We couldn’t let Cinco de Mayo go by this month without making our famous homemade guacamole. As I went through the satisfying process of mashing up the avocados and adding just the right amount of lemon juice, cilantro and salt for flavoring, I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t blog on the wonderful health benefits of this funny green fruit (yes – it is a fruit and not a vegetable!).
I will admit, I used to avoid avocados. They sort of intimidated me. How do you know when they are ripe? How do you cut up one of these little buggers? And, yes, they are a little bland tasting, but once I learned some very simple ways to prepare and use them, I found myself incorporating them more and more into my diet.
The health benefits:
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats. What’s the benefit in that? In addition to keeping you full longer, healthy fats can help you lower your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) when substituting them in place of the less desirable saturated fats.
One serving (about 1/3 of a medium sized avocado) contains about 80 calories, and has nearly 20 heart-healthy nutrients, including vit K, vit E, vit C, potassium and fiber.
When combining the high fiber, low glycemic, and monounsaturated fat benefits of this fruit, it makes a great choice for people who are diabetic or looking to regulate their blood sugar. For a comprehensive article on all the health benefits of avocados, check out this quick read.
Adding avocados to your diet:
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to incorporate avocados into my diet is to add small cubes into my morning smoothie. Don’t have a ripe one on hand? Here’s a time saving tip: you can buy a bag of frozen avocado chunks at the supermarket and use them as needed.
If you do have time to cut up a fresh one, think about adding a slice to your sandwich, or mashing a few forkfuls on a piece of toast. Add a little salt and pepper, tomato, and viola – you now have avocado toast! They also make great garnishes for tacos, salads, and soups.
One of my favorite ways to use avocados is in homemade guacamole — see below for the recipe!
Tips for ripening and cutting
When you buy avocados in the supermarket, they feel firm and hard when you give them a squeeze. They still need a few days on your counter to ripen and become soft enough to eat. If you need to ripen them quickly, try putting them in a sealed paper bag. If your avocados are becoming too ripe or soft, you can put them in the refrigerator.
Cutting, dicing and cubing them can be very easy with a few simple tips. Watch this 30 second how-to video we’ve made on Avocados – how to dice them — and be careful with your knife!
Easy Guacamole Recipe
Start with 2-3 ripe avocados. Cut them in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Mash up with a fork. Stir in the following ingredients:
2-3 tsp of fresh lime or lemon juice.
1 TBSP of chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBSP of diced red onion
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes
Enjoy! For more health tips, recipes and fun ideas, visit our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram