Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The French Way of Eating

Written by Kate Bullen, APD
An article appeared in our Sunday paper last weekend about the reasons that French women don’t get fat. France is such an amazing country and their women are known for being uber stylish and pretty damn trim. So I thought I would borrow some of the concepts that were outlined:

The French drink black coffee instead of a milky latte or milk based cappuccino.  Now this has to be a big one. A black coffee gives you absolutely zero calories/kilojoules but a medium latte (300ml) will give you 705kj (or around 10% of an average persons daily kilojoule needs).

The French keep active. So whether they are walking to get their local coffee or taking their stairs in their apartment building, or walking their dogs a couple of times a day they keep active during the day. I think most of us could take tips from this!

The French eat 3 meals a day.  There does seem to be a general belief that 5 small meals can help with appetite control and weight loss. This is not always the case. If you are not hungry – then don’t eat! Otherwise you are just getting unnecessary kilojoules.

The French eat chocolate and cake. Now this is my personal favourite! We shouldn’t have any ‘bad’ foods that we tell ourselves we can’t eat. As soon as we do this typically we just want the food more. The French are quite clever – they only have small portions of these tasty foods. I have fond memories of walking through Parisian streets and laneways admiring the gorgeous treats in Patisseries. I also remember that most of these pastries were quite small in size. Compare this to some of the super sized biscuits, muffins or pastries that I see at our coffee shops and bakeries and the difference is quite obvious!  I think quality is the key here. Buy the best quality chocolate you can – and enjoy it. Same for sweet treats – don’t deny yourself that  piece of chocolate cake that you want. But if you are worried – then share it with a friend. But most importantly – enjoy it.

The French shop for groceries every day. There are local fruit and vegetables and bread shops on every corner in France, and markets are dotted around the big cities. Making it very easy to stock up on fresh produce each day – only buying what is needed and buying what is in season. And getting a bit of extra exercise at the same time by walking to and from and carrying the groceries home. I don’t know about you, but my weekly grocery shop consists of me putting 2 kid in the car, driving to my shopping centre, getting out of the car, walking into the supermarket, buying what is on my list for the week, and then heading home. Not much in the way of physical activity there!

The French eat cheese. Again portion control and quality of cheese is the key message. The French enjoy amazing cheese – but only in small amounts.  A great lesson to be learnt here as we are just a few months out from the festive season.

I would love to hear what your take away message is from how the French eat? I know I have been reminded of a few ways that I can improve my eating and habits based on the French way of eating. I think I will try and walk to my local shop a few times during the week to get the basics of milk and bread, instead of doing the big supermarket shop once a week.


Anonymous said...

Bonjour Kate ;)

Very interesting post for me ;) as a french woman, I validate all the facts about french ways and aussi ways of life! I am living in Melbourne and work here in an office. I go to work everyday by bike: 25min 1 way, same to return home. I ride every working days, and try to go to pump and pilates classes once week at least if not twice a week. On the side, I tried to motivate myself to diet and loose a bit of weight. Well, I went to France for 3 weeks in august: no restrictions, I had all I wanted to eat that I love overthere: churros, icecreams, biscuits, awesome little pastries, nice cheese,some good charcuteries, and some duck. I have been active of course, but not that much as it was very very hot overthere. As soon as I came back to Melbourne, I thought "I probably put on at least 2kg with all this food I ate" ans my scale shown the opposite!! I didn't take a gramme and even lost a few more! But...a week later in Melbourne, I gained 1kg! It is actually hard to maintain your weight over here!!!
When portions will be normal here and stop to be oversized, then maybe it will be easier to control our weight!!!

Kate Bullen APD said...

Bonjour! thanks so much for stopping by. Yes - portions are definitely a problem. Everything seems to be super sized. I was walking past a bakery today and all their pastries just seem enormous! I bet you had a fantastic time back in France :) Cheers, Kate.

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