In this article, I will present how to eat like the French with 10 diet guidelines and French culinary traditions. French people like to eat quality food but in small quantities. This is why French women have a reputation for eating well but not gaining weight! Amazing, isn’t it?
The French are also very attached to their culinary traditions during the year, where family and friends meet to celebrate French values such as the love of gastronomy and family!
Quality over quantity
It’s important when eating in France to eat everything but in reasonable quantities. For example, we start with the “entrée”, then the main course and we always end with the cheese and then the dessert. It may seem like a big meal, but the trick is to eat a small portion each time. Like that, we vary the pleasures and we do not abuse each food.
The “goûter” is the equivalent of afternoon tea in England. It’s taken between 4 pm-4:30 pm. Most often these are cookies, homemade cakes and hot chocolate or fruit juice. It is very common among children, who have “goûter” after school. But adults love it too, it’s an opportunity to buy a pastry and a good coffee!
I think there is no need to even explain the famous French aperitif! French people like to meet up after work at a terrace, or at home with friends and family to taste wine and charcuterie (deli meat), /cheese boards. To me, this is one of the best and most typical French culinary practices. Wine is very common, however, you can also drink kir royal, whiskey or champagne for example!
Traditional meals according to the season
France has a lot of typical dishes that come back every year depending on the season. For example in winter, the French eat raclette, fondue or gratin dauphinois … While in summer it will be more salads, quiches and light sandwiches. During the year, it is also the tradition to eat crepes, sweet or savoury, especially on mardi gras day.
Lots of bread, lots of wine and… lots of cheese
We could sum up French food by wine, bread and cheese! Of course, it’s much more than that but this “cliché” is not totally one. Wine, cheese and bread have almost statues of gods in France! We have some at every meal. It must be said that it is our pride and we produce so much, of quality, that they are envied all over the world! If you’re coming to France soon, don’t forget to taste the famous French baguette, French cheese (yes, any) and red wine, from Bordeaux for example!
Pastries and desserts
Pastries and desserts are also very famous in France. We have wonderful baking know-how and who has never heard of our “croissants” and “pains au chocolat”! In French families, there are also many homemade desserts such as chocolate fondant, tarte tatin or chocolate éclairs. I remember being small and still today, it’s the tradition to make desserts in family for the meal or the “goûter.”
Lunchtime at work
Meals are very sacred moments in France and you can spend an entire afternoon around the table, snacking and chatting. This is why during lunchtime at work, French people generally take an hour to eat, sometimes more. It may seem like a lot for some countries who eat in 30 minutes, or worse, eat at their desk. But for us, it’s important to enjoy the meal and not to eat in a hurry, which is also bad for our health and is one of the reasons for weight gain. Of course, on some working days, we will just eat a sandwich or a salad, but we always take a minimum 45-minute break.
Dark Chocolate is better
Yes, chocolate is sacred in France! It’s in a lot of our pastries so we love it. However, dark chocolate is better and very popular in France. Dark chocolate has been shown to protect the heart and improve artery health. It also helps to fight stress, fatigue and anxiety. So, if you want to keep the figure while eating and indulging yourself like the French, consider dark chocolate!
Dinner is the most important meal of the day
All meals of the day are important in France, but dinner is definitely the most popular! It’s an opportunity to meet and talk about your day while enjoying an aperitif then dinner in peace. It is the tradition to set the table, the bread and the wine and then start with the “entrée”. We don’t watch TV but on the contrary, we enjoy this moment of sharing with family or friends.
Sunday is for lunch with the family
Sunday in France is often spent going to see the family (grandparents, cousins, etc.) and eat with them. We usually also spend the afternoon at the table because the meal gets longer: we talk a lot and the aperitif goes on forever! What I love is that everyone brings homemade food, wine and cheese from the regions of France.