Nutrition Articles

Dining Out: French Cuisine

Restaurant-Specific Strategies


With rich textures and flavors—especially in desserts and sauces—these dishes are often high in fat, but are usually served in smaller portions. Lighter “Nouvelle Cuisine” options are sometimes offered.
Common Ingredients:

Lots of cheese and heavy cream sauces—bread & cheese, cheese slices, melted cheese, au gratin—it’s everywhere! Salads are often plentiful on French menus, but butter and cream are also common ingredients.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Avoid creamy sauces like hollandaise, bernaise, béchamel, beurre blanc, veloutee and mornay, which are all very high in fat.
  • Watch for these words:
    • Au Berre (with butter)
    • Au Gratin (with cheese)
    • En Croute (wrapped in pastry)
    • Graisse (fat or greased)
  • French Onion Soup comes covered in bread and cheese and packs nearly 400 calories and 20 grams of fat. It’s also very high in sodium.
  • Escargot is usually smothered in a garlic butter sauce. Just three ounces carries 450 calories and 25 grams of fat.
  • Just 2 ounces of Goose or Duck Liver Pate has 260 calories and 20g fat.
  • Roasted Duck Breast: 1,500 calories, 25g fat
  • Quiche Lorraine: 817 calories
  • Cassoulet: 640 calories
  • Steak Frites: 1,546 calories, 66g fat
  • Brandade de Morue (salt cod and potato puree): 1,316 calories, 75g fat
  • Steak Bernaise: 1,744 calories, 132g fat
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