Nutrition in Lefse

Overview

When Norwegians immigrated to the United States, they brought along many recipes including lefse, lutefisk and krumkake. As with traditional foods in many cultures, some families still gather the generations together to make lefse. In the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest, where there are high populations of people of Norwegian descent, you can buy lefse in grocery stores. Although some people eat it all year, it is most common at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Identification

Lefse is a soft flat bread. It is sweeter and thinner than a tortilla, but still strong and pliable. It is more potato-based, although flour is still used as an ingredient. When served, it appears off white with golden brown spots. The size of the lefse depends upon the size of the griddle.

Recipe

The nutrition of a particular food depends upon the ingredients as well as the cooking method. According to a recipe posted by North Dakota State University, use 4 cups of mashed potatoes, 1 cup butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 1/4 cup milk, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup flour. "Mix first five ingredients. Refrigerate until thoroughly cool. Add flour gradually and knead smooth. Depending on the size of your pan or lefse grill, take a small handful (about a cup) and roll paper thin on a floured surface. Bake on a hot griddle until golden spots form. Turn and bake on second side. Place flat on a clean towel and cover with another towel. Place several sheets of lefse on top of each other. When cool, cut into quarters or halves and place in plastic bags to preserve freshness."

Nutrition

North Dakota State University states nutrition facts for their old-fashioned lefse recipe: "Each serving (about half a large round or 1.5 ounces) has 60 calories, 8.9g carbohydrate, 2g fat, 0.6g fiber and 69.7mg sodium." In comparison, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 1 medium slice of whole wheat bread has 70 calories and 1.2 grams of fat.

Consideration

Although lefse may be low in calories and fat, be careful what you add to it. It is common to cover lefse with butter, cinnamon and sugar before rolling it up and eating it. While this makes a delicious holiday treat, it will add many calories and change the overall nutritional value.

Warning

Lefse's main ingredient is potatoes, but since it also includes flour, it is not safe for people with celiac disease or allergies to gluten. If you have any food allergies, read the label carefully. If you are not sure about certain ingredients, check with your doctor.

Keywords: lefse nutrition, Norwegian foods, traditional Christmas recipies

About this Author

Dawn Trautman has been a writer for fifteen years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Valparaiso University and master's degrees from Luther Seminary and New York University.

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