9

We're planning on going to France but our daughter has a medical condition where she should eat as little saturated fats as possible (butter, dairy products, fatty meats).

We're mostly interested in either Normandy/Brittany or the Mediterranean coast. Since the former is famous for butter and cream and the latter for a supposedly healthy diet with plenty of fish and olive oil, I was wondering whether we could reliably get better options for her in (French) restaurants along the Mediterranean than in Normandy. A cursory glance at restaurant menus online showed little difference.

Of course we could always go to Italian or Asian restaurants, but I'm specifically asking about French cuisine options.

3
  • 1
    those 3 regions aren't really comparable, though. I wouldn't recommend you choose where to go just based on what's on the menu
    – njzk2
    Apr 10, 2023 at 15:42
  • 1
    It depends on what your daughter will eat. Lots of children won't eat e.g. fish or seafood, and many won't eat vegetables. Of course, there will be bread and veg available.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 10, 2023 at 16:16
  • 2
    A suggestion is to carry a written description in French of the dietary requirements.
    – ghellquist
    Apr 10, 2023 at 20:28

2 Answers 2

12

At the very least, nearly any restaurant will have salads, and with the exception of a few salads which include lardons, most of them should be free of saturated fats, except possibly the dressing, which you can always ask to be served on the side (la sauce à part). The traditional French dressing for salads is la vinaigrette, which is oil, vinegar and a bit of mustard, though.

While there are quite a few dishes that use cream extensively, they are not predominant in French cuisine. A bigger problem (mostly in the North of France) would probably be the extensive use of butter, though not as part of the dish itself (except a few sauces), but rather while cooking (pan-frying), especially meat (and sometimes fish), so it depends to what extent she should avoid it. In southern France oil and actual grilling rather than pan-frying are more prevalent.

If just pan-frying in butter isn’t a problem, then I would expect nearly all dishes to be OK, with the exception of sauces (which in most cases can be served on the side), and the few dishes which are actually cooked in the sauce.

Not sure if fries are allowed in her diet, but if not, but even dishes usually served with thar traditionally (like the ubiquitous “steak-frites”) or on the menu can nearly always be requested with a different side (salad, rice, green beans…).

There’s a related question here. It deals essentially with an actual allergy, but many of the answers may be helpful.

6

You definitely can find low fat options in typical French restaurants.

In Britanny, one of the most famous dish is crêpes and galettes, that are garnished with whatever (the first one is usually sweet, and the second one is overwhelmingly savory)

Both of which have a base composed of mainly flour and water, with sugar added when doing sour crêpes and, in real crêperies, garnished on demand and have a lot of choice, so you can ask them for what your daughter needs.

In Normandy, creams are indeed widely used, but simple meat (like pork ribs...) is also quite traditionnal and will not be hard to find.

In the Medditeranean coast, oils are widely used and fish is widely consumed, so that will be quite complicated but I am sure you will be able to find something that she can eat.

6
  • 4
    Flour and water would be bread. Crêpes use flour, eggs and milk, and they are cooked in a pan with butter (usually not much, but still…).
    – jcaron
    Apr 9, 2023 at 14:46
  • 1
    @jcaron No, traditional galettes au blé noir (galettes made with buckwheat flour) are only made from flour and water. You may add some wheat flour, but that's all it is in the traditional recipe sense. Wheat crêpes are another ball game indeed. Apr 9, 2023 at 18:57
  • You add sugar when making sour crêpes? Won’t that make them sweet crêpes instead? Apr 10, 2023 at 1:00
  • The use of "sour" here confuses me. Is that supposed to mean sweet? "Sour" makes me think of mouth-puckering lemon or citric acid. Usually savoury is contrasted with sweet, not sour. Since sugar is added to the crepes, that would make them sweet? As @JanusBahsJacquet said?
    – stanri
    Apr 10, 2023 at 6:58
  • 2
    "In the Medditeranean coast, oils are widely used and fish is widely consumed" - aren't those overwhelmingly-unsaturated fats?
    – Vikki
    Apr 11, 2023 at 0:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .