Do not, and I repeat do NOT go to the supermarché in France when you are hungry, depressed, or feeling anything but completely confident. The foods in France are so packed with flavor and calories, you just can’t get away with chowing down on 5 “low calorie” brownies…it doesn’t really exist, and the whole “I’ll just eat one” doesn’t work when your sitting alone in your apartment with no one call or go visit. Foods in France are not artificially made. This means that one bit in France is equal to 4 low fat bites in America. Get used to eating less. Otherwise you will get fat and have to leave France.
Well this is pretty much impossible, especially in the first week of living in the gastronomical capitol of the world. So here are a few pointers for you first time out at the grocery store. Do not buy premade ANYTHING, except maybe bread… and not those delicious crackers that are soaked in butter. If you want to keep up the same eating habits you had in the States, you must eat like you did in the states. This did not include two deliciously layered sliced of bread with creme fraîche and fig jam in the morning. It was two pies of fruit, and some nuts. Leave the creme fraîche in the supermarket for a month from now when you have more french food restraint–side note: you will not be able to understand french nutritional facts, unless maybe you already have you masters in french. Just because you don’t know what it means, doesn’t mean it is devoid of meaning. This may seem self evident, but seriously when a package isn’t staring back at you with a fat 150 calories per cracker, it’s a lot harder to practice self restraint.
So cook like you did in the states, buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t be thrown by the expensive per kilo weight price, remember that a kilo if 2.2 pounds, so you have to cut the price in half and subtract a little bit more to arrive at the per pound price.
Also watch out for the jams–the are so delicious that you will fake yourself into thinking you are hungry just so that you can eat more of them. The chocolate spreads are equally taunting.
Seriously, fresh or dried, fruit and vegetables. From there you can choose one new item a week to add into your diet regime. Maybe the first week you get really into french wines (cheapest i found so far: .80Euros), or maybe you decide to add some crackers. Just don’t do it all at once. If you have it in your house, you will eat it. If you eat all of those premade deliciously fatty foods in the first week you will get fat, and…have to leave France.
Here is a great supermarché biologique that I found in my neighborhood.