Every year during the Super Bowl, Americans eat gallons upon gallons of guacamole with chips. This is a shame, considering that chips are so fatty and avocado is so healthy. But did you know there are many more ways to enjoy avocados besides making guacamole?
“In the United States avocados are not a mainstream food yet, and they can be expensive, especially at certain times of the year,” Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., of the American Heart Association, said in a statement. “Also, most people do not really know how to incorporate them in their diet except for making guacamole. But guacamole is typically eaten with corn chips, which are high in calories and sodium. Avocados, however, can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole.”
Kris-Etherton and colleagues just released a study demonstrating that the monounsaturated fat in avocados may help improve cholesterol levels among obese and overweight people.
Health benefits are wide ranging
There are about a dozen varieties of avocados in the U.S., but most recipes use the Hass variety, which is renowned for its rich and creamy texture. Apart from being full of monounsaturated fat, avocados are a fantastic source of other nutrients according to Whole Foods. These include antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, copper, potassium, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6, C, E and K. Overall, Whole Foods recommended that consumers eat avocados to help boost their cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation and immune system function.
So what are some fun, inventive ways to enjoy avocados? Here are three, courtesy of Prevention magazine, Health.com and Eating Well. Before you get started, here’s a tip for selecting ripe avocados: Make sure the fruit is slightly soft without any cracks or dark, sunken spots.
Chicken, mango and cheese quesadillas
- 2 10-inch multigrain wraps
- 1 cup of shredded and cooked chicken breast meat
- 1/2 cup of shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese
- 1 medium mango, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 avocado, cut into six slices
Spread out your wraps. On the lower half of both wraps, add half a cup of chicken, half a cup of mango chunks, half the cilantro, three slices of avocado and half a cup of cheese. Fold the other half of the wrap over and cook in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for about four minutes on each side or until each side is golden brown. Cut into wedges as desired.
- 8 slices of whole-grain bread of choice, toasted
- 4 large leaves of romaine or Boston lettuce
- 1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced and peeled
- 12 thin slices of cucumber
- 4 slices of low-fat Swiss cheese
- 2 tablespoons of fat free mayonnaise
Spread the mayo on the bread. On four of the slices, layer one leaf of lettuce, one slice of avocado, one slice of cheese, three slices of cucumber and one slice of tomato. Top with the remaining four slices of bread and cut diagonally.
- 3 ripe avocados
- 16 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- A pinch of sea salt
Soak the dates in a cup of hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes or until they’re soft. Take the dates, all of the other ingredients and blend in a food processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Refrigerate for about three hours. Add more sea salt as a garnish, if you like.