French women don’t get fat, or so they say, but we all know that French cuisine is actually rather rich. Marie Antoinette didn’t say “Let them eat cake” for nothing. All that butter, wine, cream, baguettes, and lest we forget, their cheeses. Sacré bleu, le fromage! J’adore le fromage! France is a popular summer destination, and with the many decadent temptations on the French menus, it can be especially difficult to keep our waistlines on the prix fixe side, rather than à la carte. Luckily we’ve found many indulgent yet healthy dishes that are actually French cuisine mainstays, so you won’t guillotine your head counting calories. Zut alors, to the Seine!
Potato leek soup is a popular French soup, and makes a nice light lunch when you’re in between the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay. Delicious and flavorful, and if it’s not pureed too much, can even be a hearty, chunky stew. Just make sure it’s not cream based, or at least, easy on the cream. With only 140 calories a serving, you’ll have room left over to sop up the extra with a bit of baguette.
Sauteed spinach with Garlic and lemon. This lemon-kissed sautéed spinach is packed with folate, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. You’ll need all those vitamins and minerals when you climb the stairs at the Eiffel Tower, instead of taking the elevator (right?). At only 45 calories a serving, you’re welcome to take extra helpings. And it’s also low in fat (4g), carbs (1g), and saturated fat (1g).
Coq au vin combines America’s favorite chicken with France’s favorite wine. This is a version of hearty stew and is made with red wine, so makes for a perfect dish when you’re in Bordeaux, home to some of the greatest vineyards in the world. 395 calories means that you can eat a healthy portion and feel full, and it’s 32 grams of protein will help build lean muscle from all the bike riding you’ll be doing in a beret through the French countryside, n’est ce pas?
Tuna au Poivre with Lemon-Caper Lentils. Lean tuna replaces fattier beef loin steak usually seen in American menus in this French favorite — and a surprise side of lentils, in place of the expected calorie-laden french fries, adds an earthy boost of fiber. With 445 calories, this dish just made it under the wire of healthy nutritional content, but you’ll love the low saturated fat content (1g), and a whopping 58 grams of protein.