Inquisitive, open and adventurous is not how it’s best to describe the eating habits of most men. The idea of eating something different ends up being a little more than using ground turkey instead of beef for a batch of burgers or opting to top breakfast oatmeal with raspberries instead of blueberries. Wow, look you mister courageous eater. You can and should start thinking beyond the pork chop and brown rice and dive into more nutritious and delicious ingredients.

Branching out into a new edible territory brings with it some notable benefits. Not only will embracing a handful of unfamiliar foods shake your taste buds out of their coma, but they also bring with them a whole new set of culinary possibilities. Adding more variety to your menu will also help you load up on a greater diversity of nutrients and bioactive compounds to support your health. Researchers at Harvard and New York University found that people who include a greater variety of healthy foods in their daily menu tend to be less pudgy. And don’t forget that packing your day with exciting new tastes makes it easier and more satisfying to stick to a better-body diet. Hungry for beef heart and sorghum, yet?

Start with these fresh picks that just might be the healthiest foods you aren’t eating. Hopefully, that is about to change.

5 Nutritious and Delicious Foods You Should Try Now

Nutritious and Delicious Watercress in a glass bowl
Brent Hofacker


Move over kale, this is the supergreen you should be eating a lot more of, even if it’s sometimes considered just a weed. According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that examined 17 different nutrient markers (i.e., folate, zinc, potassium, and calcium) of 41 different vegetables and fruits including spinach, blueberries, and broccoli, watercress scored the highest among them in terms of its “nutrient density” score (a perfect 100 score). The nutrient density score was based on the levels of nutrients per 100 calories of the food.  That means adding watercress, which is part of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables that also includes kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, to your salads will give you a range of nutrients for very little calorie cost. Watercress is especially rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that can benefit heart and bone health.

Its small, round leaves and edible stems have a peppery, slightly spicy flavor that can jazz up salads. You can also add it to soups, blend it into “green” smoothies, use it as a green in pesto, or add a handful to any sandwich. If you can’t find watercress at your normal supermarket look for the green giant at Asian grocers.

John Carey / Getty

Hemp Seeds

They won’t give you the munchies, but they will give you a big dose of nutrition. Yes, hemp seeds fly high nutritionally. Also called hemp hearts, these tender seeds that taste like a lovechild of pine nuts and sunflower seeds are a good source of complete plant-based protein – about 10 grams in 3 tablespoon serving. That is more muscle-making protein than most of the common nuts and seeds that Americans are eating. Another nutritional highlight is the notable amounts of omega-3 fat. An analysis of data from 41 studies published in The BMJ linked a high intake of alpha-linolenic acid, the type of omega-3 found in hemp, to a 10% lower risk of all-cause mortality, an 8% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and an 11% reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, compared with lower consumption levels. Hemp seeds are also a source of several must-have micronutrients including magnesium, iron, thiamine and phosphorus.

Getting your fill of hemp seeds is as easy as sprinkling them on soups, yogurt, oatmeal and salads. You can also blend them into protein shakes. Health food sections of supermarkets is a good place to find these nutritional heroes or source them online from  Manitobaharvest.

A bowl of nutritious and healthy Freekeh
Dina Saeed


No shade to rice and quinoa, but freekeh should be where it’s at. Freekeh is quite simply a type of wheat that’s harvested while young and green. Then, it’s roasted, and its shell is burned and rubbed off, which explains why the term “freekeh” is derived from the Arabic word “to rub.” With a nutty, smoky flavor think of it as the bacon of the whole grain world. The great flavor isn’t just what makes freekeh special, but also its nutrition pedigree.

Freekeh has more protein and twice as much fiber as quinoa, and three times as much fiber as brown rice.  One-half cup of cooked freekeh has about 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, which is seriously impressive for a grain. Because of its rather high amounts of protein, freekeh can be considered a viable source of plant-based protein which might be good news for your ticker. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found found replacing a small amount of animal proteins, such as meat and eggs, with plant-based proteins in the diet may reduce the risk for premature death overall and death from cardiovascular disease. What’s more, it delivers the same vision-protecting antioxidant duo lutein and zeaxanthin found in leafy greens.

It’s not the easiest grain to find in stores, but markets specializing in Middle Eastern fare are a safe bet for finding bags of freekeh. Or, of course, count on Amazon. To prepare it on the stovetop, you’ll need 2.5 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of dry freekeh. Bring water or broth to a boil on the stovetop, add freekeh, and simmer for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Use it as a stand-alone side dish or add the cooked grains to salads, burritos, and soups. For a sweet-savory snack, try sprinkling cooked freekeh and some pomegranate seeds over Greek yogurt. You can even try enjoying it as a breakfast porridge like you would steel-cut oats.

A spoonful of Nutritious and Delicious quark
Ivanna Pavliuk


Quark is a tricky dairy to pin down: Is it yogurt or cheese or something NASA scientists discovered? To make this dairy product, milk that has been soured via the addition of acid is warmed until it curdles and then is strained before bacterial strains are added to ferment the lactose further. Next, it’s continuously stirred to prevent hardening and to give quark its signature thick and smooth texture (and, hence, being so creamy and delicious). Technically, quark is a soft, spreadable cheese. However, because of its velvety texture, it’s more often compared to a thick yogurt, similar to Greek or Skyr. While it may be a relatively new addition to American supermarkets, it has long been a staple in German households. Its flavor is best described as mild and neither sweet nor sour, meaning it lacks the tangy aftertaste of yogurt that not everyone enjoys.

Quark has protein levels on par with Greek yogurt – about 15 grams in a cup – making it a muscle-maker, hunger-buster food. Being a fermented dairy, quark can also help fertilize your gut with a resupply of beneficial bacteria, which is good news for digestive, immune, and brain health. And if your tummy cries foul when faced with lactose, quark might be better tolerated since the fermentation process makes it lower in this dairy sugar than milk. Other nutritional perks include useful amounts of B vitamins, vitamin A, and bone-assisting calcium and vitamin D.

One of the most straightforward ways to eat quark is to spoon it up like you would yogurt for a protein-packed snack or breakfast, but the possibilities are nearly endless: blend into smoothies and dips, whisk into dressings, and spoon dollops onto baked potatoes, tacos, pancakes or even pizza.

Peppadew Peppers

Peppadew Peppers

Rosy Peppadews, which are a trademarked name for piquanté peppers, are cherry tomato-sized peppers hailing from South Africa with a habit-forming sweet flavor and subtle fiery kick. Ao eating them won’t cause you to break out in a sweat. Bland red bell peppers these are not. This low-calorie diminutive Capsicum cultivar provides a good amount of vitamin C like other peppers as well as the plant chemical compound capsaicin which is responsible for any heat you feel in your mouth. Interestingly, consumption of capsaicin was associated with changes in the gut microbial structure that increased microbial diversity and short-chain fatty acids abundance, according to a study in the journal Nutrients. These changes to the microbiome may be responsible for some of the health benefits such as a lower risk of death from heart disease associated with consuming capsaicin.

You can sometimes find the peppers sold loosely in the deli section of grocers or more often preserved in jars and sold alongside other specialty foods like olives and artichoke hearts. Drain the peppers and use them to top salads, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and wraps to punch up the flavor. Whirl them into dips like hummus to add a new flavor dimension. They are also great for stuffing with items like goat cheese or ricotta as a way to up your party appetizer game. The leftover pickling brine can also be used to add sweet, tangy flavor to salad dressings and marinades.