When you live with picky eaters – whether they are your children, your spouse, or maybe even yourself – you have to get creative with how you introduce different foods into your meals. Eating a variety of foods can be fun when you turn it into a game. We decided to try a new food from A to Z, and created this list of foods to have options to choose from. Here is our list of 18 foods that start with A, including fruits, vegetables, and other fun things to eat!
Why eat foods from every letter of the alphabet?
When you step outside of your food comfort zone, you have the opportunity to discover a new food that you never knew you could enjoy. There are so many foods that we haven’t tried, for various reasons – because our parents never cooked them, they weren’t available in our area, they are popular foods in different cultures, or just because we didn’t know they existed!
Trying different foods, especially fruits and vegetables, can provide our bodies with a variety of nutrients that we wouldn’t normally have. It can also get us out of the “what’s for dinner” rut when we get bored of eating the same old things over and over again.
These food lists are also great when teaching the alphabet, or when looking for a fun food for show and tell day at school!
If you’re looking for a little flavor in the kitchen, or a way to spice up your life, try one – or all! – of these foods that start with the letter A.
Vegetables that start with A
Acorn squash is a winter squash shaped like a large acorn – which you might’ve guessed from the name. It’s similar to a butternut squash and has a bit of a nutty flavor. I use acorn squash in one of my favorite squash recipes with ground sausage and topped with an egg. Delicious!
Alfalfa, which means “the father of all foods,” is packed full of nutrients and has very little calories. Freshly germinated alfalfa seeds (people don’t typically eat the fully grown plant, just the sprouts) are great as an alternative to lettuce on sandwiches and salads.
Artichokes are a round vegetable (a thistle, actually) that come from the flower bud of the artichoke plant. Low in fat and high in fiber, artichokes loaded with vitamins and minerals. You don’t actually eat most of the artichoke – just the hearts inside.
Baby artichokes are smaller and are easier to prep for eating. Artichoke hearts are yummy when roasted on a sheet pan with chicken and halved tomatoes, or mixed into a creamy spinach dip.
If you’ve ever tasted a slightly peppery leafy green vegetable in a spring salad, that was probably arugula. Arugula is high in nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium. Mix it in with other greens for a tasty salad (or eat it on its own, if you prefer), or add to your sandwich for a flavor-filled meal.
Asparagus is a vegetable that resembles tiny green bamboo with a bit of a “head” on top. Full of nutrients and flavor, asparagus is delicious when roasted with a bit of olive oil and garlic or grilled with a squeeze of lemon juice. Try it on the grill in summer for a refreshing side dish!
Fruits that start with A
Açaí is a small, grape-sized purple berry that grows on the açaí palm tree. Açaí berries are full of antioxidants, and are a great source of vitamins and minerals. You can find them blended with other fruits in bottled juices, and they are delicious in fruit smoothies.
Apples are a popular fruit in the United States and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Some of our favorites are Pink Lady apples, Honeycrisp apples, Fuji apples, and Granny Smith apples. While some apples are delicious for snacking, others are better suited for baking into apple pie or other fun recipes like these apple critters.
Apricots are a small stone fruit that resembles a tiny orange peach. They can be eaten fresh or dried, and can be canned as well! About the size of a plum, apricots are native to East Asia but are very popular in America.
Avocados are stone fruit that have a dark flesh surrounding soft green interior that provides an excellent source of healthy fats. Avocados also have a variety of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and providing an excellent source of dietary fiber.
When selecting avocados, look for those that are slightly firm with just a bit of give when gently squeezed in your hand. Under the stem should be slightly green, as a brown stem can indicated an overripe avocado. Too firm, and it won’t be ready to mash into delicious guacamole or spread over your morning toast.
Other foods that start with A
Ahi tuna – or yellowfin tuna, as it is also known – is a delicious fish that is very popular. It is used in raw fish dishes such as sushi or sashimi, and is also enjoyed in many baked or grilled recipes.
An excellent source of protein, ahi tuna is pretty low in fat. Ahi is packed with B vitamins and is full of other minerals as well.
In the traditional sense, aioli is an oil-based garlicky sauce that is emulsified and used in recipes. It is quite similar to mayonnaise, and is occasionally (in some areas) actually a fancy mayo sauce that is mixed with garlic and other seasonings.
Aioli is often paired with chicken or fish, but I’ve experienced a delicious steak drizzled with aioli – and you definitely have to try it yourself.
Albacore is longfin tuna is the tuna you commonly find in canned white tuna and tuna steaks at the grocery store (along with chunk light tuna, which is a little different). An excellent source of protein, albacore tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Alfredo is a heavy white sauce that is made with butter, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese – along with garlic, salt, and other seasonings. An Italian-based recipe, Alfredo is often used in pasta dishes, such as fettuccini Alfredo.
Alfredo sauce is very high in fat and can be bothersome to those with dairy sensitivity, so I recommend being cautious of how much you eat if you’re trying it for the first time.
Almonds are nuts (seeds) from the almond tree. They can be eaten raw (my personal preference) or roasted and salted. Almonds are also used to make almond milk, which is a great non-dairy alternative.
Almonds are a popular ingredient in many chocolate bars, such as the Almond Joy. It adds a nice crunch to that sweet treat!
Chopped or sliced almonds add a bit of texture when added on top of steamed green beans or a delicious salmon salad. Try some Sriracha or wasabi almonds for a crunchy flavor explosion!
Almond butter is a tasty nut butter spread that can be used in place of peanut butter. Some people think almond butter is healthier than peanut butter, but there isn’t that much of a nutritional difference.
If you are following a paleo diet, almond butter is compliant while peanut butter is not (since peanuts are legumes).
Anchovies are small fish that are sometimes added to pizzas, although I can’t say I’m a fan of that myself. Anchovies are also used to make a paste for Caesar salad dressing as well as some other sauces.
Andouille (pronounced ahn-doo-wee or ahn-doo-yuh, depending on who you ask) is a French sausage that is commonly seen in Cajun or Creole dishes. You don’t have to travel to New Orleans to try it (although it may be more authentic there).
You can likely find andouille at your local grocery store! Try it in a dish of red beans and rice or in a big pot of gumbo.
Asiago is an Italian cheese made from aged cow’s milk. Similar to parmesan, asiago is delicious on salads, roasted potatoes, pasta, and pizza.
Which “A” food is your favorite?
Do you have a favorite food that starts with A that isn’t on our list? Or even a favorite recipe? We’d love to hear about it, so leave us a comment below!