Avocado nutrition


monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folic acid, fiber and potassium

monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folic acid, fiber and potassium

Since 2000, we’ve gone from eating 8 million pounds of avocados on Super Bowl Sunday to a whopping 79 million.  10 X.  Or about 158 million avocados.  According to audience estimates, that’s about 1.3 avocados per viewer.  Wow!

Nutritional implications of that?  Avocados are high fat, and high calorie.  Fortunately the fats are mostly healthy monounsaturated fats, but calories all the same.  Eating your requisite 1.3 avocados, in the form of guacamole, on Sunday adds up to about 300 calories, and that doesn’t even include chips.  If you typically scoop about 1-1/2 tablespoons of guacamole onto a chip, that’s about 45 calories per scoop.  Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, folate and potassium, and have smaller amounts of many other vitamins and minerals.  For a high fat food, they’re a surprisingly decent fiber source, but have little protein.

If you’re the guacamole preparer, there are ways to minimize the calorie damage, and ways to make it worse.

Worse: cut the mashed avocado with sour cream.  NO!   This just adds saturated fat and pure fat calories.  Even worse, sour cream ruins the flavor of the avocado.  Don’t add oil either — again, pure calories with no purpose.

OK: just mash straight avocado with a dash of red pepper, cumin, salt and lime or lemon juice.

Minimize (slightly less calories per scoop, plus extra nutrients): mix the mashed avocado with chopped scallions, tomatoes and sweet peppers.  Chopped cilantro is also great, although it’s not bulky enough to significantly reduce calories.  There’s a limit to how many chopped vegetables you can add, to a maximum of about 1/3 of the volume.

Super Bowl Sunday is also known for chicken wing consumption.  If you remove the skin and just eat the meat, wings aren’t terrible, from 70-100 calories depending on the size.  But the whole point of Buffalo wings is the spicy glaze and blue cheese dipping sauce.  One way to minimize the damage is to buy or make boneless “wings” with the skin removed.

Another way to minimize damage of all delicious Super Bowl snacks: portion control.  In fact, that’s probably the best way.

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