In Awe of Avocados (plus free recipes!)

Mention “avocado”  to your friends and family and I bet you will get some varied responses – many folks love them but others really don’t know much about them (and sadly don’t buy or eat them as a result), or they may say “Avocados – they have the good fat, right?”.  If you are in favor of avocados – you should share these amazing avocado facts with your loved ones while serving them the delicious Chocolate Pudding and Guacamole recipes (see below) at your next gathering – a great way to get the conversation flowing!

Originally from Mexico, and also known as Alligator Pear, avocados are a fruit that grow on trees in tropical or Mediterranean climates, sometimes grown as patio or house plants too.

According to the California Avocado Commission, 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.  The American Heart Association Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium while being rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.  The chart below shows the nutrients in 1/5 of a medium avocado:

So does this mean you should eat a bushel of them a day?  Probably not the best idea – they still do contain approximately 250 calories in a whole medium avocado and 22.5 grams of fat, but adding avocados to your diet is a great way to get the nutrients they offer as well as being a wonderful healthier substitute in some recipes.   So how can you use avocados?   Read below for how to  enjoy this wonderful food!

How Do I Open This Thing?

The easiest way is to use a serrated knife and cut all the way around the avocado length-wise, it will split open into two halves like the photo above, one will contain the very large seed.  Then carefully cut around the seed to remove it.  Incidentally, you can use this seed to grow your own avocado tree, a fun project for kids to do.  Once you have the seed removed, you can scoop out the greenish-yellow avocado goodness with a spoon and discard the tough outer shell.  Fresh-cut avocado will turn brown fairly fast – so it’s best to open it right before you eat it or need it for a recipe.  You can spritz the avocado with a bit of lemon juice to slow the browning, but consuming it right away is still best.

What’s The Best Way To Eat An Avocado?

Of course there is no best way, but easy ways are to cut the avocado into chunks and eat plain, with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt, or with a spoonful of salsa on top and/or a cracker on the bottom – this is an easy lunch to make, just take the whole avocado and a knife with you and cut open at lunchtime.  You can add avocado slices on top of your favorite leafy green salad, or add avocado chunks to other chunky veggies like tomato, green pepper, onion and cucumber and make a delicious veggie salad with your favorite dressing on top.  Adding the avocado to salads give more of a hearty taste (you will feel more full) and can make a great meal.

Another way to use avocados is to mash them with a fork until smooth and creamy, then use as a sandwich spread (add your favorite spices like garlic, pepper, etc.), or in your favorite recipes in place of mayo or butter depending on the recipe.  Avocado is easy to mash up for a  homemade baby food too.  In recipes, avocados add the creaminess, but are healthier for you than some traditional ingredients.   You can also blend avocado into your next fruit smoothie – the creamy texture is great and it boosts the nutritional value too.  Try making this chocolate pudding from avocados, great idea for kids who may not always get all their fruit and veggie servings each day or for anyone who does not eat dairy but still would like a yummy (and healthy) dessert:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding:

3 ripe organic avocados
½ cup coconut milk (or similar)
3-5 chopped dates (or other sweetener)
1/3 cup cocoa powder 
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Blend all ingredients until creamy and enjoy!  Can also be used as a chocolate cream pie filling.

There are so many great avocado recipes and uses out there – we are only hitting the very tip of the iceberg of ideas.  You will be surprised to know it’s not just for guacamole anymore, but speaking of guacamole….here is one of our favorite recipes at E3Live for a quick and simple guacamole you can serve at your next event or just have for lunch or dinner at home.

Simple E3Live Guacamole

1-2 avocados
1 medium tomato
1 green onion
1/2 lemon
1 tsp E3Live or E3AFA

Scoop avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork, add chopped tomato, chopped onion and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and a tsp of E3Live or E3AFA.  Serve with crackers, chips or on a bed of lettuce.

So tell us your favorite ways to use avocados in the comments below!

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