Avocados have achieved superstar status in the world of healthy eating in recent years. They have always been popular in guacamole and other Tex-Mex dishes, but are now getting a lot of attention for their versatility in the kitchen and for their rich supply of healthy nutrients. And avocado lovers discover delicious new ways to enjoy them – for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Avocados are fruits (technically berries) that grow on trees that are native to Mexico and are now grown in warm climates such as California and Florida. Avocados have thick, inedible skin and a single large pit (or seed) in the middle. When fully ripe, the light green flesh has a mild taste and creamy texture. It works well with other ingredients and can be used as a healthier replacement for foods rich in unhealthy saturated fats.
If you are already an avocado fan, you will get a lot of good news about why you should keep eating it and new ideas for it. Haven’t tried avocados yet? We give you an overview of why and how to find a dish that suits your taste.
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One eighth of an avocado contains 40 calories, 2.1 grams of carbohydrates, 1.7 grams of fiber and 3.7 grams of fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Avocados are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are associated with a lower level of bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides in our body compared to saturated and trans fats.
Yes, all fats are high in calories, so you should pay attention to the portion size when eating avocados. For this reason, they are listed as “Extra” in the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide. However, using avocados instead of saturated or trans fats is a healthy choice.
According to Harvard Health, avocados also provide you with other strong nutrients, especially potassium. One serving of avocado (one tablespoon of the whole fruit) contains 122 milligrams of the mineral – more than a comparable serving size of banana. Potassium plays a vital role in regulating your heartbeat and blood pressure. And it helps keep your body’s sodium levels in balance. The high fiber content of avocados also helps you feel full after eating and ensures healthy digestion of the food you consume.
Avocados have earned their reputation as “superfoods” primarily because of their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These types of healthy fats are important when trying to eat well and lose weight. Your body needs fats so that you feel full after eating, deliver burning energy quickly, and better absorb the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat. But not all fats are the same. Avocados are an excellent whole food source for healthy fats. This means that when you eat it, you get valuable fiber, vitamins and other important nutrients that you don’t get with many other types of fats.
Nutritionists have found that avocado consumption is associated with healthier, better cholesterol, and even slimmer waists. According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, people who eat avocados regularly have a significantly lower body weight, a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and waist size and a higher HDL (good cholesterol level) than people who do not eat fruit. The researchers also found that avocado eaters were 50 percent less likely to have a metabolic syndrome that often leads to diabetes. The researchers say eating avocados “is associated with better nutritional quality and nutrient intake”, which means that adding these avocados to your meals results in better eating overall.
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You can see different types of avocados in the grocery product section, but the most popular and best-selling variety in most U.S. is called Hass. The skin is bumpy and, depending on the maturity, dark green to purple. The flesh inside is light green and exceptionally creamy.
Regardless of the variety, the only question when choosing an avocado is when you want to eat it. If you’re ready to include avocado in your meals within a day of buying it, look for an avocado with very dark skin and flesh that gives in a little when you press it with your fingers. Beware of avocados that are already shrinking or mushy.
You can buy avocados when they’re green and hard, but it takes a few days to get darker and softer. Do not put them in the refrigerator – leave them at room temperature. They ripen a little faster if you place them next to a few bananas. Give them the squeeze test every day until they’re a little softer, and then eat them within a day or two afterwards.
Many supermarkets offer packaged guacamole. Immersion is a fun way to enjoy the benefits of avocados. However, be aware that these products may contain additional saturated fats that you want to avoid. You can make your own guacamole in minutes by mixing crushed avocado with your favorite salsa (a free food in the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide) and a pinch of lemon or lime juice (also a free food).
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If you cut an avocado in half, use your knife to hit the large brown seeds inside. Cut the skin and flesh around the hard-coated seed rather than trying to chop it. Once the avocado is open, you can pull the seed off with your fingers, however This video shows you an easier and safer way to remove it and scoop the meat out of your skin
Since you only eat one serving of avocado at a time, you often store the leftovers for another meal. In order to keep the meat light green and at the peak of its taste, we have developed a simple kitchen chop that protects it from spoiling. This short video shows you how to preserve fresh avocado so you have it on hand when you are ready
Healthy eaters have found many delicious ways to take advantage of the mild taste and creamy texture of avocados to make many dishes better. For example, if you want to make smoothies that are as thick and creamy as a milkshake, you can add avocados to the mix. Throw a few slices of avocado into a salad and skip the high-fat dressing. Hold the mayonnaise on a turkey bread and instead mash a small avocado and spread it over the bread.
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Here are some more tasty ideas to enjoy nutritious avocados:
1. 3 avocado toast recipes>
Avocado toast has become a popular breakfast or lunch for many people. After crushing the avocado on whole grain bread, you can add a variety of other toppings such as cucumber or cherry tomatoes. To help you get started, we’ve put together three of our favorite combinations
2. Avocado Pesto Panini>
If you want one Flex meal Try this hot and savory sandwich that is loaded with protein and fiber. It has only six ingredients and is easy to prepare in a panini maker or even your stove. Check out this simple recipe>
3. Thin avocado egg salad sandwich>
Do you love the rich, sticky goodness of egg salad? Our version is perfect for a filling flex lunch that is rich in healthy fats and full of flavor. Open this thin recipe for lunch>
4. Mahi-Mahi with blood orange, avocado and salsa>
Firm, mild mahi-mahi makes a healthy dinner with a delicious topping of spicy citrus fruits, spicy salsa and creamy avocado cubes. You can try this with almost any type of fish you like. Get the delicious recipe here>