In French, the word for bread is "le pain." Maybe the English word, “pain,” originally came from this French word, because dealing with the daily concerns surrounding bread in Paris can often feel painful. It’s not just in the movies: French people literally walk around carrying giant loaves of breads. These people are not overweight- in fact, they are probably skinnier than most Americans. How on Earth do these people eat that much bread and not have five chins? It doesn’t make sense. How do French women stay so skinny? Maybe the better question is: what are we doing wrong?
In America, bread usually only accompanies your meal at nice restaurants. But in France, you will find bread at your table at just about every restaurant you sit down in. Unless you have the metabolism of a five-year old, you should be ready to say "no" to bread.
Another element against you is wine. No complaints about the wine – it’s honestly amazing and is served at meals like it’s water. With that being said, you should expect to be slightly tipsy during your meals, and that means you’re probably going to have urges to reach for that bread basket. Our advice would be to try to drill this message in so deeply that even your tipsy, hangry self can resist the temptation of bread. Here's what you need to do to avoid the French Fifteen:
1) You DO NOT have to eat the bread served at your meals. I REPEAT – You DO NOT have to eat that bread.
In fact, you should probably plan your day so that you’re full enough when you arrive at a restaurant so that you don't need to eat the bread to satisfy your hunger. Seriously people, this is crucial! If not, you’ll end up filling up on empty carbs which will make you too full to eat what you ordered and will make your waistline upset.
2) Find other sources of energy.
In order to curb those croissant cravings, find other sources of energy. For example, go to your local Franprix and buy almonds or peanuts. Have those with you at all times. Eat a few nuts before you sit down for lunch or dinner so that you can sit and wait for the salad you ordered like the graceful French lady you are.
3) Use your carbs wisely.
There are lots of great bread options in Paris. Unfortunately for your waistline, you can’t have your cake and eat it too – literally. However, the tourist in Paris can definitely eat really well without going crazy on the carbs. You need to strategically plan your day around where you want to splurge your calories. For example, if you know you’re going out at night, plan on some drunken eats at a local creperie. Or, if you have a long day of classes and you need energy to get you going, go for that crepe at a patisserie first thing in the morning. Just make sure you stay aware of your bread consumption, because it’s too easy to lose track!