As a dietitian I am probably going to humiliate myself by admitting to this, but I’m just going to come right out and say it: I do not like avocados. The only time I will excitedly eat an avocado is if it comes in the form of guacamole or on a tuna avocado sushi roll, but that’s about it. You won’t catch me eating trendy avocado toast or putting sliced avocados on top of my salads. I really couldn’t tell you why, but I can tell you that this is a travesty. Avocados have done nothing wrong to garner such harsh opinions from me. If anything, the avocado is a wondrous fruit (yes, a fruit) with many gifts to give, and so I set out on a quest to determine a way to like them. Whether you’re iffy on avocados like me or if you are already an avid lover, keep reading.
What’s so great about the avocado?
Avocados are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available. More specifically, they provide ample amounts of monounsaturated fats and fiber. Monounsaturated fats, which can also be found in foods like salmon, olive oil, and almonds are cardio-protective, help fight against inflammation in the arteries, and reduce cholesterol. Avocados are also super high in fiber, which also helps lower cholesterol, produces feelings of long-term fullness, and evens out blood sugar spikes. A half of an avocado dishes up about 5g of fiber, so not too shabby (the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the daily goal of dietary fiber for women is 25g/day for adult women and 38g/day for adult men). Other nutrients packed into the avocado include potassium, vitamin K, folate, antioxidants vitamin C and E, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and magnesium.
What else should I know?
A ripe avocado will have a little give when you squeeze it; it shouldn’t be hard and should feel a little mushy. The best time of year to buy avocados is in the summer during warm weather. Additionally, once cut open, avocados will oxidize and turn brown quickly. A good way to slow this process down and to save half your avocado for later is to squeeze some ascorbic acid onto the flesh (think: lemon juice or lime juice – not just used for flavoring in guacamole!!). Then, place in tinfoil or a plastic bag in the refrigerator and eat within 1-2 days.
Stop talking about them, let’s eat them.
Again, I’m forever dabbling into different ways I can enjoy the avocado a little more. One way I’ve found is to mash half of an avocado into plain 2% Greek yogurt and mix in ranch seasoning. This can be used as a spread for sandwiches or a dip for veggies. Another favorite I’ve uncovered is this tuna salad. Check out the recipe below!
Avocado Tuna Salad on the Half Shell
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: less than 1 minute
1/2 ripe avocado
1 pouch or can of albacore tuna in water (i prefer the pouch)
1 Tbs honey dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Additional optional ingredients: chopped onion (red or white), chopped celery, chopped carrots, chopped apples, olive oil, sliced almonds, apple cider vinegar, you can really customize this to your preference, but I chose to keep mine simple.
1) Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit.
2) Score the avocado in a lattice/criss-cross pattern. Remove the flesh with a spoon into a bowl.
3) Mix in the tuna, honey dijon mustard, and any other ingredients with the avocado. Taste as you go and add the salt and pepper as you mix.
4) Scoop the tuna back into the skin, which will serve not only as a bowl but an effortless way to look fancy and impressive.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 234, Total fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 45g, Total Carbohydrate: 9g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Protein: 20g.
The verdict: I LOVE THIS and this may have turned me into an avocado believer. The fat from the avocado is reminiscent of those really high-mayo tuna salads from the deli that I love (but without the artery-clogging type of fat), and the protein from the tuna combined with the fat and fiber of the avocado are seriously satisfying.
Tell me – what’s YOUR favorite way to eat an avocado? Also do your avocados look as messy as mine??