Depending on the source, the Nordic diet is compared to or lauded over the Mediterranean diet...

In early June, Health magazine provided the skinny on the diet touted as the “healthiest ever.” Depending on the source, the Nordic diet is compared to or lauded over the Mediterranean diet and is essentially a focus on whole foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses. And, instead of meat as a centerpiece, the Nordic diet is abundant in seafood.

A main difference in the two popular diets is the go-to oil: olive for Mediterranean cooking, canola for Nordic cuisine.

The Nordic diet is nothing new. In fact, some refer to it as a Viking diet.

Scandinavians have been eating this way for generations. It is a common-sense diet that includes eating organic, seasonal and wild produce, consuming normal portions, enjoying home-cooked meals and avoiding processed foods, as well as sugars and additives.

“I appreciate the health, environmental and mindfulness aspects of the Nordic diet. It can provide new and tasty suggestions and recipes for meals and snacks,” says Nicole Eikenberry — whose maiden name Selstad is of Norwegian heritage — a registered dietician and licensed nutritionist at Mindful Food & Motion in Saint Paul, Minnesota. “This style of eating is easy to do here in the upper Midwest because of the availability of ingredients due to the cultural heritage and similar climate as the Nordic countries. As someone with a strong Norwegian heritage myself, no Nordic diet would be complete without my family’s homemade lefse (a potato-based flatbread) with plenty of butter.”

As with all good-intention diets, there can be cons.

“I would caution that the all-or-nothing mindset of ‘going on a diet’ has the bitter flavor of rigidity and restriction, and the aftertaste of feeling ‘good’ or ‘bad’ about yourself based on how well you followed the regimen. Instead, treat it as a preference but maintain flexibility and allow exceptions,” Eikenberry says.  

Nordic diet-focused restaurants are cropping up to meet this trend, including The Bachelor Farmer and Tullibee in Minneapolis and Aquavit and Agern, both in New York City.

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