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Avocado Tips and Tricks

Are you seeking out a superfood that tastes great and boosts the quality of your diet? Look no further than the avocado. Its rich, creamy taste is mild enough to bake with, yet flavorful enough to be used as a dip or an accent to a salad or sandwich.

Avocado Nutrition Facts and Figures

Though technically a fruit (the seed makes it so), avocados are classified as a fat, and a healthy fat at that! They are rich in calories (one medium Hass avocado has 320 calories and 29 grams of total fat), but the fat composition is primarily monounsaturated, which can be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. A whole avocado provides 11 percent of the daily value of fiber and almost 20 vitamins and minerals, including folate and potassium.

Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services recommends cutting the avocado into quarters and either sharing the rest or saving some for later. One-fourth of an avocado has a more reasonable 80 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and zero grams of sugar.

How to Pick Out the Perfect Avocado

If you’re buying avocados and using them right away, they should be firm but lightly soft. If you buy unripe avocados that are hard to the touch, it can take 4-5 days to ripen on the counter. To speed up the ripening time, place avocados in a brown paper bag. Once ripe and cut, refrigerate and eat within a day. Sprinkle lemon or lime juice on the cut part of the avocado to prevent browning and place in an air-tight container or tightly covered clear plastic wrap to keep for a day.

How to Spread Avocado Goodness Into Your Meal Plan

  • Add slices to your salad or toast
  • Spread smashed avocado on sandwiches to replace high-saturated fat mayonnaise and cheese
  • Make a guacamole dip for snacking or a as a “side kick” to Mexican meals
  • “Sneak” mashed avocados into baked recipes to replace some of the fat; this can work in such foods as cookies, brownies and chocolate cake

Fast and Ready-to-eat

You can take a few shortcuts and purchase ready-made, single-serving cups or pouches of guacamole. Look for the brands Wholly Guacamole® and GOODFOODS™. Some products are mixtures of avocado and salsa, which can help reduce the calories from 100 to between 50-80 calories per serving.

Buy in Season

The next time you go shopping, add some avocados to your cart. Peak season is late-spring through summer. Try to buy what you plan to eat that week to avoid waste. Find easy ways to incorporate avocado into your meals and, most importantly, enjoy!

Blog: written by Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE

Categories: Cooper Updates
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