Vikings were known to be incredibly strong and resistant people. Part of the reason for their strength is because most of them were hunters and not gatherers, due to their harsh and cold environment vegetation was very poor and they could farm their lands for a very short period of time and store it to survive the long and harsh winter. (that is one of the big reasons they started exploring other lands and developed brilliant trading skills), so they had to hunt animals in order to survive.The Viking diet consisted a high amount of protein and fat, and enough carbs. Even though their climate was terrible studies show that they did not have a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

Meat and Dairy

Their most abundant meat was pork because the hog was very easy to raise and quick to mature, but they also ate beef, mutton, goats, chicken, duck and occasionally horse meat. They were avid hunters and often captured rain deer, elk, and even bears.  Because they spent so much time on water a giant source of meat (almost 25%) was fish, most abundant fish was the herring. They had great skills of persevering meat through the year, it was dried, salted, smoked etc.. They also ate eggs from the chicken and ducks. They also raised cows for dairy purposes, they lived up to 10 years, old enough to give birth to a calf. They loved drinking milk, whey and buttermilk, they also used the milk to make other dairy products including cheese, skyr, a soft, yogurt-like cheese, curds, and butter. Sour whey was used to preserve cooked meats in the winter.

Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts

Vegetables and fruits were much wilder than any of our modern varieties. Carrots would have been added to the daily skause, but they weren’t orange they were white and black they were the only ones available. Viking farmers cultivated cabbages, beans, peas, and endive and they also collected a lot of mushrooms. A wide range of herbs and seasonings helped flavor Viking food, with spices like coriander, cumin, mustard and wild horseradish making an appearance at the table. Viking farms included apple orchards and such fruit trees as pears and cherries. Wild berries were harvested in the summer, including sloe-berries, lingonberries, strawberries, bilberries, and cloudberries. Walnuts were imported, but hazelnuts grew wild and nuts were a favorite treat.

Despite the overall balanced nature of the Viking diet, there were some major pitfalls. We know from archeological excavations of Viking cesspits and sewers that most Vikings suffered from parasites in their intestines: Bluntly put, they had worms. And the same cesspit excavations revealed undigested seeds from the whole wheat bread Vikings ate, some of which came from weeds that are highly poisonous to humans.