Healthy Menu Navigator: French

Healthy Menu Navigator: French

Navigating menu options to find healthy and nutritious choices can be tricky, especially when dining out at French restaurants known for their rich sauces and decadent desserts.

Focus on Freshness

The French have a strong appreciation for fresh, high quality ingredients. Seek out dishes that highlight seasonal produce, fresh fish, antibiotic-free poultry, and grass-fed meats.

Pick Plant-Forward Plates

Opt for vegetable-centric dishes like salads, ratatouille, and vegetable tarts to increase fiber and nutrients. Balance meat-based mains with ample vegetables.

Portion Control

Many French portions are larger than necessary. Request half portions of rich plates like coq au vin or steak frites. Choose lighter starters and share desserts.

Sip the Good Stuff

Complement your meal with refreshing sparkling waters, antioxidant rich red wine, or calorie-free herbal teas instead of heavy sauces and sugary drinks.

Embrace Balance

It’s okay to enjoy decadent French food on occasion. Focus on finding joy in flavorful dishes that align with your health goals rather than restriction.


What are some good French salad options?

Try nice green salads with vinaigrettes or composed salads like niçoise with fresh tuna, potatoes, green beans, olives, and eggs.

What are good alternatives to heavy cream-based soups?

Order broth-based soups like onion soup, vegetable soup, or seafood soups which offer more nutrients and less calories.

What are smart picks for main courses?

Grilled fish, roasted chicken, steak frites with a side salad, vegetable tarts, and lighter stews are balanced options for mains.

How do I avoid extra calories from bread, butter, and oil?

Request dishes without added butter or oil and limit bread intake to just a few pieces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar to dip bread instead of butter.

What are the best French dessert options?

Fresh fruit, sorbet, and lower fat crème brûlée provide satisfaction. Share a small serving of chocolate mousse or crème caramel.