The French woman diet: is it a myth or a reality? You’ll tell me. What do French women do to stay slim-ish with all our heavy traditional French cuisine?
I’ll share with you my eating habits and also my subjective opinion as a French woman.
I guess some or most of these habits are shared by other French people and I’m sure also other nationalities.
First, this post is not about being slim or that people should be slim, it is about the French healthy eating habits. Feeling good in our body and being healthy is the most important! There are other great diets, I’m a big fan of Asian diets too and love Brazilian food!
My breakfast routine
My breakfast as an expat
This is my weak point. I’m not very consistent with breakfast. I know I should have a big breakfast but I often skip it if I’m running late. I’m trying to change that now.
Also, I realised my breakfast habits have changed a lot depending on where I live. When I’m overseas, my breakfast usually adapts to the local menu. I could never eat beans and tomato sauce in the UK, but I love having eggs and bacon for breakfast.
I have to admit it sometimes requires some psychological preparation since French breakfast is always sweet, but my taste buds love it.
In Brazil, I usually have a very northeastern Brazilian breakfast with a tapioca crepe or couscous. All savoury food with a tropical fresh fruit smoothie. As a foreigner in France, are you having a French breakfast, a sweet breakfast? Or do you keep your home country breakfast habits?
My breakfast in France
In France, I’m mainly having toasts with butter and my mum’s homemade jam with black and dark coffee (no milk, no sugar). And when I have time, a fresh seasonal fruit smoothie.
One very important thing! When I say toast I mean tartines with real bread. Not industrial sliced bread (pain de mie) with a lot of additives and sugar.
I also like having chia seeds mixed with coconut milk, fruits, almonds and honey. This one is not typically French! A German friend actually shared her recipe with me! And I just love this, it is like an energy boost to start the day well!
More on the typical French breakfast in this post
My French lunch
My French woman diet daily routine
Then I’ll have lunch around 12h30 – 1 pm. I’m not a big carnivore, even though I like meat. I’d say I’m a flexitarian if I need to give it a label.
But I’ll always have at least 2 vegetables during my meal, often much more.
I’d have a salad with raw seasonal veggies. It is important for me to have good quality products and in my opinion, it is possible only with seasonal ones. Plus, it is better for the planet and the wallet! I also like adding nuts, condiments, dry fruits etc. to my food.
In winter, I’d crave homemade soup and gratin. Always homemade, I usually make a big batch of soup and I freeze portions for later. I like cooking but not the whole deal every day.
I never, ever buy pre-prepared food at the supermarket or in very rare exceptions. Like when I go to an apéro and I have had no time to prepare homemade nibbles.
As the main course, I’d have veggies and carbs and I also love pulses like lentils or chickpeas, and it goes great with cereals. Did you know that combining the two actually gives proteins? (a tip that many vegetarians would know, I guess). That explains many traditional dishes if you think about it!
Well…I’m straying from the point… My French woman diet.
French woman diet: One thing I never cook
… and that I wish I did: is Fish!
I’ve never learned to cook fish and seafood. I love it but I’m just not from the seaside so I’ve never learnt how to do it well.
I’ve never really eaten it at home as a child. So when I go to the restaurant, I usually have the fish option.
And then comes the cheese, I’m a cheese lover. It is THE food I miss the most with a good crunchy French fresh baguette when I am abroad. I don’t have it at every meal but almost. At least a bit! Mon péché mignon (my guilty pleasure).
Then I usually end my meal with a fruit or yoghurt with jam, I don’t buy already flavoured yoghurt. But I’d have yoghurt only if I didn’t have cheese before. (My doctor warned me against eating too much dairy). French people eat a lot of them. (Have you seen the supermarket yoghurt section? Crazy right?)
My mum always said everything is good in balanced proportions. I’d say this applies to homemade food and raw products. The rest is guilty pleasures. It’s ok as long as it remains an exception.
I don’t eat anything until dinner at 7 or 8 pm. If I am really hungry before dinner I’d have a banana or another fruit to make me wait until dinnertime. I wouldn’t snack actually in the morning either. I guess my parents repeated so much “on ne mange pas entre les repas”, that it became natural! (It wasn’t as a teenager, I can tell you that!).
French woman diet: Dinnertime secret
At dinner, I usually have a lighter meal if I’m not eating out. And if I both have a big lunch and a big dinner I’ll definitely eat light the following day. I guess this is an essential rule of the French women diet: if there is one day of excess, you have a lighter meal the following day.
Having a one-month strict diet in January and not paying attention to our daily eating diet as a whole is not the way I was brought up. I can’t say every French would feel like this, but moderation usually comes quite naturally for many people (not for everyone, of course, let’s not generalise).
So, I’d have a soup or a salad with a toast of paté or cheese or maybe tapenade (olive spread). I also like eating quiche with salad and fruit. I usually don’t have the 3 or even 4-course meal as I do for lunch. (starter, main, a piece of cheese and a fruit as dessert). Yes, this 4-course meal applies to the French woman diet!
Your French woman diet: Could you do it?
What I mean is would you enjoy it? Because food is all about pleasure for the French. Yes, that’s right pleasure and moderation can definitely go together.
Do you find that much different from your diet? Some of you might think, how doesn’t she crave crisps, chips, sodas, pastries, sweets?
Well, I don’t! Really. Of course, I eat what can be considered unhealthy food, when eaten in quantity, but just sometimes and usually apéro is the best time for it! Also, I don’t like sodas!
That’s it for this sneak peek into my plate! Do you find this French woman diet different from yours? Any surprises? I’d love to know.
I am in France now too and am noticing that no, not all French women are slim and b) thé diet industry is huge here too. Every third ad on TV is for slimming industry. So it feels good to know with my body type it is what it is. Like it or lump it and French women aren’t gobbling croissants and wine and cheese all day and wearing 5 inch heels. False! 🤣🤣
I too have trouble with the sweet breakfast. I am craving a breakfast sausage like no one’s business 🥴
I love the big lunch small dinner because it makes sense!!! Why the most calories at the END of the day?? That’s makes no sense. So I’m loving the new afternoon energy I have.
And yes the yogurt section blew my mind lol. I have fromage blanc after every meal.. fat free, low cal, delicious. 😍
Thank you for your comment.
Yes, there are a lot of clichés going around about the French diet. Some of it is true, but it never applies to all. And stilettos in France are not a thing with the coble stone streets for sure 🙂 Enjoy France!