OBJECTIVE: To describe the dietary composition of the New Nordic Diet (NND) and to compare it with the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR)/Danish Food-based Dietary Guidelines (DFDG) and with the average Danish diet. DESIGN: Dietary components with clear health-promoting properties included in the DFDG were included in the NND in amounts at least equivalent to those prescribed by the DFDG. The quantities of the other dietary components in the NND were based on scientific arguments for their potential health-promoting properties together with considerations of acceptability, toxicological concerns, availability and the environment. Calculations were conducted for quantifying the dietary and nutrient composition of the NND. SETTING: Denmark. SUBJECTS: None. RESULTS: The NND is characterized by a high content of fruits and vegetables (especially berries, cabbages, root vegetables and legumes), fresh herbs, potatoes, plants and mushrooms from the wild countryside, whole grains, nuts, fish and shellfish, seaweed, free-range livestock (including pigs and poultry) and game. Overall, the average daily intakes of macro- and micronutrients in the NND meet the NNR with small adjustments based on evidence of their health-promoting properties. CONCLUSIONS: The NND is a prototype regional diet that takes palatability, health, food culture and the environment into consideration. Regionally appropriate healthy diets could be created on similar principles anywhere in the world.