Smørrebrød, tarteletter, fiskefrikadeller, Æbleflæsk… if you are not familiar with Scandinavian cuisine then you can be forgiven for not knowing what these dishes are, but if you are then I’m sure your mouth is watering just reading this page. These are just some of the traditional dishes that make up one of the healthiest diets in the world – the Scandinavian diet. For many years, the Scandinavian diet has been overshadowed by the Mediterranean diet in terms of its health benefits, but what exactly makes it so good for you and why should we all be trying it?

It is not a “Diet Personally, I feel the word “diet” has been thrown around a little too much in recent years and now, when somebody says “ I’m on a diet” most people automatically think of calorie counting, kale & spinach smoothies and restricting anything that tastes remotely good. In fact, a new diet just means that you have made a lifestyle change to eat certain foods and limit others. This is exactly the case here, with foods like fresh salmon & hardboiled egg on rye bread with mustard mayonnaise and watercress (Smørrebrød) and tender roast pork & crackling with caramelised potatoes (Flæskesteg), you can still have a delicious meal without feeling the guilt after!

It is very simple. Because this diet has not been developed by the latest fitness guru from some study done in god only knows where, it is incredibly simple. There are three easy guidelines to follow:

Keep it natural. Try and cook fresh food from scratch as much as possible. It doesn’t need to complicated and made up of loads of ingredients. The fresher the produce the less you need as the natural flavours will come through. Try and avoid grabbing something convenient and potentially unhealthy by making time to cook and enjoying it too. Also you can prep for the next day. I cook my dinner and lunch for the next day in the evenings and because I use good solid fresh ingredients, the taste is not compromised after a night in the fridge.

Eat in moderation. It is all well and good me saying you can eat all of these delicious foods, but if you are eating portion sizes for 4 people then it is not going to be much of a benefit to your lifestyle. A rough guide is a palm size for the main part of your dish (meat, fish etc.), a fist-sized portion for your vegetables and a cupped hand size for your grains starches or fruits.

Move!! 30% of Danes living in cities cycle to work in the morning. I am not saying you need to go for any lengthy 10 mile runs any time soon (but if you want to then that’s also great) however, even the smallest change can lead to a wonderful feeling, mentally and physically. Next time you want to take the lift to your office floor why not take the stairs? If you’re sat down for over an hour, get up and walk around for a few minutes. These simple changes along with eating delicious healthy food will make all the difference.

It Works! According to the latest statistics by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest numbers of obesity in adults compared to the rest of the globe. With Denmark, Norway and Sweden ranging from 12%-14.9% in adults compared to ….. United Kingdom, United States and Germany ranging from 23.6% - 38.2% in adults. As well as diet it is thought that a much more active lifestyle and less stress, also impact the figures and lead to a lower percentage of obesity.

In summary, I think we all need to take a leaf out of the Scandinavian book; I have recently made these changes in my own life and I can honestly say I see a huge improvement in my overall mood, reaction to stress and of also my waistline ☺ If you need some inspiration visit for some cookbooks on offer as well as lots of traditional Danish food to get you started. So why not give it a go yourself today less stress, more energy and delicious home cooked food!