Topline Trends Tuesday: Skyr and the Nordic Diet


Even while the Mediterranean diet continues to be recommended and discussed, a new diet with a geographic connection is emerging: the Nordic Diet. The popularity of this diet is rooted in the longevity enjoyed by Scandinavian dwellers — especially Icelanders, who are Europe’s longest living people (although, that distinction is only held by Icelandic men so maybe as a woman I should be looking elsewhere for health food tips!).

Earning a lot of media attention in the UK, the Nordic diet features a high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio as well as an abundance of cool climate foods such as high-antioxidant blueberries and cruciferous cabbage. A pillar of the Nordic diet is skyr (pronounced skeer), a dairy product from Iceland that I saw for sale in New York City grocery stores recently. With next to no fat and exceptional levels of calcium and protein, skyr is being marketed as a snack for active people and as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. I asked my friend chef Michael Olson (whose family roots are Icelandic) about skyr; he says it’s thinner than commercially made Canadian yogurt and a bit tarter, making it similar to kefir.

Although there are predictions that the Nordic Diet will be the next big trend in countries that have cold weather climates (like Canada and the UK), with Santa Claus as the current spokesperson for Northern climes, I’m thinking they may need to do a lot more marketing to get people to try this eating regime!

Have any of you tried skyr? If so, what did you think of it? Do you feel younger since you ate it or pretty much the same?

21 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: Skyr and the Nordic Diet

  1. Amanda Laird says:

    I’m leaving for Iceland next week and skyr is first on my list of things to try, we have heard so many great things from other travelers about this Nordic staple.

  2. danamccauley says:

    Sounds fun – I hope you’ll come back here when you return and offer us an update on Icelandic food. According to Michael the cakes – often laced with cardamom- are fantatstic!

  3. Barb says:

    Can’t help with this one. Everything I know about skyr I learned right here right now.

  4. Never heard of skyr. Is it fermented? If so, does it vary nutritionally that much from low-fat yogurt and kefir?

    My guess is Nordic longevity results from an active lifestyle as much as diet. We could eat like them, but if we sit all winter in front of the TV all the skyr in the world won’t help.

  5. danamccauley says:

    For anyone like Charmian who wants to know more about what skyr is, here’s a link to Wikipedia that seems to offer fairly well-referenced info:

  6. cheryl says:

    Oooh, never heard of this, but I love yogurt and I love cardamom-laced cakes. Maybe I’ll go to Iceland. They don’t have swine flu there yet, do they?

  7. Diva says:

    I’m dying to go to Iceland. Have fun, Amanda!

    As for the skyr, never heard of it but now I’m curious. I don’t now that I expect it to be the fountain of youth – but with the calcium and protein it sounds like a good snack. Will look out for it.

  8. danamccauley says:

    Diva, you can get it at Murray’s cheese on Bleeker – that’s where I took that picture.

    Cheryl, I’ll come to Iceland with you if you like.

  9. cheryl says:

    Dana, we can stop in Brooklyn on the way!

  10. James says:

    Oooh, never heard of this, but I love yogurt and I love cardamom-laced cakes. Maybe I’ll go to Iceland. They don’t have swine flu there yet, do they? <= yes

  11. Beth says:

    Okay, so I’ll look into tickets to Iceland: so far we have Cheryl, Dana, James, me and Amanda already has her ticket…skyr for everyone!

  12. Hmmm… the “Nordic Diet” sounds very appealling. Is this available in the United States?

  13. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more articles from you in the future.

    – Jack

  14. […] hamburger bun. But by the time you read this we’ll be tripping around Reykjavik feasting on skyr and minke whale and of course, the national food of Iceland, hot […]

  15. Health Ealge says:

    We have tried this yogurt. We liked the strawberry and vanilla but didn’t like the blueberry as much. And we were so happy to have found it locally. . .finally!

  16. Amanda Laird says:

    Well, I’m back. And let me tell you I just about ate my weight in skyr while I was in Iceland. It was delicious, but I didn’t find it to be very different from yogurt and actually found it to be stiffer, not thinner than what we have here. It was more like the top of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt before you mix it all in. Vanilla and strawberry were my favorites, although we did find a banana split flavour that was divine. I was disappointed to find out that many brands contained aspartame. All and all, it was delicious and I wish we could get it here (especially the banana split!).

  17. danamccauley says:

    Anything called banana split is a good thing in my books. Thanks for the special report from the field Amanda!

  18. Nathan Jones says:

    I can get siggy’s skyr here in Dallas and I love it. I like so much that I’ve been making my own using siggy’s skyr as a culture. Fantastic breakfast!

  19. Dana says:

    Skyr is seriously the best food ever and I have been obsessed with making it since returning form Iceland.
    An Icelandic diet? Hum, probably wouldn’t fly. Not the healthiest BMI with the overall population from my observations.

    I have been looking for an organic dairy willing to private label produce skyr for me. So far, no luck. If anyone comes across an organic dairy with the capacity to drain whey and willing to discuss private label production please let me know.

  20. Jon says:

    Had it yesterday for the first time and fell in love with it. It certainly is thicker than yogurt and a bit tart, but the satiation achieved through only 120 calories is great. I ate a cup of the Siggi’s Orange & Ginger with a handful of raw cashews and I was good to go for 3-4 hours… Im going out to buy a case of the product… hope this helps

  21. Kristin says:

    hello everyone. i am from iceland and i eat skyr every day for breakfast. i love it because it is so low in calories and fat and high in protein. plus it keeps you full for a long time. i love skyr-cake which is like cheesecake, only low in fat! 🙂 you can get it in many different flavors.

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