There are two kinds of French food. Restaurant food is the sophisticated, rich, fat-filled cuisine that most Americans identify as French food. French family food is lighter, healthier and more rustic, based on grains, vegetables, pasta, breads and only small amounts of meat. French restaurant food is eaten only occasionally in France since it is so rich and full of fat and calories.
When dining on French food, there are healthful choices available. But, knowing what to avoid is just as important as understanding what the healthy choices are. What should you avoid the next time you go French? Here are five of the unhealthiest French foods.
Unhealthiest French Foods:
Translated from French foie gras means “fat liver.” Foie gras is made from fattened duck or goose liver. The animals used for fois gras are raised to be especially fattened up through forced feeding. Foie gras is high in cholesterol as are many other organ meats. Since the liver is the organ responsible for filtering waste in the body, it can also have many impurities. Because it is often served as an accompaniment to other meats like steak, it is important to consider the total calories, fat and sodium in a meal containing foie gras. The Fix: Share your foie gras with a few friends and eat a healthier entrée.
Chocolate Croissant (pain au chocolat)
As if a croissant wasn’t unhealthy enough with its airy layers of buttery pastry, the French like to stuff chocolate into the middle. Delicious, but decidedly unhealthy, chocolate croissants are often served with a side of butter, adding to the fat and calories. Croissants are made from processed white flour and have few nutrients or fiber.
There are two types of French mousse, dessert mousse and savory mousse. Dessert mousse is made of- hold on to your arteries- eggs, cream, sugar and chocolate. Sometimes flavorings such as pureed fruits are also included. Savory mousse is made of pureed meat. Mousse usually includes ingredients like whole eggs, cream and sugar. Mousse is high in fat and calories and is best eaten in small quantities.
Rillettes are similar to pate. Meat, usually fatty pork belly or pork shoulder, is chopped, heavily salted and cooked very slowly in fat until tender, then shredded. The shredded meat is cooled and mixed with some of the cooking fat to form a paste. Rillettes is spread on bread or toast. Though pork is the most common meat used, chicken, duck, goose, rabbit or game birds are also used. As with pate, rillettes are high in fat, calories and cholesterol.
The French like to stuff pastries with fatty goodies. Gougère is a flaky pastry stuffed with cheese. Not only is gougère stuffed with cheese, but often grated cheese is mixed into the pastry batter as well. Sometimes gougère is also filled with greasy meats like beef or ham.