Avocados, The Ultimate Summer Ingredient: Why And How To Eat Them

May 22, 2012 10:02 AM EDT | By Amanda Remling
Avocado (Photo: Creative Commons)

Summer is almost upon us, making way for cooking burgers on the grill, sipping ice tea on the deck and eating ice pops while baking in the hot sun. There is one thing that the summer you envisioned might not include though (and it definitely should be thrown in the mix)....Avocados!

With summer meaning swim suit season, avocados, which are high in fats, might not be the first food you want to turn to. We've got some good news though. Avocados are full of healthy fats! The words 'healthy' and 'fats' don't really look like they go together, but the delicious green food is actually very good for you!

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Registered dietitian Lisa DeFazio told FitPerez.com, that the fats contained in avocados are mainly monounsaturated fat. That type of fat lowers bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol. Besides having 'good fats,' avocados are also a great source for potassium, which helps keep your heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves and digestive system functioning properly.

Avocados are in season from the spring through the summer, explains California Avocados site, Avocado.org. By eating avocados this season, you can be adding almost "20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients" to your diet.

Now that you know why to eat avocados, here are some great ways to eat the delicious fruit.

When buying an avocado, you want to make sure that it is ripe. To do so, lightly squeeze the fruit. If the skin of the avocado gives a little bit (soft), then it's ripe! Another good tip to picking the perfect avocado is by looking at the color of the skin. The darker the skin the riper the avocado usually is.

The tricky part about avocados is that when exposed they begin to brown. In order to prevent your avocado from browning, there are a couple tricks you can use. One tip to try is using lemon juice. Squeeze some over the avocado, and it will prevent the fruit from browning. Another trick is tightly wrapping plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the exposed fruit. DeFazio told FitPerez.com that she also suggests using an avocado pit to avoid browning.

Probably the most obvious use of avocados is in guacamole. Not only can guacamole and chips be a delicious snack for you, but it is a great dish to serve when company is over.

To serve a group of 8 guacamole, here is my personal recipe. You will need:

-          3 ripe avocados

-          ½ medium sized onion (chopped finely)

-          2 tbsp lime juice (I have substituted lemon juice in the past)

-          1 large tomato (chopped finely)

-          1 tsp salt

After removing the pit and scooping out the creamy insides of the avocados, put them in a mixing bowl. Use a potato masher, fork (or really any sort of utensil) to mash the avocado until it's chunky. Toss in the chopped onion, tomato, salt and lime juice. Mix it around a little bit and serve! If you're feeling real wild throw in some ground cumin and cilantro leaves.

More easy ways to use avocado is to slice them to throw on top of a burger. Sliced avocados go great on top of a regular ground beef burger of a veggie burger. My personal favorite burger combination is placing three slices of avocado, two slices of tomato, and fresh mozzarella cheese on top of a veggie burger. Try it the next time you are grilling!

For an avocado treat for the kids, try this spin on the old favorite "ants on a log."

To serve four people, you will need:

-          1 avocado

-          8 celery stalks

-          12 grape tomatoes (cut in half)

After taking out the pit of the avocado and scooping the insides into a mixing bowl, get the same chunky consistency as with the guacamole.  You can then scoop out the mashed avocado into the celery stalks. Once the avocado is lined inside the celery, place the halved tomatoes along the center and enjoy. It truly is an easy (and quick) snack! To go real wild, try mixing ¼ cup salsa with the avocado before lining the celery.

Now that you know why and how to make some delicious avocado treats, let us know how you did, or if you have any avocado recipes of your own!


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