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An Introduction to the Healthy Foods of the New Nordic Diet


Although Scandinavian and Scandinavian-American food is often characterized in people's minds by the concept of "smorgasbord" - a long table loaded with rich and cream-laden dishes, in reality the smorgasbord feast is generally reserved for Christmas (and is called "Julbord"). These days, much research and publicity is being given to the "New Nordic Diet," a healthful way of eating emphasizing Scandinavia's wild fish and game, native berries, whole grains, and cold climate vegetables.
  1. Wild Fish, Game, and Free-Range Lamb
  2. Cold Climate Vegetables
  3. Native Scandinavian Berries
  4. Whole Grains

Wild Fish, Game, and Free-Range Lamb

Elegant yet simple Icelandic Lamb Soup

As people become increasingly aware of the dangers of farm-raised beef, poultry, and pork fed huge amounts of antibiotics, it's worth exploring the delicious varieties of wild fish, elk, venison, moose, and free-range lamb that have never gone out of style in Scandinavia's unique hunting and fishing culture.

Cold Climate Vegetables

Cold climate vegetables and greens like beets, cauliflower, kale, nettles, rutabagas, cabbage, turnips, brussels sprouts, and potatoes have historically been an indispensable part of the Nordic diet. Prepared both alone as side dishes or in soups and stews in combination with token amounts of lean meat or fish, they supply important vitamins for Scandinavians challenged by a short growing season.

Native Scandinavian Berries

Scandinavian Lingonberries

Lingonberries, cloudberries, blueberries, wild strawberries, elderberries, black currants ... all are rich in antioxidants, providing a strong line of defense against heart disease, various cancers, and other diseases caused by free radicals. Lingonberries are actually easy to grow in many areas of the United States, providing both wonderful fruit and a low ever-green groundcover in the garden. While cloudberries only grow happily north of the 55th parallel, they (like lingonberries) are readily available as preserves to anyone within driving distance of an IKEA.

Whole Grains

Because wheat is difficult to grow in the northern latitudes, Scandinavians have always depended primarily upon hardier grains like rye, barley, and oats to flavor their outstanding crispbreads, yeasted breads, porridges, and baked goods.

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