9 Unpopular Foods and Why You Should Start Eating Them

We all know that the secret to achieving a healthy bod is to eat a variety of different foods, but does that “healthy variety” ever feel limited to you? If so, we feel you! It can be difficult to stay interested in munching on the same old lean meats and greens that so many diets prescribe.

That’s why you should open your mind up to the vast world of “unpopular” foods and ingredients. These 9 items may not have been on your grandmother’s dinner table when you were growing up, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t nourish your body AND your tastebuds!

  1. Prune Pudding

    Unless you lived through the Great Depression, chances are you’ve never had the pleasure of sampling prune pudding, a sumptuous dessert that was said to be a favorite of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. While this isn’t necessarily a treat that’s low on the glycemic index, it is chock-full of fiber, Vitamin B6, and potassium. Nutrious and delicious? A win-win!

  2. Scoby

    Stop making that face! Sure, Scoby may look like a mixture of gelatinous bologna and a blobfish, but that doesn’t mean you should poo-poo it!. Especially considering that this is the stuff that makes the drink du jour of the Whole Foods crowd— kombucha.

    So, how do you eat it, exactly? Well, you can cut it up into small squares and put it on your salad, throw it over rice for a meat-free chirashi bowl, or even blend it up in a smoothie! You can grow your own scoby by combining water, sugar, tea and store-bought kombucha mix. When your scoby mushroom is fully mature, it will be comprised of live bacteria and yeast that does wonders for the tummy. Good to know!

  3. Heirloom Apples

    You can’t call yourself a genuine apple lover if you haven’t tried at least one heirloom apple!

    This special category is comprised of hundreds of different varieties that are no longer widely grown. Now, you won’t find heirlooms next to your Pink Ladies at your local supermarket—they simply don’t have the popularity or following to make it onto the big shelves. This means that it may take you some calling around to local orchards to score a bushel of these blasts from the pasts!

  4. Heritage Meats

    Meat from heritage breeds, like the Red Poll cow shown above, is, for mostly economic reasons, not the easiest to nab at your local supermarket.

    Breeds that fall into the “heritage” category are animals that were specifically bred to thrive in the climate in which they were raised and, before factory farming took control of the meat industry, this is the livestock that most Americans ate. These days, specialized butchers carry heritage meats in all varieties, including beef, poultry, and swine. It may cost you a bit more, but you’ll rest easy knowing that you are helping to keep an age-old farming practice alive!

  5. Oily Fish

    Though it’s consumed in many other parts of the world, Americans have never gotten hip to indulging in oily fish like mackerel, anchovies, or sardines.

    They might be a little salty for some, but these types of fish are considered superfoods for their high levels of vitamin D, protein, and selenium. As a bonus, research shows that eating 2 servings per week can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Not bad for a fish that comes in a can, huh?

  6. Liver and Onions

    Back in the day, liver and onions was a popular traditional meal that could be seen on the menu of most diners, but nowadays folks turn their noses up at the prospect of eating organ meats.

    While we agree that it’s not necessarily the most appetizing meal in the world, you can’t ignore the fact that liver is one of the most nutrition-packed foods around— it has more B12 than you need in a day and is also rich in protein, zinc, copper, iron, and vitamin C. Just sauté it up with some diced onions, and you’ll turn into a liver-eater in no time!

  7. Nutritional Yeast

    Nutritional yeast, a seasoning sourced from whey or blackstrap molasses, is a must for those who are looking to either cut back on dairy or do away with fatty butter and other artery-clogging seasonings.

    What we love about it is that it’s a great source of vitamin B— in fact, just half a tablespoon will offer you your full dose of B vitamins for the day. The best part is that nutritional yeast has a warm, cheesy flavor that tastes great sprinkled over veggies, pasta, and legumes. A nutritious comfort food? Yes, please!

  8. Marmite

    Marmite is a staple overseas, but it never gained popularity here in the States. Full disclosure: it might have something to do with the fact that its super-strong, metallic-y taste is not for everyone! That said, the ingredient makes for a very nice spread that is chock-full of B vitamins and folic acid. Worth a try, indeed!

  9. Kohlrabi

    Never heard of a kohlrabi before? If so, don’t feel bad. Though it’s been widely-consumed in Europe since the 16th-century, it never gained a following here in the States.

    So, what makes kohlrabi so special? Well, for starters, it tastes great either raw or cooked— you can even eat its leaves in a salad. In terms of nutrition, the kohlrabi contains just 24 calories, but a whopping 5.5 grams of protein per half-cup serving. Certainly not bad for a veggie!

We’d love to hear your take on these unpopular foods. Do you eat any of them regularly? If so, do you have any advice on how to serve it in a dish? Do you have any other healthy, uncommon foods you would like to share?