Eating out on a Diet? Healthy Food Choices at French Restaurants

Healthy diet food and French restaurants can coexist. Choices abound, and many cooks prepare French dishes in a simple way that allows the flavor of the food to shine through. Also, French portion sizes are usually small, which helps you avoid overeating. Here are a few healthy choices from French restaurants. 


Instead of fried foods, order raw vegetables called crudités before your meal. You can also start with a salad of greens and vinaigrette dressing on the side. Green beans seasoned with a little olive oil and basil make a nice side dish, or you may prefer roasted or grilled vegetables such as tomato, eggplant, and potatoes with herbs.


Soup is filling and makes a healthy starter or main dish. Have a cup or bowl of clear, broth-based soup, such as a fish soup called bouillabaisse. Vegetable soup is another healthy choice, and may come with beans, pumpkin, zucchini, green beans, tomato, as well as plenty of herbs and spices.

Fish and Poultry

If you like fish, make a healthful meal of tuna, salmon, cod, or mackerel. No matter your favorite fish, it’s even more diet-friendly when baked, steamed, grilled, or broiled with fresh lemon and sprigs of fresh herbs. Poultry is another healthful option when you’re dieting.  Consider the traditional French chicken dish called coq au vin, or have roasted chicken, quail, or squab.


If you’ve settled on beef, pork or lamb, order the smallest cuts available along with plenty of vegetables, which help fill you up for minimal calories. Have your meat roasted or broiled instead of fried. Avoid creamy sauces, or get the sauce on the side and use just enough for flavor.


Pasta makes a great meatless dish when served with vegetables, light sauces, and herbs. One example is penne pasta with eggplant and tomato sauce. Beans and legumes are filling and enjoyed in many dishes such as lentil salad with vegetables, herbs, and mint. A traditional meatless casserole in France is ratatouille, which includes squash and eggplant. Eggplant slices are also good when baked with tomato sauce and a little cheese on top.


Try poached peaches, pears, or apples, fruit with Greek-style yogurt, or a fruit sorbet. Even a simple dish of fresh fruit makes a satisfying dessert.


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