There are countless books and articles that tell us “French women don’t get fat”
And while that’s probably not the truth, there is a truth in this: french women (and the French in general) have a different approach to meals than their American counterparts.
There’s a sophisticated obsession with how French women eat – because more often than not, they seem to make mealtimes look effortless. And they seem to be reasonably healthy.
While Americans tend to calorie count, do portion control, work out after eating, and publicly feel guilty about “cheat meals”.
“Ugh, had some wine today. My trainer told me I need to go work out. So here I am!” *snaps IG story in the gym*
In France, it’s not as important or as publicly seen. People do work out. They do portion controls – you just won’t see it.
But today I want to share with you the first step of the French Woman’s meal plan. It all starts with grocery shopping.
The French woman approaches grocery shopping strategically. Here’s how you can grocery shop like a French woman.
Buy Little But More Often
This can be tricky if you live in a food desert, but French women buy little and often. They do not have memberships to stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. Mainly because French refrigerators are not as big as American ones. My aunts refrigerator in France was literally a pull out drawer. She stored fresh food only.
It may start with your fridge (consider downsizing and get something like this), but this can easily be achieved as to not waste food.
A lot of food purchased in bulk gets unconsumed.
Another reason French women don’t buy in bulk is because they opt in for preservative free food, which is healthier and better for you.
In France, people are very health conscious and eat mostly fresh foods at every meal that needs to be cooked.
So instead of choosing those vegetable stir fry’s, why not buy fresh and organic vegetables instead?
Meal Plan Before You Go
The French woman doesn’t wander around the grocery store thinking “what should I buy?”. She knows what she is buying. She has a mental list in her head of all the ingredients she may need. Because she has already meal planned – for maximum efficiency and to reduce costs.
She may roam around the wine aisle a bit, but that’s to be expected – you never know what new thing you may find there.
Utilize Farmers Markets
If you can, go to fresh produce centers and local farmers markets. Most markets in France are outdoors and a lot of French women like to shop there – to get fresh food but to also support her community.
Why not take a grocery tote or basket and wake up early on a Saturday morning to see all the wonderful fresh foods for sale. You’ll know they support a family and will be the highest quality for you to consume.
Buy Well Balanced
If meal planning is not for you and you’re more the type who likes to go to the grocery store and “stock up” here’s my advice for you: when buying food, think about being well balanced.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a must. So is making sure they are not only fresh but organic.
Skip the snack aisle and think about what you can replace sugary snacks with: instead of ice cream, what about dark chocolate? Instead of Doritos, what about rice chips?
Make It An Experience With The Whole Family
Grocery shopping does not have to be this “ordeal” that many families face together. If you have young children, I highly suggest reading this book: Bringing Up Bebe, which gives some insight about French parenting techniques.
One of the suggestions is making experiences together, including the little events like grocery shopping. Have it be a family affair: take to your significant others, take your children, take your parents…think about the foods you would like to cook and eat together.
Grocery shopping should be a happy and relaxed event – not a stressful one. If you approach shopping for food as stressful, I can’t imagine how stressful cooking and eating it may be. Why not allow for some kindness and fun into your meal making routine? Begin with the shopping.
Like this post? Want to eat and shop for groceries like a French woman? Download your free copy of my customized grocery list below. It covers every food group and includes a spare sheet for you to print out so you can write your own shopping list. Hope you enjoy it!