The Nordic diet is loaded with whole-grains, berries, fruits, vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products. It’s also low in added sugars and processed foods.
Some researchers believe the Nordic diet is on par with the well-studied Mediterranean diet. Both feature anti-inflammatory foods that are high in omega-3 fats from fish, and both include lots of fruits and vegetables.
The Nordic diet also includes large amounts of berries, which are low in calories, and rich in vitamins and minerals. They also contain beneficial phytochemicals, mostly in the colorful blue and red pigments.
What’s on the Nordic Diet
The Nordic diet isn’t difficult to follow as long as you can give up the extra sugar and cut back on fatty red meats. Chef Rahm Fama says it’s more about whole foods and less heavily processed foods (which is a good idea in any case).
Here’s an overview of the Nordic diet:
Whole grains. At least 25 percent of the Nordic diet’s calories come from whole grain products such as rye, barley and oats. This also includes brown rice, whole grain pasta and plenty of whole grain bread. Cereal is allowed on the Nordic diet too, as long as it didn’t have any added sugar or honey.
Fruits, vegetables and berries. The Nordic diet includes at least one cup of fruit and one cup of vegetables each day. It also includes lots of berries — more than two cups per day. Choose blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or the traditional lingonberries.
Fats. The Nordic diet is fairly low in fat, but includes some rapeseed oil (we’d use Canola oil in North America), plus trans-fat free margarine made with soy bean oil. Unsalted nuts and seeds are also consumed.
Dairy products. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are included in the diet, but sweetened milk drinks and sugary yogurt products are not on the menu. Consume at least two servings per day.
Fish. Eat fatty ocean fish like salmon, herring or tuna, at least two times each week; plus eat one meal made with low-fat fish.
Meats. Poultry and game meats are allowed, as long as you choose cuts of meat that are low in fat. Choose chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of lamb, and venison.
Beverages. No sugary drinks. One serving of fruit or berry juice is okay. Stick with water, coffee, tea and low-fat milk.
You don’t need to stock your kitchen with Scandinavian fare to enjoy a Nordic style diet — just stock up the fruits and vegetables you already love and add lots of berries, fish and whole grains. Switch to Canola oil and low-fat dairy products and you’re all set.
But why not try some Scandinavian cooking?