Your Guide to Eating Healthy in France

Experts + Insiders | France | By Jennifer Moore

One of my favourite aspects of travelling is trying the local culinary delights.  And when you’re travelling in France, where I’ve been guiding for B&R this summer, there is no shortage of food and flavours to tantalize your taste buds. From the pastries, bread and cheese to the wine and desserts, you will not go hungry in this country. Unfortunately, if you’re a foodie like me, the only thing you may have a shortage of is a pair of pants that you can still button up by the end of your trip!

When you’re on vacation, you should be allowed to indulge. But, wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy that French je ne sais quoi and still make it home without gaining five pounds? There are a few tricks to eating healthy in France that I’ve discovered, while keeping your diet afloat in a sea of butter and wine.

Here’s how you can eat your cake, and button your jeans too.

Pass on the Pastries

At the breakfast buffet, fill up on natural yogurt with fruit and muesli. Make sure it’s muesli you are putting on your yogurt and not lumps of granola—it’ll be loose individual oat flakes and dried fruit and nuts, instead of clumps of calorie- and sugar-laden granola. Eggs and some veggies are another great option from the breakfast buffet. Breakfasts like these will see you through a morning of sightseeing without the munchies.

Eating Healthy in France
French markets offer a host of healthy, fresh, local snacks.
Snack Like a Local

Visit the local markets to fill up on snacks. French markets are my favourite, with all their beautiful local offerings. Visiting the market is a great way to sample local, seasonal fare. It also gives you a chance to indulge in la vie Française: pretend you’re a local and imagine yourself doing your daily shopping. You can stock up on great snacks at the markets, like fresh fruit and veggies, dried fruit and nuts, olives, and even cured meats. Keep snacks like these handy so you can keep your hunger at bay and don’t end up ravenous at the table at your next meal, filling up on the bread.

A Salad a Day Keeps Pounds at Bay

At lunch, opt for a salad. The French are great at making delicious and filling salads, like their famous salade Niçoise. If a salad isn’t for you, try a French omelette—they’re always served with a side salad, so you can get your veggies in too.

Eating Healthy in France
French bread: delicious, but deadly for your waistline.


Bye-bye Bread Basket

Say au revoir to the bread basket. It can be really tempting when you sit down at the table at a restaurant to reach for that (often fresh) bread. But you are better off staying away and not filling up on bread before your meal arrives. Leave the empty carbs and calories and save room for something you really want.