Healthy Bites: All about the avocado
Avocados are a nutrition powerhouse as they contain 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients including vitamin K, folate, potassium and vitamin E. One-fifth of a medium avocado or three thin slices contains 50 calories and two grams fiber.
Of the fat in avocados, 75 percent is unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) – the healthy fat that helps with satiety (the feeling of fullness) and is also good for heart-health.
Did you know there is a new way to cut and peel avocados? Simply cut the avocado in quarters; nick and peel the skin from the avocado to get the nutrient-rich, dark green fruit under the peel. This dark green layer contains the greatest concentration of carotenoids.
The best way to test for ripeness is to gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand. Avocados are ready to eat when they will yield to gentle pressure.
To speed the ripening of avocados, they can be stored in a brown paper sack at room temperature for two to five days. Adding a banana or apple to the sack will help ripen avocados even faster, as these fruits give off ethylene gas which quickens the ripening process.
Avocados are not just for guacamole. They can be used in a variety of ways:
- Mash for a spread for sandwiches, wraps or bagels. Dice for salads, pasta, tacos, omelets and pizza.
- Slice for burgers or BLT sandwiches.
- Cube and combine with fresh fruit; drizzle with honey.
- Splash with balsamic vinegar or fresh lime juice; add black pepper and salt. Serve with whole-grain crackers.
- Toss into fruit smoothies to add creaminess
- Add diced avocado to omelets
- Add avocado to your favorite homemade salsa
Roasted Garlic Guacamole with Help-Yourself Garnishes
Serves 16 (1/4 cup each)
All you need:
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
6 medium ripe avocados
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, loosely packed fresh cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more if desired
1 tsp salt
1 (16 oz) bag yellow corn tortilla chips
3/4 cup finely crumbled or grated Mexican queso fresco, queso añejo, salted pressed farmer’s cheese, firm goat cheese, mild feta cheese or Romano cheese
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup crumbled crisp-fried bacon
Place unpeeled garlic in a small dry skillet over medium heat; cook, turning occasionally, until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool, then slip off the skins; finely chop.
Scoop avocado flesh into a large bowl. Add the garlic, cilantro and lime juice to taste. Coarsely mash everything together. Season with salt.
Transfer to a serving bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. To serve, spoon a little guacamole on a chip and top with your choice of garnishes.
Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 451 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 7 g protein
Recipe source: Adapted from Fiesta at Rick’s by Rick Bayless; W.W. Norton, 2010 by Eating Well, Inc.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.