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French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health:3 Equals 1+1+1

[stextbox id=”info”]Frenchys Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health: 3 Course Meal[/stextbox]

Have you been reading this series on French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health?  A series on how the French pleasure eat, on just letting loose and really enjoying good food, on taking time to cook and look for fresh and local ingredients, on practicing slower eating and a slower lifestyle. Can this way of eating and living lead to good health?  Why not and OF COURSE?!!  Eating without guilt and deprivation; eating to feel good and fill your body with what it needs…and finding that balance to feeling comfortably satiated after a meal.  The act of eating being just as important and the food eaten.  In fact, this precious act of eating is the fifth way to pleasure eat for good health:  the 3 course meal.  The daily 3 course meal is simply a simple gest that you can easily adapt in your home to change from a regular meal to a pleasurable meal.  

This Precious Act Of Eating, Moving to a Daily 3 Course Meal

Eating IS very important in France, striving for freshness, taste and regular meal and mealtimes.  Adding that extra course to the main meal(s) is one step closer to slower pleasure eating.  How? By moving that side vegetable or side salad to the beginning of the meal. It is a simple as that.  Really!  Is the main meal in your house served all on the same plate?  Do you add a salad on the side and the dessert served after?  Here is a different way to organize that meal moving it over to 3 courses.  For years chez nous (our house), we have incorporated this simple trick and it works well.  The side salad OR side vegetable becomes the first course.  That is it…!  Because this salad or vegetable is a first course it is thus served separately from the main meal.  If we are not having salad, we normally have some other simple first course:  soup, half grapefruit, sliced tomatoes, sliced mango with prosciutto, pineapple and ham, a piece of salami with pickles, bean salad, warm broccoli with sauce, carrot salad.  You get the idea and you probably have other yummy first course ideas.  Then after this first course is eaten and enjoyed…onto the main meal whatever it is:  protein, vegetable and starch dish.  If  you are having a quick and easy meal, the side vegetable could be served as the first course.  This is a great way to help your kids eat more veggies.  Try it yourself.  When my kids are really hungry, putting down vegetables as the first course guarantees they will eat it or at least taste it.  This is a way to get more vegetables into your children’s diet. For more on that, read my previous post on helping your kids eat more vegetables

A Slice of Baguette and 3 Course Meal, All With One Plate? 

Another interesting cultural nuance is the slice of baguette to wipe off the plate.  This was a real new one for me but we have adopted this at home too. It saves on dish clean up (haha) and you really eat every morsel of food.  By using a small slice of baguette or bread after each course to wipe up your plate you serve all courses on the same plate, “cleaning” the plate.   Here is an example:  salad served as first course, small slice of baguette to clean off plate.  Main course goes on, again slice of baguette to clean up. The French usually do a cheese course after (depending on the household), so cheese course with another slice of baguette to wipe off the plate.  Voila 🙂

Baguette or Bread Slice After Each Course?

Ah, the bread is somewhat mandatory in France, even if it is eaten too much.  Oh la la, some French would disagree with me on this because the baguette is just a sacred part of the meal.  However, be strict with bread intake, both for you but especially with your kids.  It is a challenge here in France-the baguette is everywhere! But chez vous (your house), you can be disciplined with bread.  Really and truly, if I let my kids eat as much bread as they wanted, they would be delighted.  But, bread is filling and a airy light baguette doesn’t bring much nutrition to your diet.  You can adapt your own rules, but here at our house a small piece of bread after each course is the normal habit.  This pleases everyone and the cook too (me).  My kids actually eat the food cooked rather than saying “I’m not hungry!” (Yes, I know why…4 pieces of baguette with your first course!?)

Voila!  Another way to eat for pleasure and good health…and you?  Does this 3 course option seem feasible to YOU?  Comment below….and until then, Bon Appetit!

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7 Responses to French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health:3 Equals 1+1+1

  1. Sana September 21, 2012 at 02:15 #

    This is such a useful series – thanks so much for sharing!

    • mbrighton September 21, 2012 at 08:22 #

      Dear Sana, Thank you very much for your support and comment! I also wrote a E-book on “10 Simple Ways to Eat Like The French without having a Food Snob Attitude”, which is available to download after subscribing to this blog. You can subscribe via this link: (cut and paste in your browser if you cannot click on it). You must provide your email to subscribe, but your email will always remain private. Have a great day!

  2. Lisa July 10, 2011 at 05:29 #

    This seems doable and easy! Love the idea of cleaning the plate with bread and limiting the overall bread my daughter eats – which is a lot. Great site, good tips and fun too!

    • mbrighton July 10, 2011 at 06:17 #

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks so much. Yes, it is doable. Keep in touch & let me know how things are doing.
      All the best, Mary


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