Coming right after a month filled with sugar and all things sweet, November is appropriately christened “Good Nutrition Month.” Before you fall into melancholy at the passing away of confectionery goodness, take a moment to consider that there is no shortage of odd and unique healthy foods you can use to spice things up.
1) Dragon Fruit: True to its name, this fruit has a bright pink outer skin and green scales. Also known as “Pitaya,” it is native to Central and South America. A good source of fiber and vitamin C, it has a light, pear-like flavor with crunchy black seeds like a kiwi. In spite of its exoticness, this fruit is easy to prepare: just chop it in half and scoop it out with a spoon or cut it into pieces and add to a summer salad.
2) Kiwano Melon: Known as the “horned melon,” this fruit looks like something that an alien from outer space would eat. It actually grows a bit closer to home, in Southern Africa, California and New Zealand. Its vivid yellow exterior encases a bright green jelly-like substance with edible seeds. The flavor is a citrusy mix of cucumber, lime and banana.
3) Cherimoya: A heart-shaped fruit from South America that Mark Twain described as “deliciousness itself,” this fruit combines the flavors of banana and pineapple. Also referred to as a “custard apple,” its creamy interior contrasts to its rough skin. To taste it for yourself, check out Aquafina’s tropical Cherimoya-flavored water.
4) Kohlrabi: A cousin of cabbage and broccoli, this turnip-like root vegetable is light green- or purple-and-white-stripped. It has a crisp flavor reminiscent of apples and radishes, making it a good addition to salads. This vegetable is packed with vitamin C and potassium, as well as cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
5) Yerba Maté: This strangely-named tea promotes cell survival even more than red wine or green tea, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. It contains the same mood elevator and muscle relaxant found in chocolate.
6) Cocoa Nibs: These roasted bits of cocoa beans are loaded with antioxidants. They are a great addition to cookies or smoothies, and you can grind them up with your coffee for added flavor.
7) Amaranth: This is a peppery, high-protein grain that has a higher fiber content than wheat. It is also filled with nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C.
So, next time you visit your local grocery store, take a stroll and see what kinds of strange healthy food you can find—you never know what you could end up liking.