Top 5 Ways to Use Avocados
It’s tough to talk about healthy, delicious plant-powered eating without including the wonderful avocado. That rich, creamy texture and earthy, satisfying flavor is quite unique in the plant world. So, it’s no wonder that avocados are having their moment—whether it’s in avocado toast or avocado superfood smoothies, everyone just can’t get enough of the green stuff!
It’s not just about taste when it comes to avocado appeal. Avocados are nutritional superstars. Every serving (1/3rd of an avocado) is packed with a bounty of heart-healthy fats, gut-friendly fiber (3 grams), and twenty different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K (10%), vitamin C (4%), vitamin B6 (6%), vitamin E (6%), folate (10%), and potassium (6%). Research shows that avocados are also full of disease-fighting phytochemicals, including lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s no wonder that a body of research has found benefits in eating avocados, including improved bone health, decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and better blood glucose control.
The avocado love actually reaches back throughout history. Archeological research has discovered avocado consumption in central Mexico dating back 10,000 years! Avocado trees grow best in warm, moderately humid climates with lots of sunshine, which explains why Mexico is world’s largest supplier, with California producing a bounty as well. Mexican culture has embraced the power of the avocado for a long time, even using it as currency at one point. In this food culture, avocados are included daily, along with black beans and tortillas, as part of a healthy, traditional cuisine.
Make the versatile, delicious, and healthy avocado part of your own food traditions! Check out these 5 Ways to Use Avocados in your diet, and go green today.
Top 5 Ways to Use Avocados
1. Spread Avocado on Toast. Avocado toast is all the rage and it’s so simple! You can create your own variation at home with anything you’d like. One of my favorites is this simple, easy Rustic Avocado Garlic Toast. Check out my suggested variations and toppings for making your own favorite style of Avocado Toast, too.
2. Top Off Your Salad. What’s better than a fresh salad full of healthy, tasty ingredients, such as avocado slices? A perfectly ripe avocado can be the delicious focal point for any fulfilling salad, plus the healthy fats can help make nutrients in the salad more bioavailable. Check out some of my favorite avocado-topped salads, including Spicy Sorghum Avocado Salad and Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Lemon Cumin Vinaigrette for inspiration.
3. Incorporate Avocado into Your Baking. Avocado has a wonderfully smooth texture that can blend perfectly in most recipes, and help replace less healthy options for fats, such as butter. This is also a great way to use up avocadoes that have gotten a little too ripe. Avocados serve as the healthy fat component in these healthy Chocolate Zucchini Power Muffins, which can be a great breakfast or snack on the go.
4. Step Up Your Soup Game. Soup is a staple, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Have you tried adding sliced avocado on a rice soup, or better yet, blend them into a cold, creamy avocado soup? Start out with this Cold Cucumber Avocado Soup for a cool, creamy start to your meal.
5. Mix Up Your Power Bowl. Power bowls are a trendy food item right now, so make your bowl even tastier and healthier by topping it with avocado. Creating your own power bowl with whole grains, veggies, plant protein, and a flavorful sauce can be a great solution for lunch and dinner, so try out this Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl and Green Goddess Buddha Bowl to get your creative juices flowing.
Enjoy the creamy goodness of avocado in my Turmeric Mango Carrot Smoothie.
Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, with Kelly Blackburn, Dietetic Intern
For other tips on how to use plant foods, check out the following:
Fulgoni, V. L., Dreher, M., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutrition journal, 12, 1. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-1
Tremocoldi, M. A., Rosalen, P. L., Franchin, M., Massarioli, A. P., Denny, C., Daiuto, É. R., … Alencar, S. M. (2018). Exploration of avocado by-products as natural sources of bioactive compounds. PloS one, 13(2), e0192577. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192577
Deepti Dabas, Rachel M. Shegog, Gregory R. Ziegler and Joshua D. Lambert, “Avocado (Persea americana) Seed as a Source of Bioactive Phytochemicals”, Current Pharmaceutical Design (2013) 19: 6133. https://doi.org/10.2174/1381612811319340007
Martin J. Shearer, Alexandra Bach, Martin Kohlmeier, Chemistry, Nutritional Sources, Tissue Distribution and Metabolism of Vitamin K with Special Reference to Bone Health, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 126, Issue suppl_4, April 1996, Pages 1181S–1186S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/126.suppl_4.1181S
C.N. Ishiwu, J.E. Obiegbuna, N.M. Aniagolu, “Evaluation of Chemical Properties of Mistletoe Leaves from Three Different Trees (Avocado, African Oil Bean and Kola)”, Nigerian Food Journal, Volume 31, Issue 2, 2013, Pages 1-7, ISSN 0189-7241, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0189-7241(15)30070-9.