The avocado’s buttery texture belies its weight-control benefits.
By Lisa James | Edited by Amanda Mauceri
We’ve come a long way from the days when dieting meant cutting every last bit of fat out of our meals. People now realize that it is a necessary (and tasty) part of any sensible eating plan and that the key to fat intake lies in the type of fat consumed.
But when it comes to the avocado, even the least fat-phobic dieter may ask the question: “Can anything with that rich a taste really have a place at a table geared toward weight control?”
Happily, the answer is “yes.” Once called “poor man’s butter,” avocados are actually more like olive oil, because both of them are rich in the monounsaturated oleic acid that appears to support healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados also provide generous amounts of fiber –another bonus for weight-conscious eaters – along with folate, lutein, potassium and vitamins B6, C, E and K. What’s more, avocados have an alkalinizing effect when digested, which helps the body maintain a healthy pH balance.
The Perfect Avocado
- When shopping for avocados, look for firm specimens without cracks or sunken areas.
- Keep them on the kitchen counter until they ripen to a slightly soft consistency.
- Peel an avocado by cutting it lengthwise from top to bottom and gently twisting the halves apart.
- Remove the large center pit and slip off the skin.
- Cut out any dark spots in the flesh.
Avocados are best known as the main component in guacamole, where they are mashed with chopped tomato, lime or lemon juice (to prevent browning) and salt. Other ingredients may include onions, garlic, chilies, cumin and cilantro. Mashed avocado can also be used to garnish baked potatoes or steamed vegetables, or as an unusual sandwich spread. Diced avocado makes for a unique and unusual omelet addition.
Sliced avocado is popular as a salad ingredient. You can also stuff the slices into rolled chicken breasts or wrap them with shrimp and basil leaves in prosciutto for grilling. And, you can even honor the avocado’s role as a fruit (its technical designation) by using it in desserts (as in the recipe shown below).
If you’re looking to lose weight, feel free to make the avocado (and its healthy fat content) a welcome part of your diet.
California Avocado and Mango with Yogurt, Honey & Lime
- Servings: 4.
- Analysis per serving: 269 calories, 5.5g protein, 12g fat (1.7g saturated),3g fiber,
43g carbohydrate, 168 mg sodium
- 2 large ripe California avocados (chilled, halved, seeded and peeled)
- 2 mangoes (chilled, halved, seeded and peeled)
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- 3/4 cup of plain, low-fat yogurt (Greek style preferred)
- 2 large limes (juiced)
- 3 tbsp. of honey
- 4 mint sprigs
- Slice avocado and mango halves lengthwise into 1/2″ slices. Arrange
on four salad plates, alternating avocado and mango. Mix the pepper
and salt, and lightly sprinkle over the slices.
- Whisk together yogurt, lime juice and honey in a small bowl; drizzle
2-3 tbsp. of dressing over each plate. Garnish with mint sprigs.