If you’re getting tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day (or carrot sticks and almonds if you’re on a diet) then maybe, it’s time to add a little pizzazz to your meals. Just because a food is unusual doesn’t mean it tastes bad. And just because you’ve never heard of it, doesn’t mean it’s not good for you.

Fruits and Vegetables

You may have used one in the shower this morning, but have you ever eaten a loofah? No, of course, you haven’t, but it’s never too late to try something new. Loofah (also called luffa gourds) are in the same family as cucumbers but taste more like squash or zucchini. They can be stewed, steamed, fried, or eaten raw. Eat them young and don’t let them dry out because then they are only good for exfoliation.

Are you looking for the nutrition and taste of a smoothie all in one fruit? Look no further than the lightly sweet flavored jackfruit, largest of the tree fruits. An open jackfruit is sectioned like a big sticky grapefruit that can be eaten raw or cooked in either sweet or savory recipes. Its most unusual use is that of meat replacement in tacos or even as vegan jerky. If you can’t find jackfruit at your supermarket in the summer, look for it with the canned foods.

There is more than one way to get your fruits and veggies, and if an apple a day isn’t doing it for you, consider trying a red superfood powder that is packed with all the good stuff nature has to offer without the hassle of having to peel anything. Just put a couple of scoops in a cold glass of water and you have set yourself up with a high energy drink that also boosts your metabolism and strengthens your immune system.  

Proteins

The yuck factor aside, cricket powder is a new and emerging market (based on an ancient food source) that uses crickets as an edible and sustainable protein source. Cricket powder can be baked into brownies, scooped into smoothies and stirred into eggs anytime you need a protein boost. If you like the environmental positives of eating crickets, you might eventually branch out into spicy flavored larvae bites or roasted mealworms (or maybe not).

If you’ve always wondered whether or not head cheese was actually cheese, but you were too afraid to ask, your instincts were good because it’s definitely not cheese. Head cheese is a collagen-rich cold cut that is made up of usually the heads (but sometimes the feet) of pigs (and sometimes calves). It’s a lunch meat like salami or a stand-alone meat like sausage. Many on the paleo diet believe in its tissue healing qualities because of its high collagen content.

Diary

Usually drinking tea involves choosing between adding lemon or milk and sugar, but if you want to make your tea more substantial, try adding butter and salt. If you don’t have a yak to make this Tibetan style tea the traditional way, you can use black tea and regular butter from the grocery store. This hearty soup-like drink provides fat and calories essential to keeping up your energy in a cold climate. As a bonus, the butter also adds moisture to chapped lips and is said to aid digestion. Butter tea may be an acquired taste, but then so is beer and red wine and nobody blinks an eye when you pour up a glass of either of those.

Having an adventurous palette is the sign of a true sophisticate. If you start exploring food a little out of your comfort zone, you’re sure to find something that enriches and expands your diet and tastes good to boot. Challenge yourself to add one new food to your diet every couple of months and before you know it, you may have discovered a whole new way to live and eat.