Want to Lose Weight? Have a Go at the Nordic Diet.

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

The new buzz in the diet world is the nordic diet. No you don’t travel up to the Arctic Circle and sit in an igloo and eat ice cubes. It it is supposed to be a well-researched diet that genuinely helps the body lose weight. This is a new diet on the market today. Just when you think you have tried every weight loss program and diet here comes another one! This diet is inspired by foods from the cultures of Norway, Sweden and Denmark and the foods that are the mainstays of these cultures. If you tried the very popular Mediterranean diet it is like that. Only it comes from a different part of the world. Both diets are the same at the nutrient level but the food selection is much different. Is the Nordic diet a fad diet? Do you want to look as good as the nordic people. Their foods center around fatty fishes such as herring and salmon.

Important tenets of the diet are substituting fatty meats for lean red meats. Like eating ground beef instead of lean red meat and eating  bison. You reduce milk fat like butter, watching your sugar intake and salt intake. On the one hand they are suggesting you stay away from milk fat but consume fatty meats. Does this make sense? Another difference is the mediterranean diet focuses on olive oil while the nordic diet focuses on the heart healthy canola oil.

There are some healthy benefits to the nordic diet. The nordic diet really concentrates on heart health. A 166-person study published in “the Journal of Internal Medicine” found that the 96 who adhered to the nordic diet had better heart health than the 70 who adhered to  a normal diet. By week 18 of the 24 week trial the people on the nordic diet showed significant heart health improvement and had a much lower risk for cardiovascular disease according to the study’s researchers. It also decreases the ratio of LDL-cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol — that’s ‘bad’ cholesterol versus ‘good’ cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.” Another study published in the “Journal of Clinical Nutrition”  found that that possibly the nordic diet affects genes involved with low- grade inflammation and in that study the nordic diet decreased some markers for inflammation. Keeping inflammation under control is key to maintaining good health. Low-grade inflammatory is responsible for some chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Nordic Recipes

Berry Baked Oatmeal

Berry Baked Oatmeal

If you are trying to stay away from the office vending machine this oatmeal recipe is for you. It is sweet-tasting and full of fiber which is an integral part of the nordic diet. It will keep you full for hours.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
  • 2 cups skim milk [soy or almond would be fine]
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup blueberries and raspberries

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Grease an 8×8” pan with olive oil cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, mix oats, maple syrup, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • In a larger bowl, whisk butter, milk, vanilla and applesauce.
  • Slice banana and place on bottom of prepared pan. Toss ½ cup blueberries to fill in gaps.
  • Spread oat mixture over banana and blueberries in pan, and then pour milk mixture over oats.
  • Sprinkle remaining berries on top.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until oats turn golden.

Berry Green Smoothie

The Nordic diet is all about consuming dark leafy greens but if you are sick of salads try this sweet enticing berry green smoothie. It is packed with spinach and is highlighted with banana to give it a sweet tasting kick and you get some potassium in the mix.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or more, to taste

Instructions:

  • Combine spinach, blueberries, raspberries, banana, milk, oats, sugar and 1 cup ice in blender until smooth.
  • Serve immediately.

Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Yogurt

This is a new twist on yogurt adding it to roasted salmon. It definitely makes for a unique. Taste and any fish lover would appreciate this recipe. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to triglyceride levels (a fat found in your blood that can contribute to heart disease.) New studies have found that wild salmon contains peptides which are protein molecules that provide special support for for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. This is one superfood you want to have in your diet.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Persian cucumber
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (we used Chobani)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1.5 pounds salmon fillets, skin on
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Shred the cucumber, excluding the seeded part, and use paper towels to squeeze out and discard excess water.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, sour cream, yogurt, dill, half the garlic, half the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Line a baking pan with foil. Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Place it skin side down on the pan. Sprinkle with remaining garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake until barely opaque in the center, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve with the yogurt sauce.

Root Vegetable Red Lentil Stew

Root Vegetable Red Lentil Stew

This is a different type of recipe that features red lentil in its ingredients. It is also loaded with root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes, this stomach-filler is chock-full of lentils for added fiber and protein. If you make a large batch you can freeze it and eat it during the frigid winter months.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 small red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • Half bunch of kale, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime
  • Fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  • Prepare all the root vegetables above (peel and chop parsnips, carrots, sweet potato and red potatoes). Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Chop the onion, ginger and garlic. In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and onions and a large pinch of salt. Stir for 5 minutes or so until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and all of the spices and stir for 30 seconds until everything becomes fragrant.
  • Add all the root vegetables to the pot along with the lentils, six cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Raise the heat until the soup comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if stew becomes too thick.
  • When the lentils have broken down and the root vegetables are tender, turn off the heat. Add the chopped kale to the pot and stir until it wilts. Add the juice of half a lemon or lime and stir. Taste the soup and see if it needs more salt. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro on top.

Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Salad

Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Salad

Oh no not another salad but this salad has a different take on it. It features beets which are not included in a lot of salads. Beets are a root vegetable that are rich in phytochemicals which are antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Combined with blood oranges you have a winning combination every time. It’s not everyday you will come across a salad that has oranges it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium red beets, tops trimmed
  • 2 medium golden beets, tops trimmed
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 medium navel orange (preferably Cara Cara)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive, pumpkin seed, or walnut oil (for drizzling)
  • Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro and/or chervil leaves

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Wash beets, leaving some water on skins. Wrap individually in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool.
  • Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from all oranges; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes of 2 blood oranges to release segments into bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Slice remaining blood orange and Cara Cara orange crosswise into thin rounds. Place sliced oranges in bowl with the segments. Add lemon juice and lime juice.
  • Peel cooled beets. Slice 2 beets crosswise into thin rounds. Cut remaining 2 beets into wedges. Strain citrus juices; reserve. Layer beets and oranges on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. Let salad stand for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish salad with cilantro leaves.

Crisp Kale and Brussels Sprouts Tacos with Avocado

How about this for a different kick crisp kale,avocado, and brussel sprouts on a taco. The wonderful thing about kale is it is definitely a powerhouse food. It contains 1328 percent of the daily recommended allowance for vitamin K and 354 percent of the daily recommended  allowance for vitamin A. Both vitamins are great to be consumed for superb eye health. This taco salad is one of the healthiest ones you will find on the planet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil (or another high-heat oil)
  • 2 cups of brussels sprouts, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4-5 kale leaves, stalks removes, and finely chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • salt + pepper + red pepper flakes
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 6-8 small soft taco tortillas (if you want this recipe to be gluten-free, find a brand that states it is gluten-free, or you can also make your own)
  • for the white bean creama:
  • 1 16oz can of canellini beans
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • a large pinch of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt + pepper + red pepper flakes, to taste
  • optional – a small squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon or so of water (if you need to thin it out a little)

Instructions:

  • Start by making the white bean creama. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add water if you need to thin it out a little, but not too much because you do not want it to be runny. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  • Place the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the brussels sprouts. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in the kale and season with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir everything and then add the lime juice. Stir again and cook for a couple of minutes until the kale has wilted. Remove from the heat, toss in the chopped avocado and set aside in a separate bowl.
  • If you like, you can lightly toast the tortillas in a small frying pan. I do this over low heat for a few minutes on each side until they are a light brown.
  • Serve warm with a smear of white bean creama on the tortilla as the base and the brussels and kale on top.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley

Brussel sprouts seem to be a common food found in the nordic diet. Here with it you have cranberries and barley definitely a different combination for a healthy meal. It just so happens that barley may keep your blood sugar levels from going through the roof. Roasted brussel sprouts a different way to cook a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, tips cut off, discolored leaves removed and sliced in half (smaller sprouts are better than large sprouts)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • ⅔ cup fresh cranberries (or ⅓ cup dried cranberries)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled Gorgonzola or goat cheese
  • ⅓ cup freshly toasted pecans
  • 1 ½ cups cooked barley, reheated (see instructions above)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat your broiler.
  • Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Let it heat up for two to three minutes. It should be so hot that a few drops of water sizzle and quickly disappear after contact.
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil.
  • Once the pan is hot, dump the sprouts into the pan and quickly rearrange them so the flat sides are face down. Let them cook for two minutes.
  • Toss the fresh cranberries into the pan and transfer the pan to your broiler. The pan will be heavy and hot so use oven mitts and be careful! Let the Brussels broil for about three minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized. How long you should leave them in there depends on your preferences and your oven. The cranberries should have started popping by now; set the hot pan on your stovetop for a couple of minutes while you reheat the barley.
  • Toss the warm barley, sprouts, cranberries, cheese and pecans in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Season with salt, divide into smaller bowls, and enjoy!

Dandelion Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette

Oh boy now they want you to eat weeds! Dandelion greens are a rare food you will find in any dish. Nordic fans love to go out and pick the dandelion greens fresh out of the meadow. But if for some reason you don’t have a meadow in your backyard then you can purchase them at your local market.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch tall dandelion greens
  • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar (use white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 tablespoon

Instructions:

Roughly chop the dandelion greens discarding the tough stems.

2. In a blender, combine vinegar, mustard, anchovy, salt, and pepper. With the blender on high, slowly drizzle 1/3 cup olive oil in until combined. Turn off the blender and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the greens and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes until tender. Pour the vinaigrette over the greens, stir, and sauté for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and serve.

The Fun Conclusion

new slant on losing weight the nordic diet way

So have at it a new slant on losing weight the nordic diet way. This diet is taking the health world by storm. You will find out some of the key health benefits of the nordic diet and we have listed some key recipes of the nordic diet. Read, cook and then enjoy these heart-healthy nordic recipes.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.