As you may likely know from reading Misadventures with Andi for any length of time, I love France and all things French, but I also try to eat health and nutritious and follow a low-carb diet. I can tell you from my experiences of traveling to Paris more than 50 times in my life that it isn't always easy to find diet-friendly food in France. BUT…it isn't impossible.
In a study on the nutritional diet quality in France, 26% of the participants said health concerns informed what food they ate. Meanwhile, 19% mentioned natural foods (meaning the absence of artificial additives) as a factor in including specific foods in their diet — highlighting the rising need for French cuisine to be both nutritious and sustainable. The referenced study even noted an increase in fruit and vegetables, nuts, legume, fish, and seafood consumption.
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Of course, diets don't equate to you cutting out delicious food. The meals that are included in a weight loss plan don’t have to be bland or tasteless. In fact, the best ones let you eat whatever you want, just in reasonable portions (this is why a followed the WW plan for years!). This means that there’s no reason to miss out on what the French have to offer. Simply leave room for swaps or substitutions, like ditch butter for olive oil or skip baguettes for satisfying salads. After all, eating healthily while traveling shouldn’t be limiting.
Here are 6 diet-friendly dishes and snacks you should try on your next trip to France:
Shellfish are definitely keto-friendly. For reference, a single shellfish contains about 20 grams of protein and less than 100 calories. Not to mention, these foods are also an incredible source of magnesium and potassium which can balance out your blood pressure.
Scallops, in particular, are easy to prepare in a variety of ways. In French cuisine, a classic scallop dish is served with shallot sauce or sage cream, so you can try it in different regional styles.
Scallops in French: Coquilles Saint-Jacques, pronounced as koh-key san jack
Tuna au Poivre
Tuna au Poivre essentially translates as “tuna with pepper,” but don’t let the name fool you, it’s a dish that packs a strong flavor. Tuna, which is prominently featured in this dish, may be marinated in a variety of spices like coriander or fennel seeds.
This is a great dish for those on a diet since tuna is low in fat content and rich in Vitamin B12, folates, and B complexes. Eating tuna can also help manage insulin levels and weight loss. If you want to boost your body’s antioxidants too, you can consider preparing this dish in red wine.
Note that the tuna will usually be served rare.
French onion soup
French onion soup is as fulfilling as it is straightforward. Consisting only of onions, vegetable stock, wine and lots of cheese. This dish delivers both great taste and a variety of nutrients. Onions specifically, are known to improve insulin resistance which can reduce body weight and body mass index.
If you're convinced to try this soup, remember that it's usually served with croutons on top or a side of baguette.
Check out my article on French onion soup to learn more about its history and where to find it in Paris.
French Onion Soup in French: soupe à l'oignon, pronounced as soop ah lunion.
Nicoise salad is widely known for using tuna in oil and a mustard vinaigrette. However, you can also make use of salmon or other fatty fish which have high levels of omega-3 fats. Salmon is associated with increased insulin sensitivity which is beneficial to weight loss.
This salad can entertain different kinds of ingredients too, depending on your tastes. You can easily add extra vegetables in place or hard-boiled eggs if you want a light meal. made with tuna in oil and topped with a creamy mustard vinaigrette.
Paris has a ton of Mediterranean restaurants where you can easily find falafel, hummus and lentil dishes. Mediterranean cuisine is made up of plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Olive oil is the mainstay of Mediterranean cuisine and it is a source of added fat. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol. Nuts and seeds also have monounsaturated fat as well.
The ingredients commonly found in ratatouille are eggplant, onions, squash, tomatoes, and zucchini. Fresh herbs such as basil and thyme make the dish more aromatic and flavorful — and depending on the herbs grown in Provence, you’ll likely see more thrown in the mix.
While this dish is known for its rich flavor profile, it also offers various health benefits. Ratatouille is packed with nutrients and is a good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin B6.
So if you are really good and try to find healthy foods while you are visiting France, you can treat yourself with a French pastry when its your cheat day. Which I highly recommend! If you are following WW, bank some points and you will not even have to “cheat!” Whatever diet or food lifestyle I am following I always make sure I allow for treats from time to time otherwise it feels like you are in food prison, and nobody wants that!
How about you? Do you have other recommendations for diet-friendly dishes and snacks to try in France? Do share!
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