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How Norwegians Eat Their Way To Being Among The World's Healthiest People

HuffPost logo HuffPost 13/04/2017 Julie R. Thomson

Coffee is a must in Norwegian breakfast. © Getty Images Coffee is a must in Norwegian breakfast. Unesco recently released its Human Development Report, which makes Norway a model of health for the rest world. The report looks at many factors, including life expectancy and average number of years spent in school. Norway ranked number one in their data.

Since Norway is setting a good example for how to live, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at how Norwegians eat. Here’s what you should know:

The Norwegian breakfast doesn’t look anything like a traditional American breakfast.

Breakfast is a light affair often involving Norwegian bread ― either lefse, rye bread or a roll ― cheese, jam and butter. There’s also often meat and fish, like salami, ham, smoked salmon or pickled herring. Muesli is also common. And coffee is a must.

Heavy egg dishes are not the norm here.

In Norway, cheese reigns supreme ― especially when it’s brown. 

Coffee and brunost cheese slices on bread. © Instagram: chicajo Coffee and brunost cheese slices on bread.

Brunost, a brown cheese like no other, is beloved in its uniqueness. It’s a whey cheese that’s sweet and has a caramel-like texture. It’s often peeled in thin slices and eaten on open-faced sandwiches.   

The cuisine is shaped by the need to preserve.

Freshly made lefse. © Instagram: cagurl74 Freshly made lefse.

Norway is not only surrounded by the sea, but its climate is such that it demands preservation. The short growing season and cold weather in Norway make it a necessity for survival.

Even the nation’s beloved bread, lefse, was developed to stay good in the pantry for months.  (It’s also highly delicious.)

Norwegian fish (and seafood) is unparalleled. 

Norwegian salmon, on a piece of bread. © Instagram: reidarnesje Norwegian salmon, on a piece of bread.

And that’s one of the reasons that cured, smoked, pickled, dried, and yes, even sometimes just fresh fish, is so popular in Norway. It makes sense that Norway has such a strong seafood culture ― there’s a high coast-per-land ratio. They eat fish for breakfast, as we mentioned above. They serve it for lunch on open-faced sandwiches. You can even get tubed caviar at the grocery store ― that’s how serious they are about their seafood.

Their cold, wet climate means they get some of the sweetest berries around. 

Freshly-picked cloudberries. © Instagram: instaskandi Freshly-picked cloudberries.

The most prized being the cloudberry. The cloudberry only grows in the wild, and picking locations are guarded like family secrets. They’re often served simply, with whipped cream, or made into jams to preserve them for the many months when cloudberries aren’t in season.

Waffles are eaten as an afternoon snack.

Norwegian waffles. © Instagram: naranutrition Norwegian waffles.

They’re thicker and richer than American waffles, and they often come heart-shaped. Norwegian waffles are often eaten with brown cheese, naturally, or with sour cream and jam. Of course, they aren’t only eaten in the afternoon, but it is common to have a waffle with coffee as a snack.

The Norwegians’ love of cake is strong.

Kvæfjordkake, the country's national cake. © Instagram: inasb Kvæfjordkake, the country's national cake.

Norwegians are credited with creating the world’s best cake, after all. It’s called Kvæfjordkake and is the beautiful culmination of sponge cake, vanilla cream, almonds and meringue. But that’s not their only noteworthy cake ― they’re all show-stoppers in their own right.

Looks like even the healthiest nations have a sweet tooth. 

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