For Newcomer in Russia: Learn Their Common Habits of Eating

Have you been gaining weight? Have you been suffering from obesity? Do you want to know how to deal with it in the least painful way? While obesity rate depends on a lot of factors, it probably has something to do with lifestyle and culture, including what one eats and how one eats it.

The good thing is that you can adopt healthy eating habits from countries all over the world and ditch some less-wholesome practices on where they come from. Note that these eating habits come from traditional diets found in the respective country. However, with globalization, some eating habits and foods have spread around the world for better or for worse. For example, les steaks hachés definitely sounds like a typical food from French but no, it is actually the meaty part of Le Big Mac and not part of traditional cuisine.

Russian Eating Habits

A little research has been conducted in St. Petersburg about Russian eating habits. The result said that the majority of people see a proper meal heavily in terms of nutrition and health, but unfortunately, have no regular access to it. It means that even though Russian people understand the definitions of what constitutes healthy eating habits, they still fail to live up to it on a daily basis.

Eating habits in Russia have been shaped by one major factor: the extreme climate. With Russia’s long, bleak winters and, extremely low temperatures that can go as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in some rural areas, Russian people turn to food that is mainly based on long-lasting cold weather crops, and traditional foods are dense with fats and carbohydrates. The typical Russian foods contain less fresh produce and instead, include more saturated fat and sodium.

For newcomer in Russia: learn their common habits of eating below to ripe some healthy benefits.

Wholesome Breakfast

Russian breakfast contains whole grains which are high in protein. Common dishes served for breakfast include toast, a hot buckwheat porridge called kasha, and open-faced sandwiches complete with ham, eggs, sausage or cheese. The bread is usually prepared from ground whole wheat, barley, buckwheat or rye and is often spread with butter or fruit jam.

The fruit is barely served for regular breakfast since the fresh product is difficult to afford in many parts of Russia. If you are having your first Russian-style breakfast, make sure to skip the processed and cured meats and go for a boiled egg served with bread or porridge instead.

Late Lunch

Russian lunch is the greatest meal of a typical Russian’s day and is served a little bit later than in most Western countries, which is around 2:00 P.M. Russian lunch originally consists of three courses. The first course is a serving of hot soup. The second course is fish or roasted meat accompanied by bread and vegetables such as turnips or cabbages. The third course is centered on a hot beverage such as coffee or Russian tea and may be paired with a dessert.


If you are having your first Russian-style lunch, make sure to choose roasted fish with whole-grain bread instead of potatoes, and a broth-based soup which is rich in vegetables like borscht.

Refreshing Dinner

Russian dinner usually begins with a various selection of appetizers called zakuski. These appetizers can range from salads to pickled vegetables to bread with cheese. Russian salads usually contain cooked eggs, potatoes, and vegetables mixed with a mayonnaise-based dressing.

If you are having your first Russian-style dinner and aim for the healthiest zakuski, make sure to look for smoked fish or selodka which is herring tossed with oil and vinegar. Dinner may be served with sweetened Russian tea and, possibly, a dessert.

Late Evening Snack

In Russia, dinner might end with a final serving of Russian tea or coffee enjoyed as late as 10 P.M. These hot drinks are traditionally served out of a samovar and can be paired with desserts such as chocolates, cake, or cooked fruit.

If you are having your first Russian-style evening snack, make sure to keep your calorie intake under control by drinking Russian tea or coffee without any added sugar. Instead, you can pick a fruit-based dessert and pay attention to the size.


Attitudes to Foods

There are three major trends in foods in Russia:

  1. Convenient: Convenience foods mean they are ready to eat. Outdoors eating and food delivery play a big role in Russian everyday life, specifically in big cities due to higher incomes. Most Russian women are working a full day and do not have enough time to cook home-made dishes so they often opt for delivery.
  2. Healthy: Russian people are deeply concerned with their health, and therefore, refuse to eat fat, high-calorie food and prefer stew and boil instead of fry when cooking. They also avoid products that have a lot of cholesterol, food additives, and preservatives. They always aim to eat natural and fresh products that contain vitamins and mineral additives.
  3. Interesting: The popularity of other countries’ dishes and traditions grow rapidly in Russia. Firstly, Russian people borrow those dishes that use similar ingredients such as dishes from Balkans, French, Italian, and German. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian dishes are very popular in Russia as well.

Food as a Tool to Engage

Food can be used as a media to keep up with family, friends or colleagues at work. It is a good occasion to spend time and eat together in a good company. At the same time, communication contributes extra value to the foods. The foods seem to be a lot more delicious and the eating practice becomes more relaxed and pleasurable.

For newcomer in Russia: learn their common habits of eating above to have a better understanding of Russian eating customs. Some of the habits may seem strange and foreign to you, but the familiarity of its purpose will surely benefit you.

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