Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, folic acid and potassium. Healthy fats should be eaten daily to assist with absorption and use of vitamins A, D, E and K. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease, depression and certain cancers.
An avocado is a natural, whole food and at 45 calories an ounce, avocado can be enjoyed on any diet, from Atkins to the Zone. Choose avocados that are slightly soft and "give" when you press the skin. Firm avocados soften quickly when stored in a brown paper bag. Cut the avocado in half around the center pit and discard the pit. You can then slice the avocado while it is still in the skin or scoop the avocado out with a spoon. Avocados can be sliced, diced or mashed. Coat unused cut avocado with lemon or lime juice prior to refrigeration to slow browning.
Ways to Enjoy Avocados
- Mash the avocado with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Spread on sandwich bread or a whole grain wrap in lieu of mayonnaise.
- Wrap turkey or roast beef around avocado slices for a healthy, low-carb snack.
- Cube the avocado and mix it with chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeño, tomatoes, black beans and a squeeze of lime juice. Wrap this mixture in a tortilla to make a vegetarian burrito or serve over brown rice. Stuff a red bell pepper half with the mixture for a festive cold salad.
- Classic guacamole is always a favorite and can be simple to make. Mash avocado with your favorite prepared salsa and serve with cut-up raw veggies instead of tortilla chips.
- Try guacamole over a baked potato instead of sour cream.
- Top a hearty ground turkey and pinto bean chili with a scoop of guacamole.
- Avocado and mango make a natural pair. Serve them diced over a green salad with tomatoes, shredded carrots, broccoli and bell peppers.
- Top your bowl of tomato or chicken and rice soup with cubed avocado.
- Avocado smoothies offer a refreshing meal option in the summer. Start with a base of vanilla yogurt and cubed avocado. Add one or more of the following fruits: pitted cherries, mango, strawberries, blueberries, peaches and banana. Blend with a few ice cubes and enjoy.
- Sliced avocado makes a delicious topping for egg-white omelets. Consider filling your omelet with sautéed peppers, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and sprouts.
- Combine diced avocado, papaya, cilantro and green chili for a spicy salsa that goes well with grilled fish or chicken.
- Cube avocado and gently mix it with shredded crab. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over baby greens for an elegant and healthy lunch.
- Fill a tortilla with scrambled eggs, wilted greens and avocado slices for a nutritious and healthy breakfast burrito. Add some kick with a little salsa.
- Blend avocado, cucumber, plain low-fat yogurt, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice into a cold soup. Garnish with cubed avocado and diced cucumber.
- Fill a soft flour tortilla with baked tilapia, shredded cabbage and sliced avocado. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.