The gastronomic delights of Paris can make even the most health conscious people want to fling caution to the wind and indulge in the many temptations available. The breakfast offerings alone – pain au chocolat, chausson aux pommes, croissant aux amandes, for example – can make you drool with desire.
But don’t think you’re “being French” by heedlessly scarfing down these goodies every day. Despite the so-called French paradox, most French people seek to eat balanced, healthy meals without excessive indulgence in the richest dishes.
If you want to eat healthy in Paris, there’s little excuse for not doing so. Paris’s legendary markets offer wondrously fresh and healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and meats. And every year, it gets easier and easier to find quality bio (organic) foods, whether at restaurants, market stalls or in supermarkets.
If you plan on preparing much of your own healthy meals, you’ll have no problem finding a chain organic shop, such as Naturalia, Biocoop or Bio C’Bon or even neighborhood boutique shops such as Le Carillon d’Olivier. In ordinary supermarkets, there’s almost always an organic products section – just look for packages marked with the green and white “AB” label. (AB stands for “Agriculture Biologique,” which means that at least 95% of the products’ ingredients are organic.)
In terms of organic open-air markets, the best ones are Marché Raspail, Marché Batignolles, and Marché Brancusi. If you can’t make it those, be assured that you can almost always find at least one stall selling organic produce in any market.
While you won’t have trouble finding organic products in Paris, you may have difficulty finding exactly what you’re looking for, as Paris doesn’t necessarily have the same health foods as North America or the UK.
To make things a little easier for you, we’ve provided below: (i) a translation of common health foods available in France, and (ii) common terms on packaging labels. Bon appétit!
French Health Food Vocabulary
Almond Butter – beurre d’amande
Almond Milk – lait d’amande
Buckwheat flour – farine de sarrasin / noir
Chickpeas – les pois chiches
Flaxseed /Linseed oil – graines de lin / huile de lin
Coconut Oil – L’huile de coco / l’huile de noix de coco
Coconut Milk – lait de coco
Gluten-Free – sans gluten
Grass-Fed beef – boeuf nourri au fourrage
Hazelnut Milk – lait de noisette
Oatmeal – Flocon d’avoine
Quinoa – Quinoa
Soymilk – lait de soja
Tofu – Tofu
Wheatgerm – germe de blé
Wheatgrass / Wheatgrass juice – Agropyre / Le jus d’herbe de blé
Whole wheat – blé complet
Wild salmon – saumon sauvage
Raw milk / Unpasteurised milk – lait cru
Terminology on French food packaging labels:
Valeur énergétique – Calories (energetic value)
Matières grasses – Fat
Lipides dont acides “gras saturés” – Lipids composed of “saturated fats”
Glucides – carbohydrates
Glucides dont sucres – carbohydrates included sugar
Protéines – protein
Fibres – Fibers
Sel – Salt
Poids Net – Total Weight
Par Portion – By portion/ serving size
A consommer de préférence avant le [date]: Preferably consumed before the [date]…
Have any questions about French health food vocabulary? Ask us in the comments below!