I chaperoned a high school France trip with my mom and my high school French teacher. Since this was a tour with a set itinerary, I'm sure you can imagine it posed a bit of an eating challenge to try and keep within a normal eating pattern. All dinners were included as part of the trip, so I didn't have control over what was served. However, even though the food can be pretty rich in France (and soooooooo good), their portions are a lot smaller...
So, after still making sure I had some of my favorite French culinary items (I'm a sucker for stinky cheese, bread and wine), I am happy to report that after 2 weeks in France I gained less than 1 pound (Ok, I will admit I've been home for 4 days and have been eating very healthy since then but still..) and I am very proud of myself.
What was my strategy?
- Portion control - I didn't go to France with the idea that I couldn't have some of my favorite things (yes, I had some croissants, pain au chocolat, crepes AND dessert). But what I did was control it. As with the way I eat at home, if something wasn't one of my favorite items, I didn't eat it. For the stuff I really liked, I made sure to have it but space it out as much as I could and not overdo it. I am proud to say that even with some of the awesome desserts we had as part of the dinners, I didn't finish them. It took a lot of self-talking, but I did it.
- Picnic and fruit stands - Instead of sitting down to a restaurant for lunches which were on our own, for almost every meal my mom and I would picnic. We'd stop in a little grocery store and pick up some bread, cheese, fruit, snacks, etc. Also, since it was June and there was TONS of seasonal, fresh fruit, I ate a TON of cherries while we were gone. It was easy to pick up a bag at a fruit stand and have them while we were out and about during the day. Not only was this a good option on our waistlines, it helped our pocketbooks as well!
- Water - Keeping hydrated was huge. We always kept water on us (which also meant we were signing up for the sport of "olympic WC searching"...for those of you who have traveled in France, you know what I'm talking about...bathrooms aren't always easy to find...and then there's often one, maybe two stalls). Besides helping control hunger, water makes you feel better, especially when traveling. Every night with dinner we asked for a pitcher of water with the meal (and then usually 2-3 more as the dinner went on :) ).
- Yogurt and Compot - Two awesome options at most hotels for breakfast. Even though the yogurt isn't fat free, it's awesome in Europe, and is usually a small portion with much less artificial flavoring. Adding a little bit of honey to plain yogurt was great for breakfast and sticks with you. They also often offer applesauce or compot for breakfast, which is one of my favorite things to eat in France and a good breakfast option. I'll admit, I often jacked the compot from the hotels to also have with lunch. :)
- Bring a little something from home - We packed some home snacks for part of our picnics as well - some trail mix, almonds, 100 calorie breakfast muffins, granola bars, and WW 1 pt. bars. These were a nice addition to our picnics.
- Good friends - While our students were in their family stays we had the opportunity to visit some of our friends in France. They were very gracious about having food items we could enjoy but not feel bad about eating later. One friend had fat free yogurt in stock (I KNEW there was some!) and our other friends made a wonderful ratatoullie dinner one evening with a lettuce salad and AWESOME vinaigrette. We ate well.
We have to start with a food picture. Now this is my kind of salad. This was the caprese salad we had for our dinner on the Eiffel Tower. Since tomatoes are my favorite food, you can imagine my level of elation when I laid eyes on our salad. Cherry tomatoes over mozzarella with fresh basil, olive oil (notice the small amount on the plate...that's seriously all the salad needed) and a taste of pesto. I was in heaven:
And here are a few more photos from the trip(some food related, of course):
Afternoon break in St. Malo (Brittany):
Giant container of honey to go along with the fat free plain yogurt...yum:
Glass of rosé beachside in La Baule:Wine barrels on our vineyard tour in the Loire Valley:American Cemetary overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy. We were there less than a week after the 65th anniversary of D-day:
Le Mont St. Michel:
Wine and bread...cheese was probably gone at this point! Print this post