The average grocery store sells 38,718 items. Like many shoppers, I usually buy the same 30 or so things every week, ignoring the other 38,688 options. Some of those options are just, well, weird. Millet? What’s that? Turkey neck? Gross. Chicken liver? No thanks, grandpa. But recently I’d spoken to nutrition experts who told me that varying the foods you eat can be good for your health. So I decided to take a closer look at all of those weird foods I’d never dream of eating. Should I try them? I wondered. Just how many different foods should I be eating in a week, anyway?
Turns out the answer is 35, according to Nancy Clark, registered dietician and author of “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.” Eating a diverse array of healthy foods means you’re taking in more nutrients from different types of fibers, fats, phytonutrients, plant nutrients, vitamins and minerals, says sports dietician Leslie Bonci, author of “Sport Nutrition for Coaches.” And nutrition consultant Pamela Nisevich Bede of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat recommends “eating the rainbow,” which I assumed meant fresh foods and not Skittles. So while the foods seem kinda odd to me—and to our nutritional experts, none of whom copped to eating them—they can deliver benefits you might not currently be getting in your diet.