French Cuisine

Eating Out on a Diet: French Food

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Cooking is an art form in France and the taste and appearance of food is generally regarded as being more important than its health benefits.

This means French chefs often use masses of cream, butter, oil and wine in their cooking, so it’s important to choose carefully from the menu. Pommes frites (chips), sautéed potatoes or croquettes are generally served with everything. To keep fat intakes down, choose French bread instead – without the butter.

Croissants and pastries

France is famous for its boulangeries (bakeries).

Be warned, though: most croissants and pastries pack a high calorie content and the fillings – chocolate, almonds, cheese and ham, for example – won’t help your waistline.

Meanwhile, most restaurants place a basket of French bread on the table before you’ve ordered your meal. Allow 55 calories for a small piece.


Restaurants usually offer a cheeseboard and if you’re a cheese lover, you’re better off choosing from this rather than having a dessert.

Allow 115 calories for hard cheese, 90 calories for a matchbox-sized piece of Brie or Camembert and 55 calories for goat’s cheese.


French desserts are delicious but they’ll pile on the pounds without adding many nutrients except fat and sugar.


Red wine is packed with heart friendly flavonoids. But go easy if you value your liver and your waistline – one bottle of wine contains around 10 units of alcohol and 500 calories!

French Food Calorie Content Chart

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