How Living in France Changed the Way I Eat

Prior to dining among the French,  I was unaware of what it meant to eat seasonally. I had no perception of what vegetables and fruits were available in which seasons. Worse than that, I’d often find myself preparing my meals in a rush, taking them with me on-the-go. After living and eating among the French, my eating habits changed completely. I’ve compiled a list here of the many tips the French have taught me when it comes to living a delicious and healthy life.

  • WineI’m more likely to reach for a glass of wine at the dinner table than any other kind of flavored beverage. Studies reveal that drinking a glass or two of wine a day can benefit memory, lower the chances of dementia, and improve your levels of good vs. bad cholesterol.
  • It’s true that the French have taught me to indulge in butter, chocolate, and bread like they do, but they’ve also taught me that portion control and moderation are key to healthy eating habits. I don’t have cheat days or off-limit foods anymore. I simply eat everything I want, but in petite portions.Dining
  • One of the biggest changes in the way I eat has been the pace at which I eat my food. Unknowingly, I used to eat my food quite fast, finishing a meal in under 20 minutes. The French take at least one hour to eat their lunch—up to two hours if they’re eating with friends. Eating at a slow, leisurely pace has made me appreciate my meals so much more.
  • dairyI used to eat milk chocolate whenever I craved something chocolatey and sweet. Now, my palate has changed, and I really don’t enjoy the milk chocolate variety. I prefer rich, unadulterated dark chocolate (with my glass of wine!).
  • Whenever I buy dairy products, I always buy the full-fat version. Whether it’s milk, cheese, or yogurt, I’ve learned from the French that eating smaller quantities of the full-fat version is far more satiating than eating larger quantities of the low-fat version.
  • I avoid eating snacks between meals. I used to be guilty of peeking into my pantry every now and then between lunchfarmer's market and dinner, but consuming a full-fat diet and well-rounded meals like the French do has kept me full and snack-free between meals.
  • Perhaps the most life-changing experience has been the way I shop for my ingredients and what I choose to incorporate into my meals. The French have taught me to eat with a sense of awareness for what is seasonally appropriate and fresh. Shopping at farmers’ markets has allowed me to cook with fresh vegetables and fruits that I either hadn’t known about or tasted before.