I have noticed how living in a different food culture has slowly changed the way I chose the food I eat. Back when I was thirty I was overweight and went onto the Weight Watchers programme. I successfully lost my desired amount of weight and kept it off by changing the way I prepared and chose the food I ate. But it wasn’t until I moved to Copenhagen, and specifically Frederiksberg, that I started to pay even more attention to what I ate. Women in Copenhagen are the slimmest in Denmark and Frederiksberg is the slimmest district in the city (or so I read a while back). There are many temptations here but at the same time the accessibility of healthy food is enormous. Even the budget ranges in the supermarkets and the food in the discount supermarkets is extremely healthy. It is hard not to chose the healthy option.
I realised how much my food choices have changed when I thought about my go-to lunch on my own when I am in the city. Back when I was working in London I would grab a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps or a microwave meal or burger from a chain. I look at what I chose the last two times I was alone for a quick lunch out – both times I hit the fifth floor cafe in Magasin. My first lunch was a slice of rugbrød (Danish rye bread) topped with a piece of breaded plaice and some gherkins and remoulade on the side; second time was a salad from the salad bar. Both meals quick, easy and filling but a hundred times healthier and fresher than the choices I would have made back in the day in the UK – even with the breaded plaice taken into consideration.
I don’t feel an enormous amount of pressure to eat healthily here – I still enjoy my slik (sweets) from the pick and mix shops, a bar of Ritter Sport or a decadent cake from the bakery but I also regularly buy salads from the salad bars as a lunchtime treat.
I recall having an ‘only in Denmark’ moment when I was in our local bagel shop and there was a twentysomething hungover couple in there ordering a morning after cure of smoked salmon filled bagels not a big greasy fried breakfast as I would have done at their age.