We live in a society obsessed with fad diets and health crazes – there’s no doubt about it. Each day we hear about a new food or a diet that can help us live longer and be healthier than ever.
But, as we know, many “old-fashioned” foods are incredibly healthy yet no longer popular. From kale to acai berries and other superfoods, other traditional foods are considered “unsexy” and “boring.”
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many foods that we deem as “unsexy” are actually loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and lots of protein and fiber.
Just because they aren’t as appealing as smoothies and vitamin waters doesn’t mean that they should be completely forgotten about.
So, here are 10 “unsexy” foods that you should definitely still be eating.
10 “Unsexy” Foods You Should Still Be Eating
Even though kale gets all the love these days, spinach is also incredibly healthy. You can have it both cooked and raw, so it makes for a perfect veggie side dish for your dinner as well as a base for salads.
Spinach is also incredibly nutrient-dense and low in calories. One cup of cooked spinach provides you with 17% of your daily need for fiber, which many people don’t get enough of.
This leafy green is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, iron, magnesium, and so many other important nutrients that your body requires to stay healthy.
In addition, these vitamins and minerals boost your immune system, so you’ll be less likely to catch viral infections.
Just like all veggies, spinach is a great source of antioxidants. These compounds flush out free radicals from your body, preventing oxidative damage to your cells. So by eating spinach, you lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
So, while currently, kale gets all the hype, try switching to spinach for a while to get the wonderful benefits of this type of leafy green.
Oatmeal has been a staple breakfast food for years but thinking about eating it now makes a lot of us uneasy.
While breakfast smoothie bowls and protein shakes are great, they don’t replace a good old-fashioned whole grain.
One cup of cooked instant oats gives you 4 g of fiber, which is a great amount that can help curb your appetite, manage your weight, and feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria.
This whole grain is also a wonderful source of iron, magnesium, and manganese, which are all minerals that help keep your immune system and bones healthy.
And if you think that oatmeal has to be boring, you’re wrong. Try cooking it with milk of your choice and top it with fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds for added nutrition and flavor.
Once you try it, you will never go back to other breakfast options.
3. Chicken breast
Chicken breast is yet another kind of food that’s considered “unsexy.” But if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, you should definitely include it in your diet.
Chicken breast, and chicken in general, is incredibly nutritious. Just half of a cooked chicken breast provides you with 28.8 g of protein, which is 58% of your daily need for this nutrient.
It’s also an excellent source of niacin and phosphorus, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
This meat is also very nutrient-dense and low in calories. Because of that, chicken can be a great addition to a diet aimed at weight loss, as you’ll be fuller quicker, and you’ll take in fewer calories than from other high-fat kinds of meat.
There’s a wide range of ways you can prepare and cook chicken breast to make it more appealing. For example, try roasting it instead of frying it for added flavor.
You can also marinate it a day before to get all the herbs and sauces into the meat.
Plain yogurt may not be the most exciting food, but it’s actually a pretty nutritious, low-calorie snack. When going for yogurt, try choosing plain varieties, as these are lower in sugar.
One cup of regular yogurt contains around 149 calories and 17% of your daily need for protein. It’s also a great source of riboflavin, calcium, and phosphorus.
Because of that, eating yogurt and other dairy products can prevent various bone-related diseases.
Studies also show that eating full-fat yogurt can improve digestion thanks to the probiotics it contains. So, don’t be afraid to include it in your diet.
Beans are often considered an overrated food. But they’re actually packed with nutrients. For example, one cup of canned kidney beans contains a lot of riboflavin, folate, iron, and potassium.
All types of beans are also great sources of protein, especially for those who follow a plant-based diet. The same serving of kidney beans contains 27% of your daily need for protein, which is a great amount.
There’s no shortage of ways to prepare kidney beans: serve them with rice, add them to soups or stews, and eat them as a side dish. You can also improvise and create your own dish.
Many of us stopped eating apples when we reached adulthood. But that’s definitely a mistake.
Apples are a rich source of fiber called pectin. This fiber can’t be digested, so once it reaches your stomach, it feeds the ‘good’ gut bacteria found in it. As a result, eating apples can help you avoid digestive system issues.
In addition, apples are loaded with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and even vitamin K, which can help with disease prevention and overall health.
When eating apples, make sure to have them with skin on, as most nutrients are found directly underneath and in it.
Just like beans, lentils are often overlooked. It’s a shame since they’re a great source of protein, giving you 36% of your daily need for this nutrient in a one-cup serving.
So, those on plant-based diets can benefit from adding lentils to their diets.
Lentils are also an excellent source of folate, manganese, and phosphorus as iron. Together, all of these nutrients help keep you healthy and boost your immune system.
What’s more, mineral deficiencies are common, so eating lentils can help prevent them.
Another great thing about lentils is how easy they are to add to any diet. They can be boiled, stir-fried, and even added to soups, enhancing the flavor and nutritional profile.
So, make sure to have some every once in a while.
8. Canned tuna
Canned tuna is not only cheap and easily accessible but also incredibly nutritious. Firstly, it’s a great source of protein, containing 85% of your daily need for protein in a one-cup serving. Because of that, it can be a great replacement for meat.
Fish like tuna also contains a lot of vitamin D and vitamin K, which are fat-soluble. So, if you get these vitamins from food containing healthy fats, you’re increasing the absorption of these nutrients.
Tuna, both fresh and canned, is also high in selenium, phosphorus, and iron, so you can load up on these nutrients by eating this delicious fish.
Whether you eat them soft-boiled, hard-boiled, fried, or poached, eggs are definitely an “unsexy” food that we have to make “sexy” again.
One large egg is a source of 6.3 g of protein, which is around 13% of how much you need per day. It also contains a large amount of riboflavin, phosphorus, and selenium.
Research also shows that eating eggs can help you lose weight. This is because eggs are rich in protein and healthy fat that both prevent overeating by curbing your appetite. So, eggs might be a great part of a weight loss-friendly diet.
It’s also worth noting that even though eggs are high in cholesterol, eating them won’t raise the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body. So, having eggs in moderation isn’t linked with heart disease.
A list of “unsexy” foods that are good for you wouldn’t be complete without plain water.
These days, everyone is obsessed with vitamin waters, smoothies, electrolyte drinks, and other beverages.
While they are good for you in moderation, they often contain a lot of sugar and don’t hydrate you the way they should.
Plain water helps you maintain a good fluid balance in your body, improves your energy levels, and prevents serious dehydration. So, it’s important to get at least 11.5 cups of water a day.
If you struggle with drinking enough water, try infusing it with lemon slices, mint, or fresh fruit. That way, you’re still getting your daily required amount but having some flavor.
Even though many foods are considered “unsexy,” you should still include them in your diet. Just because some foods aren’t fancy doesn’t mean they don’t provide you with important nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
The ten foods mentioned above should definitely come back in style. So, make sure to add them to your cart next time you’re grocery shopping.
I’ve been interested in food for many years, and nutrition is my passion. From cooking healthy meals to educating myself on the health benefits of food products, there’s nothing that I don’t enjoy writing and learning about.