From next year, restaurant vouchers will only work on certain products sold in supermarkets. And not the best, since these are processed foods. An update on this astonishing announcement, with Alexandra Murcier, dietitian-nutritionist.
Bad news for all French people who have gotten into the habit of shopping with the famous tickets: from January 1, 2024, it will no longer be possible to buy certain foods. Explanations.
Only “ready-made” products will be accessible
From January 1, 2024, the regulations will change.
Concretely, many food products will disappear from the basket: restaurant vouchers (or cards) will no longer work on products that are not directly consumable, such as pasta, rice, eggs, meat or even flour.
If this measure signals a return “to normal” (the law of August 16, 2022 which allowed meal vouchers to be used to pay for all or part of the price of any food product was temporary, editor’s note), this is very bad news for the French who “saved” this money to do their shopping… instead of spending it outside every lunchtime.
An aberrant restriction, according to Alexandra Murcier, dietician-nutritionist.
“I find that really unfortunate. This measure encourages the population to turn to prepared products, such as fast food, which are anything but healthy. This approach will therefore not improve the health of the French, especially in an inflationary context.”she regrets.
From now on, the foods accessible with the restaurant card will be those immediately consumable, such as: triangle sandwiches, instant soups, prepared and frozen meals, as well as canned goods, jars and fruits and vegetables.
Another notable change: if, after the pandemic, the daily payment ceiling had been largely increased to encourage the French to return to restaurants, it is now capped at 25 euros.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
How to continue to eat a balanced diet in this context?
Despite this disappointing announcement, Alexandra Murcier tells us that it is (still) possible to eat a balanced diet during the lunch break.
“Opt for salad bars and opt for a bowl composed of starchy foods, vegetables and proteins. Canned vegetables are also a good option, as long as you read the labels carefully: the carbohydrate (sugar) level should be as low as possible. Why not also focus on ready-made bags of quinoa and cereals? Just microwave them. Finally, since fruits and vegetables are still allowed, you might as well not deprive yourself of them: put together a healthy and delicious plate, with, for example: a box of lentils, a bag of pre-cooked rice, vegetables. Finish the meal with fruit“.
What if we don’t have time to prepare our lunch?
“In this case, a poke bowl with rice or whole grain quinoa is great too! Another tip: cook in larger quantities in the evening or on weekends and bring your lunch box to the office“, advises Alexandra Murcier.