These more than toast to this superfood
Eating healthfully doesn’t mean resigning yourself to tasteless meals. Packed with fiber and healthy fats, avocados are a beloved (and delicious) superfood that deserve a place on your dish.
There are numerous benefits to incorporating avocados into your diet. The fruit is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which are shown to reduce inflammation. It’s also packed with antioxidants, which can help protect vision, and some studies even show it can help prevent certain cancers. Eating avocados have also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Low carb and keto-friendly, avocados do not significantly impact blood sugar levels and its vitamin E can boost skin radiance.
Despite all its benefits, avocados are fickle—underripe one minute and seemingly overripe the next. Ready-to-eat avocados are dark in color and feel slight soft (not mushy) when you hold it in the palm of your hand. Lighter colored and firmer avocado can be purchased at the market to eat a day or two later.
One pro tip is to put the pit to good use. Instead of discarding the seed, use it to keep your guacamole intact. Some expert foodies claim placing the pit inside guac will prevent it from browning. The pit can also be used in teas, smoothies and in mole sauce.
Relatively new to the mainstream American diet, avocados are most often associated with guacamole or fancy toast. But there are so many other ways to utilize this diverse food that will add a health boost to your diet without it feeling like a sacrifice.
Here are a few new ways to eat avocado:
An alternative to mayo
A simple avocado spread os a great substitute for highly processed mayonnaise. Avocados are creamy and dense with a similar texture to traditional mayo, except the swap can save nearly 80 calories. Cut a ripe avocado into cubes and mash until creamy, or toss the cubes into the food processor until it’s whipped to perfection.
Pro tip: Adding plain nonfat Greek yogurt to the avocado spread will make it thicker and creamier.
A smoothie booster
Bananas are a go-to smoothie ingredient, but avocados actually contain more potassium than the yellow fruit. Potassium is vital to normal blood pressure because it transports nutrients into your cells and supports healthy nerve and muscle function. Plus, the fiber in an avocado will keep you fuller longer than high-glycemic bananas. Cube a ripe avocado and add it into smoothies for a creamy and satisfying meal on-the-go.
A better fry
Giving up favorite foods is a top reason healthy eating habits often hit a road bump. Luckily, the versatile avocado is a smart swap when your craving fries. Avocado slices coated in a light layer of flour (try almond or garbanzo flour for an extra health boost) can be baked into crispy fries right at home in less than 20 minutes.
If you’re looking to cut down on carbs after the holidays, a stuffed avocado makes a create alternative to sandwich bread. Instead, hollow out half of a ripe avocado and fill it with chicken, tuna or egg salad for an easy and nutritious lunch.
A sweet tooth satisfier
If you’re trying to stay on track with a healthy diet this year, consider avocado your secret weapon in the fight against ice cream cravings. Before you roll your eyes, remember that this creamy fruit is a neutral vessel for sweet flavors as well as savory. Make it at home without an ice cream maker by combining two avocados, coconut milk, milk, lime juice and sugar. Use a blender to whip to a smooth consistency, freeze for four hours and ta-da! You make yourself a healthy ice. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can mix in mint before blending.
LT Stuffed Avocado Recipe
Skip the bread and the mid-day slump. This keto-friendly recipe is a satisfying alternative to the classic BLT sandwich. Packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein, it’s a nutrient-dense lunch that will provide a boost of energy.
2 avocados, halved and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded romaine
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1. Scoop out avocados. Dice scooped avocado and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mash the diced avocado meat and stir in lemon juice. Add chopped romaine, tomatoes and bacon, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Fill avocado halves with salad and season with more pepper.
- Serving size: One cup (sliced)
- Calories: 234
- Fat: 21 grams
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Carbohydrates: 12 grams
- Dietary fiber: 10 grams
- Vitamin C: 24 percent daily value
- Vitamin B-6: 20 percent daily value
- *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
—Source: United States Department of Agriculture