January 18, 2000

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition

Russian cuisine is wonderful; of that there is no doubt. But, how healthy is a steady diet of it? Bread, soups, pickled fish and other daily mainstays of the Russian table can make for a hearty diet. To fully understand what we consider balanced nutrition, refer to the Food Guide Pyramid. Basically, this guide states that we should consume 6 - 11 servings of starch, 3 - 5 servings of vegetables, 2 - 4 servings of fruit, 2 - 3 servings of dairy, 2 - 3 servings of meat (protein) and a trace amount of fats and sugar per day.

Let's take a look at just one possible, basic Russian daily menu and see how it adds up:

Meal Menu Exchanges
Breakfast: black bread, eggs, cheese, sausage,
butter, tea
starch: 3
vegetable: 0
fruit: 0
protein: 2.3
dairy: 2
fat/sugar: 22

Child's Breakfast hot oatmeal (plain)
(high in Iron, B and A vitamins, etc.)
starch: 1.6
vegetable: 0
fruit: 0
protein: 0
dairy: 0
fat/sugar: .5

Dinner: pickled fish, vegetables, bread, soup, meat or fish, potato and dessert (stewed fruit) starch: 3
vegetable: 2
fruit: 1
protein: 4.3
dairy: 0
fat/sugar: 6

Supper: same as dinner, but without the soup or dessert starch: 3
vegetable: 1
fruit: 0
protein: 2
dairy: 0
fat/sugar: 1.5

Grand Totals:
Keep in mind these are rough estimates
starch: 9 (6-11 suggested)
vegetable: 3 (3-5 suggested)
fruit: 1 (2-4 suggested)
protein: 8.5 (2-3 suggested)
dairy: 2 (2-3 suggested)
fat/sugar: 34.5 (trace suggested)

At a glance, it would appear that the average Russian diet is not anymore unbalanced than that enjoyed by Americans. It needs more fruit, could do with more vegetable and would benefit from a reduced fat intake. Sound familiar?

Unlike Americans, the heaviest meals of the Russian day are breakfast and dinner. The evening meal, supper, is light. This is a much healthier habit than eating little, if any, breakfast and a large evening meal. Much of the fish and vegetables are pickled or marinated. Vinegar is very high in potassium and, also, contains calcium and iron.

Below are some common food items and their nutritional breakouts.

Black Bread - Nutrition Per Serving
(16 servings per loaf)
Total Calories: 155
% from fat: 14 % from carbs: 77 % from protien: 9
Total Fat: 2 grams; 4%
( percentages are of daily allowances based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)
Saturated fat; 1 gr.; 6%
monounsaturated fat: 1 gr; 6%
polyunsaturated fat: trace; 1%
Cholesterol: 4 mg; 1% Potassium: 162mg; 5% Sodium: 151mg; 6%
Total Carbohydrates: 30 gr; 10%
Dietary Fiber: 2 gr; 7%
Protien: 4 gr; 7% Iron: 1 mg; 8% Calcium: 18 mg; 2%
Zinc: 1mg; 3% Vit. A: 57 IU; 1% Thiamin: .2 mg; 13%
Riboflavin: .1 mg; 7% Folacin: 39 mcg; 10% Niacin: 1 mg; 7%
Food Exchanges: 1.5 Starch; .5 Fat

Black Bread Recipe and Instructions

More . . .

Bliny - Nutrition Per Serving (roughly 20)
Total Calories: 174
% from fat: 15 % from carbs: 71 % from protien: 14
Total Fat: 3 grams; 4%
( percentages are of daily allowances based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)
Saturated fat; 1 gr.; 7%
monounsaturated fat: 1 gr; 4%
polyunsaturated fat: trace; 1%
Cholesterol: 27 mg; 9% Potassium: 141mg; 4% Sodium: 143mg; 6%
Total Carbohydrates: 30 gr; 10%
Dietary Fiber: 1 gr; 4%
Protien: 6 gr; 12% Iron: 2 mg; 10% Calcium: 81 mg; 8%
Zinc: 1mg; 3% Vit. A: 105 IU; 2% Thiamin: .3 mg; 20%
Riboflavin: .3 mg; 18% Folacin: 22 mcg; 6% Niacin: 2 mg; 11%
Food Exchanges: 1.5 Starch; .5 Fat

Blini Recipe and Instructions


Pickled Herring - Nutrition Per Serving
(1 cup)
Total Calories: 366
% from fat: 63
Total Fat: 25 grams; 39%
( percentages are of daily allowances based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)
Saturated fat; 3.3g; 16%
monounsaturated fat: 17g; 75%
polyunsaturated fat: 2g; 10%
Cholesterol: 18 mg; 6% Potassium: 97mg; 3% Sodium: 1218mg; 50%
Total Carbohydrates: 15.5 gr; 4.5%
Dietary Fiber: 0gr; 0%
Protien: 20 gr; 40% Iron: 1.7 mg; 9.5% Calcium: 108 mg; 11%
Zinc: .75mg; 5% Vit. A: 1250 IU; 24% Thiamin: .05 mg; 3%
Vit. C: 0mg; 0% Vit. B12: 6 mcg;100%
Riboflavin: .2mg; 11% Folacin: 3.5 mcg; .8% Niacin: 4.5 mg; 23%
Food Exchanges: 2.8 Meat; 3.5 Fat


Cavier - Nutrition Per Serving
(1 tablespoon)
Total Calories: 40
% from fat: 58.5
Total Fat: 3 grams; 4.5%
( percentages are of daily allowances based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)
Saturated fat; .64g; 3.2%
monounsaturated fat: .74g; 3.3%
polyunsaturated fat: 1.2g; 5.5%
Cholesterol: 94 mg; 31% Potassium: 29mg; .8% Sodium: 240mg; 10%
Total Carbohydrates: .65 gr; .2%
Dietary Fiber: 0gr; 0%
Protien: 4 gr; 8% Iron: 2 mg; 11% Calcium: 44 mg; 4.5%
Zinc: .15mg; 1% Vit. A: 300 IU; 6% Thiamin: .03mg; 2%
Vit. C: 90re; 9% Vit. B12: 3.2 mcg; 53%
Riboflavin: .09mg; 5.3% Folacin: 8 mcg; 2%
Food Exchanges: .5 Meat; .2 Fat
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