You’re probably familiar with the French paradox: The French regularly indulge in high-fat foods like cheese and chocolate yet somehow avoid packing on the pounds. Could it be the red wine? Or the fact that vegetables play a starring role in meals even when the main course is a meat dish? Maybe it’s the small portion sizes and the lack of snacking. The good news is that we can incorporate the French diet into our American lifestyle with excellent results.
- French – Eat a variety of foods at each meal.
- Americanized – Venture out of your comfort zone by choosing healthy foods you haven’t tried and keep an open mind. Fill your plate with an assortment of foods rather than a large helping of one entrée. Let vegetables and fruits outweigh the meat.
- French – Smaller portions allow for indulgences.
- Americanized – Our “bigger is better” mentality translates into larger portion sizes and the more food in front of you, the more you will eat. Studies have shown that over time foods like bagels and donuts have drastically increased in size. Put smaller helpings on your plate. Avoid words like “all you can eat” and “supersize.” Instead look for words like, “petite,” “individual” or “junior” when dining out or grocery shopping.
Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life)
- French – Enjoy what you eat, savoring good food and wine.
- Americanized – Don’t be distracted during mealtime by the television, books, computer or smart phone. Eating should be a pleasurable experience. Sit down and enjoy your food with friends and family. If you want the benefits of red wine without the alcohol, try Ultimate Reds with the antioxidant power of over 20 fruits and vegetables plus heart healthy resveratrol, the key ingredient in red wine.
- French – Enjoy several small dishes over several courses, allowing your body to let you know when you’ve had enough.
- Americanized – Eating is not a race. You don’t win when you’re the first to finish your meal — you lose. If you eat fast, you’re likely to eat more than your body needs. Junk food and fast food is pervasive and we eat it quickly on the go. Slow down. Try breaking your dinner into several courses. Serve salad or soup first; follow with a small portion of the main dish, then perhaps a serving of fresh fruit. Focus on chewing each bite and take sips of a beverage between bites. Using a fork and knife for foods you normally eat with your hands (such as pizza, chicken strips, or tacos) can slow you down as well.
- French – Instead of feeling pressured to hit the gym, walk – walk everywhere!
- Americanized – The typical American lifestyle, with commutes and computers, sets us up for being sedentary. Work walking into your daily routine. Need something at the store? Instead of stalking that front row parking space, park as far away as you can and walk. Taking your lunch break? Choose a place within walking distance. Start small with just 10 minutes a day. Continue to increase your walking time until you’re up to 30 minutes a day.