Our Vision: A Year in Provence

Do you know why people in France are so fit? It was an enigma to me back when I spent a year in Provence with my kids. Like in North America, French food is oftentimes far from being healthy. Portions are rather big and baguettes accompany every meal. Apart from breakfast, of course, where croissants and pain au chocolat dominate.

Chocolate is a story in itself. It’s everywhere! Rows of chocolate bars in grocery stores, hundreds of variations of chocolate desserts, and even cereals are full of chocolate, like chocolate Frosted Flakes, chocolate Rice Krispies, chocolate Cheerios, and more.

You're free to explore the question on your own, but here's what I came up with. I refer a lot to the French school experience because I believe that the habits we acquire as children stay with us throughout life. And French eating habits are worth acquiring.

So why do I believe that people in France are fit?

  1. They eat a proper lunch and dinner. Every French school has its own kitchen. Many offices have meal arrangements that give employees access to healthy foods. Alternatively, it’s pretty popular to eat at home and in restaurants. What does a proper lunch mean in France? Here's a sample school menu for Monday and Tuesday. One day my daughter even had a pheasant for her main course!
  2.  

       LUNDI

      Crépe au fromage

      Escalope de porc au jus

      Ratatoille

      Fromage blanc et sucre

      Fruit

      MARDI

      Carottes ràpées

      Aux boulettes de boeuf Marengo

      Farfales

      Pointe de Brie

      Compote pomme-banane

       

      In addition to the starter, main course, and dessert, they always have baguettes and water. Always water. No sugary drinks. Not even juice. 

      1. There's enough time to eat a proper lunch or proper dinner properly. Lunch breaks are 1.5 to 2 hours long, and a regular dinner can last up to 3 hours. At school, kids have a 2 hour lunch break divided equally between eating and playing outdoors. While eating, everyone talks. A lot. But only to the people at the same table as them. If, as a fast paced North American, you think you can come to France and do business 24/7 – forget it! During lunch and dinner, no distractions will be tolerated, only true emergencies. Calling, text messaging, or playing around with your smartphone during this sacred time is highly inappropriate. Sometimes I wonder how long the average French person could survive here with 15 minute lunch breaks spent at a computer keyboard? 
      2.  
        1. People eat at the same time every day, and don’t snack. They usually have lunch around 12 to 1 p.m., and dinner around 7 to 8 p.m. Most French restaurants are closed between 3 and 7 p.m. Kids might have a light snack after school, around 4 to 4:30 p.m., but are not allowed to eat in class, only during recess. They're not even allowed water bottles at their desks!
        2.  
        3. The food itself. It’s not always healthy, but there are still plenty of meats, fish, and fresh vegetables. French cuisine includes a lot of stews and slow-cooked recipes. And (maybe I'm hitting a sore spot here!) it uses very little salt, instead giving preference to natural flavours produced through fresh ingredients, as well as herbs and spices.
        4.  
        5. People in France are very active. They bike, hike, swim, ski, play soccer, and do whatever else you can imagine. Of course, Provence makes for an ideal year-round area for outdoor activities, and the French always take advantage of this opportunity.
           

          So, French Lunch came up with a mission to provide healthy, delicious, and authentic French lunches and other ready-to-eat, ultra-convenient meals to-go right here in Canada. Our special feature is a French Lunch meal that includes a starter, main course and dessert. It's perfect for both the classroom and the office: all of the containers we use are microwave-safe, so a delicious, hot, three-course lunch is ready for you in a couple of minutes.

          Our starter and dessert containers are recyclable, and fit into a regular lunch bag. French Lunch's main course comes in two sizes – a school and office size that's enough for two elementary school children or one adult, and our special hungry bear or share size, which can be shared between two adults, or can (hopefully) feed one teenager.

          Not a fan of microwaving? Don't worry; we've got you covered. French Lunch dinners are oven-ready meals. Our dinner menu offers French culinary classics like escargot, potato au gratin, coq au vin, beef provençal, ratatouille, crêpes Suzette, cannelés de Bordeaux, and other Canadian and European favourites. We have a lot of freshly-cooked and precisely frozen items the healthiest way to preserve a meal cooked from scratch.

          You can come to our Oakville store at 187 Cross Avenue (we're located just opposite Oakville GO Station!) or order your healthy meals from us online. For online orders, in-store pick up and delivery options are available. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to help however we can.

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          From our pantry to yours,

          French Lunch team