Viking Food: Viking Diet of Nutrition

Cool thing is that the Vikings consumed what the nature gave them. From the vegetables they grew themselves to the fish in the large ocean, the Vikings listed them into their meal. Though there was no gasoline to cook the meal at the time, the fresh and healthy source of Viking food was enough for the Vikings to have a good shape.

Looking back at the Viking age, we can see how adaptable the Vikings were in the harsh weather. The coldness in Scandinavia could never stop the Vikings from thriving. The Vikings simply grew their food on their farm. And what they could not grow could be found via trading. Though there have been no excavation of the Viking recipes, we learn what the Vikings consumed through both archaeological and literal evidence.

In the past, the Vikings often consumed two meals per day. The first meal was the daymeal ” dagmál” which resembled our breakfast. However, the Vikings had their daymeal roughly after two hours of working (approximately at 8AM). The Viking enjoyed the other meal when their working day had ended (roughly at 8PM). But the time of the meal varied from season to season, depending on the hours of daylight.

Types of Viking Food

The list of Viking food here bases on the both literal and archaeological evidence.

Protein sources

Whether it was a coincidence or not, the Vikings learnt very soon about the importance of protein. In this day and age, we learn that protein is an important component in our every cell. Protein also helps build the muscle to have a better shape. And the best sources of protein in the Viking age came from the domestic cattle, wild animals through hunting, and sea food

Domestic cattle: The Vikings consumed pork, beef, sheep, lamb, etc. in their time. The consumption of horse meat was one of the special religious practice. The Vikings had a great number of cattle inside their farmland. Archaeological evidence pointed out that the farmland of the Vikings could store up to 100 animals. The Vikings also kept the chicken and duck for diary and eggs. Eggs have always been a wonderful source of protein.

The Vikings consumed what nature gave them. That was among the most important keys to the Viking healthy diet

The Vikings had a skill of preserving their meat without refrigerator. But maybe it was the cold weather in Scandinavia that helped the Vikings to preserve the food. The slaughtering time would take place around October – November every year. The productive cattle would be kept alive for the following years while the others got slaughtered. Fermentation to preserve the meat is an extremely awkward concept to the modern Western. But the Vikings used this technique to preserve their food. The process of fermentation was quite simple. The food would be stored inside the pit without letting exposed to the air outside. Sometimes, the Vikings added some salt to the preservation.

Wild animal: Compared with the domestic cattle, the Vikings consumed less meat from the wild animal. Although they went on hunting many times weekly, the wild animal food was not their main food supply. But the meat source from hunting was sure to vary more. If the domestic cattle revolved around some basic ones, the meat from the wild animals depended on what animal the Vikings had hunted down.

Fruits and vegetables

As mentioned above, the Vikings had a very healthy diet. Not only did they provide themselves with a source of fresh protein but also the source of vitamin and minerals. The Vikings always prepared for their meal with a great source of vegetables and fruits. Like the meat, the vegetables and fruits might be collected from the wild or grown by the Vikings.

The Vikings preserved fruits and vegetables by drying and sometimes with honey and sugar. It seemed that the Vikings always had a way to preserve their food. The Vikings used their seeds to produce the oil in cooking as well.


The vat to make diary product in the Viking age. This is a modern reconstruction

Cow was the primary diary animals in the Viking age. But the Vikings often consumed the goat’s milk. But compare with this day age age, the Vikings didn’t prefer to consume milk. Rather, they used the milk to make the diary products like cheese, butter, curds, etc.

Herbs and Spices

The Vikings also had a wonderful list of herbs and spices in their age. They added herbs and spices to any meals to make better flavour. In the Viking age, they had an exotic source of herbs and spices thanks to trading.

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