The Best Foods to Eat on the Norwegian Diet
The Nordic Diet is about to be everywhere—here's what you can eat on it.
You’ve heard all about the Mediterranean Diet, the Keto Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and more, but there’s yet another healthy diet that deserves some recognition. The Norwegian Diet—also called the Nordic Diet—touts tremendous health and heart benefits, as staples include whole grains, berries, root vegetables, nuts, and seafood. It’s similar to the Mediterranean diet, with the main differences being that the Norwegian diet emphasizes canola oil instead of olive oil and limits alcohol. (The Mediterranean Diet is all about that glass or two of vino.)
“It originated in the Nordic region—which includes Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. What is grown locally and what's available by sea has a strong influence in what is at the core,” says Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD.
There’s also a focus on eating organic produce when possible, choosing seasonal fruit and vegetables, eating more wild foods, choosing higher quality meat (but less of it overall), and avoiding food additives, she explains. All of these principles keep you healthy and nourished.
If you’re looking to try the Norwegian Diet, start integrating these foods into your meal plan. Luckily, they’re all delicious!
People following the Norwegian Diet are consuming most of their protein from seafood sources, like fish and shellfish, as opposed to meat. So, they’re getting a ton of good fats, lean protein, and vitamins and minerals from the fish that may not be as well received on the typical American diet, she says. Fish, like salmon, in particular has omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower inflammation and protect the brain and heart, and some great protein to fill you up.
Here are some delicious Nordic Diet recipes to try at home:
“This uber-thick high-in-protein and low-in-sugar yogurt native to countries like Iceland is consumed daily by natives to the Nordic diet. Paired with berries or eaten by itself, it doesn't contain nearly as much sugar as many of the yogurts we see today,” she says. Plus, it tastes thick and rich, so it’s super filling. You can find it in the states as Siggi’s yogurt, for instance. Use it in cooking, as a swap for yogurt, in baked goods, and in smoothies.
Packed with antioxidants and picked locally in native regions, berries are staple on the Norwegian Diet. They’re packed with fiber to keep you full and keep munchies at bay, which is great for leading a healthier lifestyle and having control over your appetite and hunger cues. And they’re versatile, so they fit into pretty much any dish.
“Think carrots, turnips, potatoes, beets, and parsnips—because of the growing season and climate in many Nordic countries, root vegetables are another major component of the diet that contribute fiber, and more vitamins and minerals overall,” she says. They are also a source of healthy carbohydrates, for those looking for immediate and sustainable energy to fuel workouts and keep the brain sharp.
Cheese and low-fat dairy are often found in Norwegian Dieters’ meal plans, as they contribute protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. There are several types of cheeses to choose from, like burrata and mozzarella, or gouda and goat, and you can’t go wrong with a glass of milk. (Especially at night when a cup of warm milk can help you snooze.)
You’re free to eat fermented fish, vegetables, and dairy when on this diet. “Chances are you've heard about the many benefits of fermented foods for gut health. They help populate your gut (where 80% of your immune system is housed) with the healthy bacteria you need to fend off illness,” she says. Is it a coincidence that native Norwegians who follow this diet are among the healthiest populations of the word? Probably not.
This cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and it contributes a high fiber content to promote health and weight management.” Like its cruciferous diet counterpart kale, cabbage is packed with vitamin C and K and powerful antioxidants that may help to reduce inflammation,” she adds. Try incorporating cabbage into your diet through wraps, sautéed dishes, or shredded in a slaw.