, teamed with plenty of still water, bread comes with every meal, and if you’re eating out, vegetables can be scarce – order a meat dish and you will most likely get a delightfully-cooked piece of meat with buttery potatoes, and a lack of anything green. This being said, choose your meals sensibly and you can be healthy.
There are plenty of delicious and healthy ways to enjoy fish – one classic French way is to make “papillotes” or parcels in which to steam the fish. Using fresh and seasonal veg like asparagus and carrots, this makes for a delicious meal.
A lot of French meals derive from simple peasant dishes- for example the cassoulet, Coq au Vin, and ratatouille. Using plenty of vegetables and meat cooked until it falls off the bone, it’s an idea to look for these dishes when you’re out and about. Using healthy beans and veg, these dishes aren’t packed with the level of creamy sauces that other dishes are and make for a hearty and healthy option.
You will most likely be overwhelmed by the amount of cheese on offer in France, a quick way of piling on the pounds. If you simply can’t resist then think about eating it with a fresh and healthy salad – for example a goat’s cheese salad, with beetroot and fresh leaves and a citrus dressing. This way you won’t be chowing down on huge hunks of bread, which will also pile on the calories.
The key to staying sensible with your eating in France is to eat at set meal times. Meals are enjoyable, drawn out affairs, so there should be no need for snacking in between. Enjoy everything in moderation, and discover the healthy side of France!
the French are known for not getting fat so they must be doing something right. Portion control, maybe?
savour your food and enjoy the tastes - wise advice for us all! There's no need to cut out any food group - the French are not generally a fat nation. They just know when to stop.