Whether it’s for a school lunch box or a quick snack to have on hand for the car or office, we all need dependable, tasty foods that will see us through to our next meal. The avocado is often left behind in favor of cheese and crackers or a granola bar. However, this versatile, inexpensive, and extremely easy to prepare food is much healthier, filling, and certainly delicious.
Avocado’s are not only a powerhouse in the world of food, they are the ultimate grab and go snack food. Already “pre-packaged” just slice in half, add a sprinkle of salt, grab a spoon and you’re on your way! Half of a large avocado (eaten alone) keeps me feeling satiated for a good 2 hours.
Feel like avocado’s are high in fat and calories?
Think again, avocado’s are full of healthy fat. The kind that your body needs, not the kind it stores. The California Avocado Association has a neat little comparison chart that compares butter, avocado and cheese. Guess which one is lowest in fat, calories, and sodium?
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
Who needs a high calorie creamy salad dressing when you can use avocado instead? Slice and add to your salad. Once it’s mixed in with the oil and vinegar you’ve got yourself a creamy delicious “dressing” that will aide your body in absorbing all of those wonderful vitamins and nutrients that those greens have to offer.
That being said, I do love my Creamy Cilantro Avocado Salad Dressing!
My kids give a firm “thumbs down” to avocado, but since it is such an excellent source of healthy fat and vitamins, I give them the opportuntiy to experience it in other ways without having to deal with the full-on avocado taste and texture.
Avocado’s add a fabulous creamy texture to a smoothie. I used to use a banana, but now I prefer a quarter of an avocado in my morning smoothie. Not only is it delicious, but the light green color is really pretty! Add whey protein powder, a few mint leaves, a slice or two of ginger and a handful of spinach and you’ve got a great tasting, super healthy after school snack that you can share with your kids (be careful- ginger is hot so you might want to leave that out with little kids). Want more smoothie ideas? Simply type in “Smoothie” in the above search portal and you’ll be taken to all of my smoothie recipes!
Don’t do well with dairy? Too much cheese and mayonnaise in your life? Cut out both with avocado. Either mash up avocado and smear on bread in lieu of mayo, or thinly slice and add to your favorite sandwich.
Last but not least, guacamole! I adore guacamole and when I make it with my homemade mayonnaise, it’s simply to-die-for! Another option is to mix with hummus for a yummy dip. It’s very filling, nutritious and makes a super after school snack that will keep both you and your kids feeling full until dinner.
How do I know if an Avocado is Ripe?
I have always used the squeeze method. If it’s firm with a slight give, then it’s usually ripe. Sometimes however an avocado will stay hard as a rock and never have a give to it. The trick? Simply peel off the little stem end (if it won’t come off easily it’s not ripe). If it’s light yellow or light brown it’s likely not ripe. If it’s light green, it’s ripe. If it’s brown it’s likely overripe.
I now check the stem end of all of my avocadoes just so I can remember what the perfect avocado looks like from the stem check! Here’s a good picture tutorial for reference.
How to Peel an Avocado
Did you know that the most nutritious part of an avocado is directly next to the skin? That’s why it’s best to treat your avocado like a banana and peel the skin off.
Simply cut the avocado in half, leaving the pit intact.
Cut one of the halves in half (yes, you’ve quartered it now).
Peel the skin from the fruit, and there you go!
How to Store an Avocado
Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Once an avocado is ripe, you can store it (uncut) in the refrigerator for up to a week! Avocado’s that have been cut will store nicely for a day or two.
Avocado’s that have been cut will turn an unsightly brown color. No one wants brown guacamole. The trick is to keep the pit around. If you only want 1/2 of an avocado, eat the side that has no pit and store the side that still has the pit intact. Refrigerate. If you make a batch of guacamole that contains lime juice that will help to keep it from browning. A little trick that I learned years ago works great, save the pit and add to the bowl of guacamole. Remove upon serving, or let it stay buried in the guacamole.
What’s your favorite way to eat avocado’s?