Healthy Eats in Denmark

As a recent college graduate from the U.S, I am no stranger to cheap fast food. In fact, eating it at least 3-4 times a week, it might be the sole reason I didn’t starve to death during those 4 years. Living in a house with 3 other guys throughout college, not much cooking got done. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you if we even had a working oven. What I can tell you; however, is that we were within walking distance to a Chik-fil-a, Hardee’s, Taco Bell, Sonic’s, Pizza Hut, and of course the Holy Grail: McDonald’s. With most of these places even dishing out student discounts, it was a broke college student’s dream. Since moving to Denmark, my personal biggest culture shock, by far, was adapting to a healthier eating habit. Oh yeah, and learning how to cook! And let me tell you, it hasn’t been pretty folks. But why is it that Danes seem to eat so much healthier than myself and my fellow Americans?

“Healthy” Fast Food

TransFatDenmark is clearly quite conscious of their eating habits. Being the first country to try and implement a “fat tax,” applying a surcharge to all foods exceeding 2.3% saturated fats, the Danes have made it apparent that they want to be among the leaders in healthy eating. Just looking at a menu at a Danish McDonald’s you will find a variety of salads, wraps, and whole grain burger buns. These kinds of options have made the Danish McDonald’s chain one of the healthiest in the world. In fact, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, fries from McDonalds in the US contain about 20 times more trans fat then McDonalds fries in Denmark.

Eating at Home

With the ability to control your ingredients, eating at home is a healthier option than eating out each night; however, in the U.S, this is sometimes difficult to do. Many times in my college career, I chose to eat out instead of eating in due to the simple facts that it was cheaper and less time consuming. In Denmark, this is not so much the case.

A huge factor as to why the Danes eat in so much are the expenses of eating out compared to eating in. One of the first things I noticed when walking into my first Danish McDonald’s were the prices. The prices, oh my, the prices. In North Carolina, bring 5 bucks with you to McDonald’s and you are eating like a king. 5 dollars in a Danish McDonald’s might get you a small portion of fries. To my Americans: I’m talking Happy Meal size here!

On the other end of the spectrum, walking into a grocery store in Denmark, the prices are surprisingly cheap with a liter of milk only setting you back about 1 U.S dollar. It is no wonder a Dane would choose to cook at home as compared to eating out 3 or 4 times a week.


The Challenge of Being Healthy

Most Danes take pride in their healthiness. Being guided by world class nutritionists, such as Thorbjorg, throughout Scandinavia, Danes and other Scandinavians have the tools and knowledge they need to live a healthier lifestyle. Here at Pine Tribe, our mission is to take these tools from Scandinavia and share it with the rest of the world. With the help of Thorbjorg, Pine Tribe has done just that by bringing her book 10 Years Younger in 10 weeks to your e-reader. Her book will help open your eyes to what you are really putting in your body, helping us “Non-Danes” become just as healthy. Want to shave off 10 years? Go for it!

Image from: Here

Table from: Here

Peter Gratale
23 Jan 2014

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