Dining Out: French Cuisine


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

Healthy Finds:
  • Cuisine Minceur (“cuisine of slimness”) dishes are made simply with health and nutrition in mind.
  • Look for these words:
    • Au Fines Herbs (coated with herbs)
    • Au Jus (pan juices)
    • Au Natural (plainly cooked)
    • Poached
    • Rotisserie
    • En Papillote (steamed in paper envelope)
  • Quenelles (steamed fish dumplings)
  • Pot-Au-Feu (stewed chicken)
  • Coq-Au-Vin (chicken in wine)
  • Steamed Mussels
  • 1 cup of Bouillabaisse (fish soup): 150 calories and less than 10g fat
  • Coquilles St. Jacques: 264 calories, 12g fat
  • Halibut Amandine: 383 calories
  • Artichoke Vinaigrette: 230 calories, 18g fat

The Big Tip:

Asking for sauces on the side may offend the chef. It may be best to simply avoid the creamier sauces altogether.
Substitution Ideas

Try This Skip That
Chicken Duck
Poached Fruit  Chocolate Mousse
Red Wine Blush or White Wine
Ratatouille  Pate Ratatouille
 French Bread Croissants
Bordelaise Sauce Hollandaise Sauce
Flambeed Cherries Crème Caramel

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