Staying slim in a sea of French pastries


France has some of the world’s best pastry chefs. Despite the number of bakeries and chocolate shops we still marvel at how the French can stay slim while the rest of us may struggle. Is it possible to maintain one’s waistline while living in the land of the millefeuille?

Oui, bien sûr! Just do as the French do.

Living in France means I’m more often than not faced with a very big challenge: staying out of pastry shops. The fact that one of my preferred patisseries in Nice has 3 boutiques within a 15 minute walk of home means that I tempt fate every time I go out.


Each trip to the market involves a conversation where I try to convince myself why I absolutely need to buy a bag of chocolate rochers. My pace slows as I pass the window of cakes beckoning me to purchase one of them. Every anniversary, birthday, or a simple trip to the pharmacy is justification enough for a little treat from the patisserie.

And there I am, alone before the vendor trying to decide if I should get the chocolate mousse cake with its glossy dome or perhaps the tartelette with the three perfect raspberries perched on top. Or both because surely my husband would like a little treat too.

Tanya Tait - Staying slim in a sea of French pastries -My-French-Life-Ma-Vie-Francaise-www.myfrenchlife.org_.jpg

Then there are the trips to Paris. These trips always include a stop at one or two pastry stops where I can treat myself to my favourite treat: a tarte au citron. So, when I visit friends and family in Toronto they are absolutely surprised that I haven’t gained kilos. Knowing my penchant for chocolate and pastries how is it possible that I can maintain my weight while living here in pastry land?

The answer is quite simple and it doesn’t involve any exercise at all. I do like the French do.


My favourite treat after lunch is a bowl of fromage blanc topped with either a little honey or homemade jam.

Fromage blanc is just one among a list of French favourites. A trip to the dairy section of a typical French grocery store can make your head spin. The French’s love of all things dairy extends well beyond cheese.

Similar to yogurt in texture, fromage blanc, with its low fat and high water content, wins over those actively watching their weight. It has become a staple in my fridge.

What is your favourite dessert and could you ever give it up?

Image Credits:
1. Picking out a cake for dessert, by Tanya Tait
2. …or perhaps a mini cake, by Tanya Tait
3. Chocolate-lovers dream: chocolate mousse covered in chocolate ganache on a chocolate cookie crust, by Tanya Tait
4. Fromage blanc with raspberries and toasted almonds. Photo courtesy of Mary.Do, on Flickr

About the Contributor

Tanya Tait

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.