Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados fall in the category of super foods which when eaten in moderation can be beneficial to our health. Even though avocados have a high percentage of fats, the main fat content is monounsaturated fat which aids in regulating sugar levels, and helps protect our heart, among other things.
According to the nutrition article linked here, the recommended daily portion is ½ a cup. The article breaks down the total fat content and the number of calories, in addition to providing more information about its general benefits. The total number of calories in 1/2 a cup are 120, and 85% of those come from fat. In addition to the fact that it is a heavy calorie food, not all of the fat content is the good kind, hence the need to control the amount we eat.
Growing Up with Avocados in My Back Yard
Most people know that an avocado is considered a fruit, but did you know that it is considered a berry, along with bananas, grapes and watermelons?
I did not know that, but what I do know is that I love avocados, and I remember eating avocados often when I was a child. My grandmother lived in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and she had an avocado tree in her back yard, which was my playground many days in the summers. The tree was very tall and and always had fruit on it. I remember looking forward to our visits because I missed being able to eat lots of avocados. It was a struggle sometimes reaching the fruit that was up high, but there was always someone willing to get them for my siblings and I.
The avocados were small with dark smooth skin and a green creamy flesh. I remember eating everything but the seed, as if eating a peach or a nectarine. They were awesome as a snack or with hot homemade tortillas.
Now a days, I find that it is easier to control portion size when I buy the small avocados, as it is hard to cut a large one and not eat it all!
I was curious, and so I cut one and placed it in a measuring cup. It measures not quite 2/3 cup, but considering that it’s not mashed, it is pretty close to 1/2 a cup.
Ways to Enjoy Avocado
These are some of the ways I enjoy avocado at home now:
- One small diced avocado mixed with green onions and tomato. I eat this with corn chips as a light lunch when I have little time or when I want to eat something simple. When I try to not eat corn chips, I eat it with romaine cups, as shown on this next picture. If I am successful, I don’t touch the chips, although sometimes, the chips still make their way into my stomach! However this simple practice does allow me to eat less of them.
- Sliced avocado is many times a side for a meal at dinner time, or a garnish for chicken or beef tacos.
- On a previous post I mentioned a lunch salad that I love, which has diced avocado, cooked shrimp, tomato, capers, celery, salt, pepper and dill. Or a close combination when I don’t have all of the ingredients. As long as I have the shrimp, the avocado, the tomato and dill, I am happy. It is a favorite lunch salad.
- For dinner, sometimes I prepare a salad and add avocado. Usually romaine with varied ingredients, depending on what is available. Ripe kiwi that has to be eaten, put it in the salad. Haven’t gotten around to eating the grapefruit or the left over peas, put in the salad. Black olives, green olives, cooked beets… if no cooking is required, put it in the salad! Not everything goes, but pretty close to it because I don’t try not to store things that I will not want to eat.
- We love quesadillas. I prepare them with plenty of tomato and cilantro, and a little bit of green onions and cheese in addition to cooked chicken.I buy packaged uncooked flour tortillas. I cook one side of the tortilla and cook the other side only halfway before adding the ingredients to the cooked side. The ingredients heat up and the cheese melts at the same time that the uncooked side of the tortilla finishes cooking. I place the cooked quesadillas in a tortilla warmer and we eat them with mashed avocado and a little bit of sour cream, if I have any. (I try not to buy it often). To melt the cheese faster, and to control the amount of cheese on each quesadilla, I place the cheese directly on the tortilla, and not mix it in with the rest of the ingredients. After it is cooked, I cut it into thirds for a nice presentation and easy sharing.
- Another way to use up left over chicken is to prepare tostadas. I spread mashed avocado on the tostada as the base and add a layer of homemade salsa. I then add shredded or chopped chicken, and top it with romaine lettuce, cilantro and tomato. I like to go easy on the chicken, and heavy on the vegetables. The better the salsa, the better the tostadas!
- I often use avocado in place of butter or toast. To the avocado toast, I add a cooked egg, and top with cilantro, as shown here.
- The next picture is from one day that my husband wanted me to fix him a sandwich with leftover pork and bbq sauce. I took the pork and diced it in small cubes. I mixed it with diced celery and mashed avocado and used it instead of the bbq sauce. It was different, but it was good, and we enjoyed it!
So I listed some ways that I like to eat avocado. How do you enjoy this delicious fruit?
Helpful Site to Search for Avocado Recipes
Where do you go to find delicious recipes that can help you meet your wellness goals?
I usually use the ingredients that I have on hand to search for recipes, when I don’t have anything particular in mind. It depends on how much time and effort I want to put into the search, and whether it is a casual meal, or a special occasion.
Today, I was curious about what I might find at the Mayo Clinic website, as far as recipes, and found a page titled Diabetic Meal Plan Recipes. I am not diabetic, but you bet that I will go through and see what interesting recipes I might be able to find on the extensive list linked here, or tips on how to cook healthier versions of my favorite meals.
What I found most interesting and appealing is that the recipes contain nutrition values and dieticians’ tips.
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