The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Breaking away from my desire for copper plumbing and industry, these are smaller mechanics that would provide handy bonuses.
Iron Nuggets from Red Sand
In reality, red sands contain iron oxide. Since the only difference between Sand and Red Sand in Minecraft is the fact that Red Sand can't be used to make Concrete Powder, the ability to craft Iron Nuggets from Red Sand (also creating regular Sand in the process) would be a fitting and interesting addition. For balancing purposes, only one Iron Nugget could be attained from every nine blocks of Red Sand.
A relatively simple method of justifying increased food variety: Nutrients. These would provide some small bonuses that aren't necessarily required, but would spice gameplay up (no pun intended) for the less stagnant survival players. Different foods contain varying levels of each Nutrient.
Protein - Boosts healing and long-term use of tools (roughly a day).
Carbs - Boosts short-term use of tools (a few minutes).
Fats - Boosts intermediate-term use of tools (a few more minutes).
Vitamins - Boosts resistance to poison and other ailments and increases iron bonuses.
Minerals - Boosts resistance to direct damage.
Iron - Boosts sprinting speed and other cardio-heavy actions.
You aren’t very specific. “Bonuses” if very vague. You need to say what we actually get from them. And “use of tools” is just the same. I don’t know what that means. Does it give more durability to tools? Or does it do something else? Be more specific and have a plan before half ass posting a suggestion please.
When posting suggestion threads, you are only permitted to include one idea (or closely-related group of ideas) per thread. This thread contains multiple unrelated ideas and is considered a wish list, which is not allowed.