French food is commonly associated with decadent dishes like beef bourguignon, fatty foie gras and buttery croissants, leaving many to wonder how the French manage to stay so slim.
"The answer is lifestyle," says Chef Stephanie Borgens of Alberta-based restaurant Cassis. "The French carefully choose their produce and prepare and cook their own meals. They don’t snack on processed foods and prefer water or wine instead of sugary beverages."
Aside from mindfulness, Borgens notes it is important to remember French cuisine varies from region to region. "The Northern region is known for cream and butter-laden recipes whereas the Southern region follows a more Mediterranean style of cooking: fresh tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, olive oil, and lots of fresh fish."
In the slideshow below, Borgens shares seven dishes popular in southern France. From ratatouille to fish en papillote, these healthy dishes make a great alternative to some of France's heavier sides and mains.