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What is the Nordic diet?

The Mediterranean diet has been shown, unequivocally, to boost brain power, fuel metabolism and lower disease risk better than any fad on the market. But there is another lifestyle that nutritionists are touting, endorsed by the World Health Organization: the Nordic diet. It is based on produce from Scandinavia including herbs, fish, root vegetables, berries and whole grains.

Nordics eat seasonal produce, which tends to be fresher with fewer additives. The key is its emphasis on planning all your meals around what vegetables it consists of, rather than adding vegetables to meat.

Nutritionists say the Nordic diet is, somewhat surprisingly, a good option: its primary vegetables (broccoli and cabbage) are usually affordable, canned fish counts, and so do frozen berries.

What is the nordic diet?

The diet is based on the Nordic region, emphasizing winter vegetables, freshwater fish, and berries. You are meant to get the majority of calories from vegetables, then add other things - like eggs, meat, or fish - in moderation as an aside.

It follows the Baltic Sea Pyramid. The pyramid lay out the essential principles of the Scandinavian lifestyle in order of priority - starting from its broad foundation at the bottom, going up to its small tip.

At the best is exercise and the value of eating meals with others. Next is leafy greens, legumes, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. After that is seafood, then poultry and eggs and cheese and yogurt, then finally meats and sweets. A little wine here and there is fine, though that sits at the top too, and plenty of water is encouraged.

4 Nordic rules to improve your diet

1. Pick the vegetables first

In the Nordic diet, vegetables are the star of the show on the plate. Europeans tend to put the meat, fish or starchy element (like pasta) first, and dress it up with vegetables - or leave vegetables out completely.

2. Get to know what's in season

These days, we can get most foods year-round, if we go to the right places. Seasonal food, in theory, is grown, picked and sold at the peak of its season. That means it tends to retain most of its health benefits, and has fewer growing agents. It is also at the peak of its supply, so it is cheaper for farmers - and, therefore, cheaper for you.

3. Learn what 'processed' means - and cut it out completely

Apple juice. White bread. Chips. Cereal. Microwave meals. Those are all processed foods - as in, their nutrients have been diluted down. In Nordic food, emphasis is put on eating real apples, whole grain bread, nuts and seeds, oats, and freshly-cooked meals.

4. Embrace fermented foods

Scandinavia is known for its fermenting. The first evidence of fermenting was found on the east coast of Sweden some time between 3000 BC and 6000 BC. And it is still going strong.

From pickled fish to fermented dairy, there is an abundance of options.

Why this diet - of fish & fresh produce - does work on a budget?

1. Seasonal is cheaper

Seasonal produce is usually less expensive than fruit and veggies not in season. The winter vegetables emphasized in the Nordic diet are often quite affordable: kale, cabbage and broccoli for example.

2. Make a beeline for the freezer

Frozen vegetables and berries are a great choice, make sure you get the kind without anything added. In the summer, berries are often on sale, get some and freeze!

3. Canned fish counts

Try canned fish. Salmon, herring, mackerel and sardine are great choices! They will give you the healthy omega 3 fats you need for a low price. Frozen fish is a great choice as well.

Give it a try & let me know!



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