5 (more) reasons to love avocado

Apr 5, 2018

As a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, I’m privileged to have as colleagues some of the most accomplished Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).

Jeanne Petrucci

Today’s guest columnist is Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN who has shared this article from her weekly Test Kitchen Tuesday Blog.

Hi, I’m Jeanne, a registered dietitian nutritionist from New Jersey who is passionate about cultivating positive experiences around food while remaining true to my science-based approach to nutrition education.  I hold a Master of Science degree in Nutrition Education from Columbia University and founded the non-profit Living Plate as a place where other nutrition professionals join me in advancing my mission.  We help you define health on your own terms!  Let’s sift through the crowded universe of nutrition information together, understand what’s important to you, and translate that knowledge into delicious food through our digital meal plans.  Please visit our website to get to know our team, read more articles, and explore delicious recipes.  Don’t miss out on regular nutrition and culinary tips – follow us on Instagram.

5 (More) Reasons to Love Avocado

By Jeanne Petrucci

What’s not to like – creamy texture, nutrient-dense, mild flavor. We are so Team Avocado! Celebrated for its content of healthy fats, there are so many more reasons to enjoy this fruit. Nutritionally, it ranks right up there with other “superfoods”, but it’s in the kitchen where avocados really shine. Their mild flavor gives them flexibility for inclusion into sweet and savory dishes, hot or cold.

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Here are 5 ideas of how to include avocado in your weekly meal plan and the benefits your body will reap:

Add smoothies and soups
Add as little as an eigth of an avocado to your smoothie and transform it into a creamy milkshake. Use frozen avocados [you can buy in most grocery stores] and you’ll get the frostiness too. Susan’s note: here in Cuenca, avocados are plentiful and inexpensive!  I freeze my own avocado: Rinse, peel, and dice ripe avocado: toss with lemon or lime juice, and freeze in ziplock bags.

For a savory treat, add some avocado to a blended soup like this one to create silkiness: Triple Greens Soup 

Benefit: Heart-Healthy fats.  Avocados contain both monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid, and polyunsaturated fat. FYI – avocado does really well with chocolate.

Make toast
We hope this trend never ends! Spread avocado mash on your favorite vehicle – sprouted grain toast, sweet potato circles, or rice cakes – anything firm will do. Place ripe avocado in bowl and mash with fork. Season with salt and pepper and spread on whatever “toast” you choose then top with sliced tomato, onion, salmon, capers, egg, lettuce, peppers – we could go on and on…

Benefit: Micronutrients
A 3.5 ounce serving of avocado has more than 25% of the daily Vitamin K requirements, which is crucial for blood clotting. It also contain more potassium than bananas, and is high in folate, Vitamin C, vitamin E, and the B vitamins.

Add to breakfast
Enjoy sliced avocado with hard boiled eggs and some tomato – the ultimate quick breakfast.

Benefit: Antioxidants and phytochemicals.  Avocados are a good source of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are important for eye health and may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Make a guacamole-stylle dip
We’re always excited when a bowl of guacamole hits the table at a party and it deserves to be paired with equally nutritious dippers. Instead of dredging fried chips through the dip, select more nutrient-dense vehicles like endive spears [Living Plate team favorite], carrot waffle chips, and cucumber chips. This recipe is part of our regular rotation: Kale and Edamame Guacamole

Benefit: Nutrient absorption.  Adding avocado to your recipes does more than just make them yummy. Thanks to their fat content, avocados aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Grill it
Give it a try – grilling imparts a smokiness that goes so well with the natural sweetness of avocado. Slice ripe avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Twist and separate halves. To remove pit, firmly hit the pit with middle edge of your knife [carefully!] and twist to remove. Place avocado in its skin cut-side down on well oiled grill grates and grill just until marks appear. Serve with fish and a fresh salsa.

Benefit: Fiber.  Half an avocado contains 5 grams of fiber! Fiber can help maintain digestive health, assist with weight maintenance, reduce blood sugar spikes, and may lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. According to the USDA, the average American consumes less than 16 grams per day – ouch. It is recommended that women consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day, and men consume 38 grams per day.

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