Featured food: avocados

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAvocado is the highest fat plant food we eat.  82% calories from fat.  Even nuts, which are considered high fat, are only around 20-22% fat.    This puts avocado in a class with butter.  And like butter, you can spread it on bread or a bagel.

The high fat content is what makes avocado creamy and delicious.  Unlike butter or margarine, the fat is almost 2/3rd  healthy monounsaturated fat.

The fat may be healthy, but it’s also high calorie (as all fats are).  Which makes avocado a high calorie food.  Plus the avocados available in your local grocery store are probably significantly larger than the modest 5 oz size listed in the USDA database.  A large 8 oz avocado has about 400 calories.  You wouldn’t just eat one as a snack, unless you need calories.

This means guacamole is also high calorie.  1/4 cup has almost 100 calories.  1 TB about 25.  Use sparingly if you’re trying to control your calorie intake.

Avocado has other significant nutritional benefits in addition to healthy fats:

  • potassium
  • folate
  • fiber
  • low sodium
  • vitamins E and K
  • very low sugar

Fortunately, you don’t need to eat gobs of avocado or guacamole to enjoy the flavor.  A little goes a long way.  Instead of putting mayonnaise on sandwiches or burgers, add a few slices of avocado or 2-3 TB of guacamole instead.  You can add a few slices to a tossed salad, and of course both guacamole or avocado are great on burritos.  Just watch your portions.

By the way, guacamole should be made with nothing but avocado.  No sour cream or oil or other fillers that dilute the flavor.  Add a dash of lemon or lime juice, some salt and red pepper to taste, and mash it up with a fork.  You can also season with cumin, garlic, fresh cilantro or chopped tomatoes.  Goes great on burritos, sandwiches, burgers, omelets or as a dip for celery, carrots, cucumber wedges, radishes, jicama or sweet pepper slices.  Just watch how much you scoop up.


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