20 ways to eat like a French woman - Quick and Easy Recipes From Stylist Magazine - Stylist Magazine

20 ways to eat like a French woman

20 ways to eat like a French woman

Pearls of wisdom from French movie icons & more

Our French neighbours have a truly stellar attitude towards food, embracing it as a way of life: something to savour and to spend hours revelling in alongside good company and even better wine. Not only that, but the national diet is delicious - who doesn't love creamy cheeses, fresh bread, chocolate and steak?

As a new year dawns and the usual resolutions are rolled out, we take a look at how we can learn from French eating habits. From studies extolling the virtues of red wine and blue cheese to foodie advice from glamorous screen icons (step forward, Catherine Deneuve), here's how and why to eat like a French woman... bon appétit!

Picture credit: Getty Images and Rex Features

  • Au Naturale

    Au Naturale

    French cinematic legend Catherine Deneuve is a… More details

    Au Naturale

    Au Naturale

    French cinematic legend Catherine Deneuve is a big fan of fresh, natural ingredients.

    "I live very much outside, you know?" she says. "I'm not a country girl, but almost. I'm quite healthy. I don't diet, but I try to eat natural foods and not what you'd call junk food."

  • Pursuit of pleasure

    Pursuit of pleasure

    "For France, a meal is a very particular… More details

    Pursuit of pleasure

    Pursuit of pleasure

    "For France, a meal is a very particular moment, in which you share pleasure, the food as well as the conversation," says Paris-based nutritionist Dr Francoise L'Hermite.

    "From an Anglo-Saxon point of view, food is just fuel to give energy to your muscles. If you have no pleasure in it, you are breaking all the rules of eating."

  • Let loose

    Let loose

    "The best way to execute French cooking is… More details

    Let loose

    Let loose

    "The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit."

    Honarary Grand Dame of French cuisine Julia Child opened America's eyes to the delights of French food with her legendary tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

    A lot can be learnt from her wonderfully haphazard and joyous approach to food; in true French style, she embraced it to the hilt.

  • Food of love

    Food of love

    Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup … More details

    Food of love

    Food of love

    Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup meaning "eat well, laugh often, love much" is a common saying in France that sums up the nation's rapturous approach to food.

    Note the "eat well" rather than "live well" - eating is to be savoured as a central part of life itself.

  • Work of art

    Work of art

    "The French approach to food is… More details

    Work of art

    Work of art

    "The French approach to food is characteristic," Alice B. Toklas, the American writer who lived with Gertrude Stein in Paris during the Roaring Twenties, once famously declared.

    "They bring to their consideration of the table the same appreciation, respect, intelligence and lively interest that they have for the other arts, for painting, for literature, and for the theatre."

  • Chocolat, Je T'aime

    Chocolat, Je T'aime

    In France, chocolate is not something to binge on… More details

    Chocolat, Je T'aime

    Chocolat, Je T'aime

    In France, chocolate is not something to binge on at random when you're feeling hungover. It's art form - something to seduce and delight; to admire and to be taken seriously.

    As actress Juliette Binoche says, "I was so happy when they cast me in Chocolat, because it's one of my vices."

  • Quality Equality

    Quality Equality

    Rachel Khoo has become something of an authority… More details

    Quality Equality

    Quality Equality

    Rachel Khoo has become something of an authority on French cuisine after hopping across the channel to set up her own restaurant, La Petite Cuisine à Paris, in her tiny Paris home.

    "Even though I was on a budget, I could afford to go to the fresh food market and get baguette and cheese," she recalls. "That kind of food is not really accessible to you in London. I really love that in Paris, there is no division (in terms of food) by social class."

  • Diet downer

    Diet downer

    Some believe the idea that French women don't… More details

    Diet downer

    Diet downer

    Some believe the idea that French women don't diet is a bit of an urban myth, but it certainly rings true with French Bond star Eva Green.

    "Before my first film, the casting director asked me to lose some weight, saying, 'On screen you're going to look much fatter,'" the actress once said. "I started drinking soups and then I was like, 'I can't do it, I can't go on a diet'. It's hell, it makes you very depressed - food is so important to me. I couldn't go on."

  • Freshen up

    Freshen up

    French movie star Leslie Caron knows a thing or… More details

    Freshen up

    Freshen up

    French movie star Leslie Caron knows a thing or two about French food, having run a restaurant, Auberge La Lucarne aux Chouettes (The Owl's Nest), near Paris for nearly 20 years.

    "I eat sensibly – every day at lunch I have a steak with a big salad and I eat fruit, vegetables, yogurt and muesli," she says. "I seldom eat pastry – maybe once a year. I never eat desserts and I don't drink. That makes a big difference."

  • Less is more

    Less is more

    A landmark study by the University of… More details

    Less is more

    Less is more

    A landmark study by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that France suffers far lower obesity levels than the US because of smaller portion sizes. It found a supermarket soft drink in France was 52 percent smaller than in the US, a hotdog 63 percent smaller, and a carton of yoghurt 82 percent smaller.

    The same disparity (confirmed anecdotally by our holidays across the channel) may explain why obesity levels among adults in the UK stand at around 22%, compared to 11% in France. Food for thought...

  • Balancing act

    Balancing act

    It seems moderation really is the key to a French… More details

    Balancing act

    Balancing act

    It seems moderation really is the key to a French woman's diet.

    "I eat everything, just not too much," says actress Sophie Marceau. "Not junk food, but I love wine and chocolate." Sounds good to us.

  • Act of unity

    Act of unity

    "I think the French approach (food) with… More details

    Act of unity

    Act of unity

    "I think the French approach (food) with love and lust sometimes," says Laura Calder, host of award-winning Canadian series French Food at Home.

    "In France, when you go in to someone’s house, it’s very much home cooking and they’re not trying to impress you. What’s important is bringing people together and making something delicious and hearty and homey."

  • Say cheese

    Say cheese

    France is famed for its moulded, fermented… More details

    Say cheese

    Say cheese

    France is famed for its moulded, fermented cheeses such as Roquefort and Camembert - and there's good reason to relish them.

    New research by Medical Hypotheses journal suggests these popular fromages contain anti-inflammatory properties that could help guard against cardiovascular diseases.

    In a paper titled Could cheese be the missing piece in the French paradox puzzle?, scientists said the findings could explain why France has the lowest rate of cardiovascular mortality in the developed world.

  • Variety show

    Variety show

    France is bursting with different ingredients,… More details

    Variety show

    Variety show

    France is bursting with different ingredients, flavours and foodie variations so regionality is key to the French attitude to food: it's all about seasonality, locality and diversity.

    "Every region has its own specialities and cultural identity, and I am continually learning new things," says Anika Patel, owner of French experience holiday Flavours of France. "It was important for me to work with regional chefs who use local ingredients and make dishes based on what they have eaten whilst growing up."

  • Red, red wine

    Red, red wine

    It's long been acknowledged that the staple… More details

    Red, red wine

    Red, red wine

    It's long been acknowledged that the staple presence of red wine in the French diet is linked to the nation's comparatively low incidence of heart attacks.

    Numerous studies have indicated that red wine, and French red wine in particular, contains high level of antioxidants. So French women can rest assured that one or two glasses a day are not only pleasurable but beneficial to their health as well. Santé!

  • Full stop

    Full stop

    "What amazes me is that French women are… More details

    Full stop

    Full stop

    "What amazes me is that French women are content to leave a dish half-finished in a restaurant," Anika Steinecke, a German 28-year-old graphic designer who has been living in Paris for eight years, told Stylist magazine in an article about French lifestyle.

    "In Germany, I was brought up to finish what’s on my plate, and feel guilty leaving a chip. In France, they’ll eat half of a portion, then stop. It’s a very simple mindset, one I wish I had."

  • Lost in emotion

    Lost in emotion

    Food is just as much about the emotion as the… More details

    Lost in emotion

    Lost in emotion

    Food is just as much about the emotion as the flavour according to Anne-Sophie Pic, the first female chef to win three Michelin stars in over 50 years for her restaurant La Maison Pic in southeast France.

    "There is a very modest side to cooking because we already have fabulous produce and we just try to put it together in a way that brings out its magic," Anne-Sophie says. "It's fantastic to be able to write one's emotions into a dish and it's magnificent to give a happiness to people, and feel that same emotion oneself."

  • Four seasons

    Four seasons

    "You are what you eat, I deeply believe in… More details

    Four seasons

    Four seasons

    "You are what you eat, I deeply believe in this," says French Mission Impossible actress Emmanuelle Béart. "I only consume fruits and vegetables that are in season and I drink enormous quantities of green tea.

    "On the other hand, my diet contains absolutely no meat, sugar, pills or alcohol… except for very good bottles of wine!"

  • Snack out

    Snack out

    "French women never eat while they're… More details

    Snack out

    Snack out

    "French women never eat while they're walking or standing, like you do here (in London)," says London-based Parisian Sandrine Janet. "We have no culture of snacking, and especially not on fast food. This habit is ingrained in us from a young age."

  • The holy trinity

    The holy trinity

    Mireille Guiliano (pictured) revealed "the… More details

    The holy trinity

    The holy trinity

    Mireille Guiliano (pictured) revealed "the holy trinity of the French lifestyle" in her 2004 best-selling food bible French Women Don't Get Fat.

    Her advice is simple: each meal should include carbs, proteins and fat and everyone should eat three times a day to avoid snacking.

Tags: women, food, France

Share on

or email.

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious
Add a comment

Comments

Add a comment

CONNECT WITH STYLIST

Our Most…

Diana's beauty secrets

Diana's beauty secrets

In a rare exclusive interview on the 15th…

More
Top tips for the perfect sales pitch

Top tips for a sales pitch

Whether it was spray tan or winges (wig fringes),…

More
Top make-up tips from Tanya Burr

Top make-up tips from Tanya Burr

Make-up artist and YouTube beauty guru Tanya Burr…

More

Improve your knowledge

We’re a generation of women who love to learn.…

More

Stylist Tablet Front 4

Stylist Tablet Front 4

More

What you missed this week

Been hiding in a dark hole over the past seven…

More
Eva Mendes' style transformation

Eva Mendes' style transformation

"I'm definitely a dress girl," Eva…

More

Your Vote Counts

Could you go on holiday by yourself?

Could you go on holiday by yourself?