10 Ways to Make the French Diet Work for You
How to fit French diet strategies into an American lifestyle
Americans seem to be fascinated lately by all things French. There isn't
just one book from a French perspective professing to help Americans lose weight -- there are handfuls!
We even have "his" and "hers" French diet
books now. There's the best-selling French Women Don't Get Fat, written
from the female perspective of Mireille Guiliano. And now we have a French
man's point of view in the book, The French Diet: Why French Women Don't Get
Fat by Michel Montignac.
So what are all these French people telling us to do? And how can we work
this information into an American lifestyle?
A member of the WebMD Weight
Loss Clinic editorial team who has spent much time in France recently read
French Women Don't Get Fat from cover to cover. She came away with 10
gems of French wisdom. Here they are, along with some tips on how to
Americanize each one.
1. Variety, Variety, Variety.
Strive for eating a variety of foods at each meal, and during each day and
How to Americanize this suggestion: Venture out of your food comfort
zone. Select healthy foods you haven't tried yet or recently, and keep an open
mind. Don't just go to the same fast-food restaurants -- try new restaurants
(you know, the ones that serve healthy options). And fill your (smaller-sized)
plate with an assortment of food items, not just a big helping of the entrée.
Enjoy a small portion of the main dish along with an assortment of fruits and
2. Quality Counts.
Eat three solid meals a day of good-quality foods. Be selective about where
you eat and where you buy your food. Enjoy quality breads, meats, cheeses,
yogurts, fresh fruits and vegetables, wine, and champagne.
How to Americanize this suggestion: Perhaps out of financial
necessity, many of us have gotten into the mind-set that more is better when it
comes to food, Don't buy into the idea that quantity is more important than
quality. Switch to high-quality foods that are a joy to eat, and that come with
a nice supply of nutrients, too. Walk away from junky foods and make every bite
count. If it doesn't taste great, don't waste your time (and calories).
3. Pay Attention to Portions.
The key to eating a variety of foods at each meal and enjoying three squares
a day while keeping a healthy weight is monitoring portion sizes. Try not to
overeat any single item or during any one meal.
How to Americanize this suggestion: The "bigger is better"
mentality in America translates into bigger portion sizes (and the more food
that is in front of you, the more you will eat). So when you see the words
"all you can eat," "supersize," "double," or
"jumbo" -- run away! Instead, look for the words, "petite,"
"individual," "appetizer," "small," or "junior"
out or food shopping.