As parents to three lively little ones, we strive to nourish our family with wholesome and appealing foods. But let’s be honest, some healthy foods just miss the mark.
We’ve all been there, whether it’s a texture that makes you gag, a flavor that sends your taste buds into a tizzy, or just a general “yuck” factor.
In this article, we’re diving into the world of 13 healthy foods that many of us are inclined to pass up.
Join us as we tackle these nutritional powerhouses head-on, proving that healthy doesn’t have to mean unappetizing!
First we will explain why healthy food doesn’t taste good Then we will get into 13 healthy foods that people refuse eat.
We’ll explain why people don’t like them, why they are healthy, and offer tricks to make them taste a little better.
Table of Contents
Why Does Healthy Food Taste Bad?
So, why does healthy food taste bad? Understanding why healthy food often doesn’t taste good to many people involves a mix of biology, habit, and technology.
Our taste preferences are significantly influenced by what we’re used to eating. Foods high in salt, sugar, and fat are generally more palatable because they appeal to our basic taste preferences, which evolved as survival mechanisms.
Over time, these preferences can overshadow the subtle flavors of healthier options.
However, it’s not always true that healthy food doesn’t taste good. It’s often a matter of acclimation. As we reduce our salt and sugar intake, our taste buds adapt, allowing us to appreciate the natural flavors of foods more.
The key is giving our palate time to adjust to these new flavors.
Historically, the quality of vegetables suffered due to preservation methods. Canned or traditionally frozen vegetables often lost texture and flavor, contributing to their unpopularity.
Luckily, advancements in technology have greatly improved the quality of preserved vegetables. Flash-freezing, for instance, retains the crispness and taste of vegetables much better than traditional methods, making them more appealing and closer to their fresh counterparts.
This technological shift is gradually changing perceptions of healthy foods, showcasing that they can be both nutritious and delicious.
With that out of the way, let’s get into 13 healthy foods, that most people think are gross.
1. Brussels Sprouts: The Misunderstood Mini Cabbages
Imagine tiny, adorable cabbages packed with nutrients yet so often unfairly maligned. Brussels sprouts have a bad rap primarily due to past trauma from soggy, overcooked sides served at family dinners.
The secret to loving these little greens is roasting them to crispy perfection or shaving them raw into a vibrant salad. They transform into a delicious dish that surprises many.
- Health Benefits: High in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Bitterness, past experiences of being poorly cooked.
- Tips for Improvement: Roasting with a touch of olive oil and spices, incorporating into flavorful dishes.
- Recommendation: Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Maple Syrup And Soy Sauce Recipe
2. Beets: Earth’s Sweet Gems
Beets, with their deep crimson hue, are like buried treasures of the earth. Their earthy flavor, a sweet reminder of the soil they came from, can be off-putting for some.
However, when roasted, their sweetness intensifies, making them a delightful addition to salads. Or try them in a smoothie, where their flavor mellows, yet their color brightens up your glass.
- Health Benefits: Beets are nutrient-dense, rich in fiber, folate, and manganese. Their high nitrate content may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Their earthy flavor and tendency to stain can deter some people.
- Tips for Improvement: Roasting brings out their natural sweetness. They can also be juiced or grated raw into salads. Pairing beets with goat cheese or citrus can balance their earthiness.
3. Kale: The Leafy Green Superstar
Kale, a curly leafy green, has been the poster child of health foods for years. Its slightly bitter taste and tough texture can be daunting.
But here’s the thing, when you drizzle those leaves with a bit of olive oil, they transform into a tender, tasty salad base. Or bake them into chips for a crunchy snack that even kids adore.
- Health Benefits: Kale is a nutrient powerhouse, high in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and antioxidants.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its tough texture and slightly bitter taste.
- Tips for Improvement: Massaging kale with a bit of olive oil softens its texture for salads. Baking them into crispy chips or blending them in smoothies can also be enjoyable.
- Recommendation: Baked Kale Recipe with Mozzarella or Bread Crumbs and
4. Liver: The Nutrient Powerhouse
Liver isn’t typically found on trendy restaurant menus, but it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Its strong, distinct flavor and unique texture aren’t for the faint of heart.
But when cooked with onions and herbs or transformed into a smooth, rich pâté, it becomes a delicacy that nourishes as much as it delights.
- Health Benefits: Liver is incredibly nutritious, rich in vitamin A, iron, and essential amino acids.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its strong taste and texture are not universally liked.
- Tips for Improvement: Soaking liver in milk before cooking can mellow its flavor. Preparing it with caramelized onions or incorporating it into pates or spreads can also make it more palatable.
5. Sardines: The Tiny Fish with Big Benefits
Sardines might remind you of canned goods your grandparents kept in the pantry. These small fish are bursting with omega-3s and vitamin D.
The key to enjoying sardines is to mix them with bright flavors like lemon and herbs. Try them on toast or tossed in a pasta dish – they’re a game changer!
- Health Benefits: Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Their strong fishy taste and canned presentation.
- Tips for Improvement: Mixing sardines with lemon juice and herbs can enhance flavor. They can be added to pasta and salads or made into fish cakes.
6. Tofu: The Chameleon of Foods
Tofu, a block of soybean curd, is often mocked as the epitome of bland health food. But it’s a chameleon, absorbing the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with.
Marinated and grilled, it’s a delicious protein-packed addition to any meal. Blended into smoothies, it adds creaminess without overpowering other ingredients.
- Health Benefits: Tofu is a great source of protein, calcium, and iron, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its bland taste and unfamiliar texture.
- Tips for Improvement: Marinating tofu before cooking can infuse flavor. Using it in spicy or savory stir-fries, or blending it in smoothies can make it more appealing.
7. Seaweed: From Ocean to Plate
Seaweed might make you think of the ocean’s depths rather than a tasty dish. Yet, this marine vegetable is a treasure trove of iodine and nutrients.
Crispy seaweed snacks are a revelation, and adding it to soups or salads introduces an umami flavor that’s hard to replicate.
- Health Benefits: Seaweed is rich in iodine, essential for thyroid function, and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its distinct ocean-like flavor and slippery texture.
- Tips for Improvement: Adding seaweed to soups, sushi rolls, or using it as a salad ingredient can be a great start. Toasted seaweed snacks are also a tasty option.
8. Fermented Foods: The Flavorful Probiotics
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut can be a hard sell with their strong, sour flavors. But they’re probiotic powerhouses, great for your gut.
Incorporated into dishes as a condiment, they add a tangy, flavorful punch that can elevate a simple meal.
- Health Benefits: They are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health and digestion.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Their sour and pungent taste can be unfamiliar to many.
- Tips for Improvement: Using them as condiments or side dishes can gradually introduce their flavors. Mixing into sandwiches or salads can also be enjoyable.
9. Chia Seeds: The Tiny Seeds with Mighty Powers
Chia seeds are like little specks of magic, packed with omega-3s and fiber. They can be off-putting when they swell up into a gelatinous texture.
But when used in puddings or sprinkled over yogurt, they add a delightful crunch and are a nutrition booster.
- Health Benefits: These tiny seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: When soaked, they take on a gelatinous texture that might not appeal to everyone.
- Tips for Improvement: Adding them to yogurt or oatmeal, making chia puddings, or sprinkling them over salads can be great ways to enjoy their benefits.
- Recommendation: Easy and Healthy Strawberry Chia Pudding Parfait Recipe
10. Quinoa: The Ancient Grain of the Future
Quinoa, a pseudo-cereal, is often overlooked for more familiar grains. Its subtle, nutty flavor and unique texture can make it an interesting culinary adventure. We use it instead of rice often.
Cooked in vegetable broth and tossed in a salad or served as a side, it’s a delicious way to pack in proteins and fibers.
- Health Benefits: Quinoa is a complete protein source and is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its bland flavor and the unfamiliarity with cooking it.
- Tips for Improvement: Cooking quinoa in vegetable broth can add flavor. It can also be added to salads, soups, or used as a rice alternative.
- Recommendation: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Casserole Recipe and Quinoa Recipes: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl of Protein.
11. Tempeh: The Fermented Wonder
Tempeh, a fermented soy product, might seem intimidating with its dense texture and nutty flavor. However, when marinated and cooked right, it transforms into a flavorful, protein-rich addition to any meal.
- Health Benefits: Tempeh is a great protein, fiber, and prebiotic source.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its intense flavor and firm texture.
- Tips for Improvement: Marinating tempeh before cooking can enhance its taste. Using it in flavorful stir-fries can add a delightful twist. It can also be crumbled into salads or sandwiches.
12. Turmeric: The Golden Spice
Turmeric, known for its vibrant color and health benefits, especially its anti-inflammatory properties, can be intimidating with its strong flavor.
But mixed into curries, added to smoothies, or as a key ingredient in golden milk, it brings warmth and healing properties to your diet.
- Health Benefits: Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, largely due to its active compound, curcumin.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its strong flavor and tendency to stain.
- Tips for Improvement: Adding turmeric to curries, soups, or smoothies can be beneficial. Pairing it with black pepper enhances its absorption. It can also be used in making golden milk, a popular health drink.
13. Eggplant: The Emoji Is More Popular Than The Food 🍆
Eggplant can be a tricky vegetable to love due to its potential bitterness and spongy texture. But when prepared creatively, it becomes a culinary star.
Think roasted to perfection, transformed into creamy baba ganoush, or grilled to smoky goodness. It’s all about embracing the versatility of this purple wonder.
- Health Benefits: Eggplant is high in fiber, antioxidants, and contains several essential nutrients.
- Common Reasons for Avoidance: Its potential bitterness and texture when not cooked properly.
- Tips for Improvement: Salting and rinsing eggplant can reduce bitterness. Roasting, grilling, or making it into dips like baba ganoush are delicious ways to enjoy eggplant.
13 Healthy Foods Most People Refuse To Eat – Video
We created this video of the foods most people think are gross even though they are healthy. In the video, we share more tips to make the foods taste better.
Each of these foods brings a unique set of nutrients and health benefits to the table.
The key to incorporating them into your diet is to experiment with different recipes and cooking methods. It’s important to remember that developing a taste for these foods can take time, and gradual introduction paired with flavorful recipes can make a significant difference.
By embracing these nutritious foods, you can diversify your diet and enjoy the full spectrum of flavors and health benefits they offer.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.