What Is Nordic Diet

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what is nordic diet 

What Exactly Is the Nordic Diet?

Whole grains, berries, fruits, vegetables, fish, and low-fat dairy products are abundant in the Nordic diet. It's also low in added sugars and processed foods, and it's designed to be more environmentally friendly than other eating plans. In general, it is a very healthy way to eat.

A group of scientists, nutritionists, and chefs in Copenhagen, Denmark, developed this diet to improve public health.

U.S. News and World Report ranks it ninth in Best Diets Overall, with a score of 3.6/5.2.

Find out more about what you can eat on this diet to see if it's the right way of life for you.

What Are Your Options?

The Nordic diet emphasizes whole, fresh, seasonal, and local foods while avoiding heavily processed foods. As a result, you should avoid added sugars, packaged foods, and high-fat red meats in favor of locally caught fish, locally produced dairy products, lean meats, and seasonal produce.

What You Should Know

There are no specific guidelines for meal timing or when to eat on the Nordic diet. However, the diet's creators recommend that people eat mindfully and communally. Share meals with family and friends, and eat at a table rather than on the go.

To enjoy a Nordic-style diet, you don't need to stock your kitchen with Scandinavian fare—just stock up on the fruits and vegetables you already enjoy and add plenty of berries, fish, and whole grains. You're good to go if you use canola oil and low-fat dairy products.

The Nordic diet is adaptable enough to meet other dietary requirements, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegetarian diets. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have small children who eat fish, you should keep an eye on the mercury levels in the fish you eat and serve.

  • What to Consume
  • Grain (whole)
  • Berries and other fruits and vegetables
  • Products derived from milk
  • Fish
  • Fats that are beneficial
  • Game and poultry
  • What to Avoid Eating
  • Processed foods
  • Sweetened beverages and added sugars
  • Meat that is red
  • Grain (Whole)

Whole grain products such as rye, barley, and oats account for at least 25% of the calories in the Nordic diet. There's also brown rice, whole grain pasta, and plenty of whole-grain bread. Whole grain and rye cereals are permitted if they do not contain added sugar or honey.

Fruits, vegetables, and berries are examples of fruits, vegetables, and berries.

Every day, the Nordic diet includes at least one cup of fruit and one cup of vegetables, preferably organic, in season, and locally grown. Apples, pears, potatoes, root vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are suggested.

Berries are especially abundant in the diet. Plan to consume at least 2 cups of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or traditional lingonberries per day. Berries are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals, and high in phytochemicals thanks to their vibrant blue and red pigments.

Milk and Dairy Products

Sweetened milk drinks and sugary yogurt products are not allowed in the diet, but low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are. It is recommended that people following the Nordic diet consume at least two servings per day.


In addition, the diet recommends eating fatty freshwater or saltwater fish like salmon, herring, or mackerel twice a week (or more), in addition to one meal made with low-fat fish like cod or haddock.


The Nordic diet is low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats like rapeseed oil (also known as canola oil in North America), nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon.


Poultry and game meats are permitted as long as you choose leaner cuts of meat. Choose chicken, turkey, and lean lamb and venison cuts. Other red meats, including beef, are to be limited or avoided according to the diet.

Processed Foods

The Nordic diet requires adherents to avoid processed foods as much as possible; they contain added sugar, salt, and fat, and are neither locally nor environmentally friendly.

Sugars Added ​

Avoid foods with added sugars and sweetened beverages. One serving of fruit or berry juice per day is allowed, but otherwise stick to water, coffee, tea, and low-fat milk.

Shopping List Example

A healthy Nordic diet includes seafood, plant protein, fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains, and other complex carbohydrates. On this diet, you can also eat lean animal protein.

It should be noted that fresh fish should be cooked or frozen within a few days of purchase. The shopping list below provides ideas for getting started on the Nordic diet. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive shopping list, and you may discover that other foods and types of seafood work better for you:

  • Greens with dark leaves (spinach, arugula, kale, collard greens)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots)
  • berries (grapefruit, oranges, mixed berries, bananas, apples, pineapple)
  • Grain (whole) (whole-wheat bread, brown rice pasta, quinoa, barley)
  • Frozen or fresh fish (salmon, halibut, cod, sea bass, branzino)
  • Fish in cans or packages (tuna, sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring)
  • Animal protein that is lean (chicken breast, turkey breast)
  • Legumes and plant-based protein (tofu, soybeans, black beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Avocados, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, olives, and canola oil are all good sources of healthy fat.
  • Yogurt, cheeses, milk, and cottage cheese are examples of dairy products.
  • Eggs

Meal Plan Example

The Nordic diet includes a lot of seafood and less lean animal protein. The five-day meal plan below is not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of how to live the Nordic way. It should be noted that if you choose to follow this diet, there may be other meals that are better suited to your tastes and preferences.

The first day

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with spinach and feta; 1/2 grapefruit
  • Tuna wrap with 1/4 cup roasted red beet hummus and 3 ounces carrot sticks for lunch
  • 4 ounces oven-baked herbed salmon with 1 cup cooked brown rice for dinner

Day two

  • Breakfast burrito with 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup roasted beet and feta salad; 1 cup broccoli ginger soup for lunch
  • Dinner: 1 serving roasted chicken with turmeric and fennel; 1 cup cooked couscous; 3 ounces olive-oil-dressed spring mix salad

3rd day

  • Breakfast: avocado and egg toast; 1 berry smoothie serving
  • Lunch: Mediterranean sandwich on whole-grain bread; 1 ounce walnuts
  • 1 cup cooked barley; 1 serving Mediterranean shrimp skewers with tzatziki sauce

4th day

  • Breakfast: 1 serving feta omelette roulade; 8 oz. orange juice
  • Lunch: 1.5 cup citrus kale and quinoa salad; 1 can sardines on whole-wheat toast
  • Dinner: 4 oz. Za'atar spiced halibut with
  • cherry tomatoes blistered and barley

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Nutritious
  • Health advantages are possible.
  • Environment-friendly
  • Flexible
  • Sustainable


  • It is not always feasible.
  • Potentially costly
  • Time-consuming

The Nordic diet has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages, as do all diets. Examine the benefits and drawbacks of this diet.



The Nordic diet, like the Mediterranean diet, provides a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are high in important nutrients while being low in calories. Berries contain antioxidants, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids.

All of the major food groups are covered, and the diet focuses on whole foods, which are almost always healthier than processed foods. This means that the diet contains few empty calories and unhealthy additives.

Environmental Concerns

The Nordic diet's creators wanted to address rising obesity rates in Nordic countries while also promoting a diet that would have a lower environmental impact than current dietary patterns.


This eating plan has no hard and fast rules. It is not intended to be a diet plan, but rather to promote foods and preparations that may have health and environmental benefits. As a result, there is room for you to interpret it in a way that works for you.


The Nordic diet is not only environmentally sustainable (it emphasizes foods produced using sustainable methods), but it is also a manageable lifestyle change. It makes use of common foods (more of some, less of others) and is not overly restrictive.

Furthermore, there is no measuring or calculating. Simply stick to the recommended foods and eat the rest sparingly. (However, if you are using the diet to lose weight, you may need to be more mindful of calorie intake and portion sizes.)



While it's convenient to plan meals and cook without having to worry about calorie or carb counts, some people may find the ingredients on this diet difficult to find.


Even if you live in an area where seafood is abundant or there are many organic farms, all of the fish and organic produce can be expensive. These ingredients are typically more expensive than conventionally farmed produce and low-cost cuts of meat.


It also takes time to find and prepare these foods. And, because processed foods are not recommended, the majority of your meals should be prepared at home.

Furthermore, the diet's creators intended for meals to be consumed leisurely and mindfully. Some people may find this difficult if they are short on time.

Is the Nordic Diet a Good Option for You?

Several other heart-healthy diets share characteristics with the Nordic diet.

The DASH Diet was created to assist patients in lowering their blood pressure. There are no forbidden foods, but the goal is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts while limiting red meat, sugary drinks, and sodium.

The pescatarian diet is similar to the vegetarian diet, but it includes fish and seafood. In terms of food and nutrition, this is similar to the Nordic diet.

Many characteristics are shared by the Mediterranean diet and the Nordic diet. They eat a lot of seafood, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains—all of which are high in nutritional value. It's also not a formal plan with specific guidelines.

When compared to federal recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet, the Nordic diet includes all recommended food groups in reasonable proportions. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the United States Department of Agriculture recommends a daily balance of protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.

According to the USDA, a person's daily calorie needs can vary depending on a number of factors, including activity level, gender, and age.

Health Advantages

The Nordic diet was created to make a healthy diet more appealing to the general public while also addressing the obesity epidemic. This eating style is associated with numerous positive health outcomes in addition to promoting weight loss.

Cardiovascular Health Improvements

This diet, for example, may help lower blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Participants with high cholesterol improved their lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure in a 2011 study.

Two additional studies, one lasting six months and the other 12 weeks, discovered that the Nordic diet can lower blood pressure when compared to a "average" diet. 78

Another study, which looked at a large number of patients over a long period of time, suggests that the diet may help prevent strokes.

9 A similar long-term study found evidence that diet is linked to a lower risk of heart attack.

Health Dangers

The Nordic diet is not associated with any common health risks. However, maintaining a healthy weight may necessitate being mindful of calorie intake and portion sizes. (The eating plan does encourage healthy habits such as mindful eating.)

Last Word 

If you're looking for a healthy eating plan that's also good for the environment, the Nordic diet might be a good option for you. It's filling and may even be good for your health and weight loss. However, the cost of obtaining local, seasonal, and organic products may put this diet out of reach for some.

Even if not everything you eat is organic or local, the basic tenets of the Nordic diet will keep you healthy. The important thing is to eat as many nutrient-dense whole foods as possible.

Remember that following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you, and many diets, especially long-term diets, simply do not work. While we do not support fad diets or unsustainable weight loss methods, we do present the facts so that you can make an informed decision that best suits your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If you want to lose weight, keep in mind that losing weight isn't always the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors all have a significant impact on your overall health. The best diet is one that is well-balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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