Following a Nordic diet plan can help you stay on track when it comes to sustainable weight loss, plus there are plenty of benefits to following this way of eating.
The Nordic diet features large quantities of fish, poultry, and root vegetables but knowing where to start with it can be difficult. With that in mind, we’ve asked a nutritionist to break down all the important information, and we’ve included a five-day meal plan to help you get started.
While supplements such as the best protein powders for weight loss are great for helping you to stay full in between meals, a Nordic diet plan allows you to enjoy fresh ingredients and studies have shown that this diet plan can also reduce the risk of heart attacks in adults. What’s more, research at Lund University concluded that following a Nordic diet plan can help to lower your cholesterol.
Here, nutritionist Angela Dowden explains how the Nordic diet works and how to get started with it.
Why the Nordic diet works
Key foods include seasonal berries, root veg, and oily fish - a great omega-3 food - plus high-fiber, slower-releasing carbs, such as whole grains, pulses, sweet and skin-on potatoes, oats, rye, and barley. This combo is filling and satisfying, helping you to stay fuller longer and avoid food cravings.
Fermented dairy products like Skyr (similar to 0% fat Greek yogurt) and kefir are an essential part of the diet too, providing waistline-whittling calcium and friendly bacteria for healthy digestion.
Nordic diet plan guidelines
Dowden provided five days' worth of tasty Nordic diet meal ideas further down this page, but when preparing your meals make sure you follow these simple principles.
- Fill half your plate with veg, such as carrots, onions, cabbage, garlic, tomatoes, peas, spinach, and broccoli. The rest should be slow-release, high-fiber carbs, eg, rye bread, wholewheat pasta, oats, and barley, plus some good-quality protein like fish, eggs, or lean meat.
- Fish should feature in 2-3 meals a week, including 1-2 portions of an oily variety like salmon or mackerel (canned is just as good).
- Use rapeseed cooking oil – it’s heart-healthy like olive oil.
- Eat as many berries as you like (they make a great low-kcal dessert). Choose fresh when in season or frozen year-round.
- Help yourself to a portion or two of low-fat dairy – or a small matchbox-sized piece of cheese a day is fine.
Nordic diet 5-day meal planner
Take a look at our handy 5-day Nordic diet meal plan below for reference when you're out shopping or cooking in the kitchen, and keep scrolling for more details of what to eat as part of each meal.
- Breakfast: A bowl of strawberries, blueberries, and redcurrants with 1 cup/150g of Skyr or 0% Greek yogurt and 1/2 a cup/ 1tbsp of oats.
- Lunch: 1 can of mackerel on a small slice of wholemeal toast, with cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves.
- Dinner: A handful each of shredded cabbage, onion, broccoli, and edamame beans, stir-fried in 2tsp rapeseed oil with 3.5oz/ 100g chicken, and a shake of soy sauce. Serve with 1.5 cups/ 3tbsp cooked brown rice.
- Breakfast: 2 poached eggs with steamed spinach on a small slice wholemeal toast.
- Lunch: 10.6oz (300g) of carrot and coriander soup with a slice of rye bread and 1.1oz (30g) reduced-fat soft cheese.
- Dinner: A 4.6oz (130g) baked salmon fillet with 3.5oz (100g) each peas, leeks, onion, courgettes, red peppers roasted in 1tbsp rapeseed oil, and a small baked sweet potato. Bowl of frozen mixed berries for dessert.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal made with 1.4oz / 40g oats and 240ml reduced fat (semi-skimmed) milk, served with a handful of raspberries and a small drizzle of honey.
- Lunch: 2 small slices of wholemeal bread filled with 2 sliced boiled eggs, spinach leaves and 1tbsp reduced-fat mayo. Follow with a bowl of blackberries.
- Dinner: 5.3oz (150g) white fish oven-baked with 2tbsp of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. Serve with 4.2oz (120g) of skin-on new potatoes and 1⁄2 a can of ratatouille.
- Breakfast: 5.3oz (150g) of 0% Greek yogurt or Skyr and raspberries, plus a small slice of wholemeal toast with 1tbsp peanut butter.
- Lunch: 2.1oz (60g) roasted onion humous on a slice of rye bread, cherry tomatoes and 1 apple.
- Dinner: Grilled lamb leg steak (4.2oz / 120g cooked weight) served with homemade roasted sweet potato wedges (7.10z / 200g parboiled wedges in 1tbsp oil), peas and 1 large flat mushroom, grilled.
- Breakfast: A large boiled egg, small slice of wholemeal toast with a scrape of butter, plus a handful of blueberries.
- Lunch: Salad made from chopped kale leaves, 1tbsp each of toasted flaked almonds and golden raisins, topped with roasted chopped chicken breast and drizzled with 1tbsp of vinaigrette dressing.
- Dinner: 2.6oz / 75g (dry weight) of wholewheat pasta with tomato pasta sauce, chilli flakes and a can of sardines, with broccoli and peas.
You can have 1-2 of these a day:
- 4.4oz (125g) 0% Greek yogurt with berries
- One banana
- A small handful of unsalted nuts
- Red pepper sticks and 1.1oz (30g) reduced-fat soft cheese on an oatcake
- 2 large Medjool dates
Alternatively, you can have a small (5fl oz / 150ml) glass of red wine three times a week in lieu of a snack.
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Sophie is Editor at PetsRadar and was previously Editor (Maternity Cover) at Fit&Well and has worked in digital publishing for over five years after starting her career in print journalism. Sophie has worked across some of Fit&Well's biggest sister sites including TechRadar, Live Science, and Top Ten Reviews where she was a Section Editor. Her previous experience includes reviewing products, feature writing, and creating a magazine for cancer patients to support them through their treatment journeys. Sophie's love of all things fitness began when she was studying for a degree in English Language & Linguistics and she took up running in between lectures, which she found fantastic for stress busting. Since then, Sophie's switched to gym workouts and is trying her hand at yoga (although her Crow pose is still a long way off). Her top fitness tip? Find a form of exercise you enjoy and it won't feel like a chore.
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