Avocados have been called the perfect food by nutritionists and foodies alike—and for good reason. They've got a high fiber and monounsaturated fat content, contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, and have scientifically proven abilities to lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and improve vascular health. Plus, the New York Times reports that avocados may offer additional health benefits scientists haven't been able to effectively quantify, simply because so few Americans consume avocados on a consistent, daily basis.
If you love the creamy, buttery taste of avocados and want to reap more of their health benefits, there are plenty of ways you can eat them (that have nothing to do with chips and guac!).
Here are seven clever ways to include avocados into your daily diet.
- Blend a creamy smoothie. Frozen bananas, yogurt or nut butters can transform a smoothie into a satisfying and nutritious treat that feels indulgent. Replace any of those ingredients with one half of an avocado. You'll get a similarly creamy texture — and far more bang for your nutritional buck.
- Concoct a healthy pudding. Craving pudding—but not the added sugar and artificial flavors packaged varieties entail? Blend one avocado with a ¼ cup of vanilla-flavored coconut or almond milk. Add two tablespoons of honey (to taste) for a nourishing and tasty vanilla pudding-like treat. Need a chocolate fix? Add a little cocoa powder to transform the recipe into fudge pudding.
- Bake avocado fries. Replace starchy fries with an avocado alternative! Simply peel and slice two to four avocados into strips; create a mixture of garlic powder and salt (1/4 teaspoon each) and ¼ cup of flour. Dip each “fry" into milk, then dredge through the flour mixture. Place the fry on a baking sheet, gently press panko or breadcrumbs onto the top and sides of each fry. Bake at 420 degrees for about 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Scoop for an edible bowl. Avocados aren't just delicious in tuna, egg and crab salads—they can serve double-duty as an edible bowl. Slice an avocado in half lengthwise, and remove the pit. Scoop out a little avocado to make enough room for your salad; mash the avocado you removed with a fork, blend into the salad and spoon it into the avocado.
- Replace mayonnaise. Instantly slash calories and boost the nutritional value of traditional recipes that use mayonnaise like deviled eggs, tuna melts, chicken salad and potato salad, by replacing the mayo with mashed avocado.
- Freeze for ice cream. Screaming for ice cream—but not all the fat and calories that usually accompany the frozen treat? Blend two ripe, pitted and peeled avocados, one can of coconut milk, ½ cup raw honey, one pitted medjool date, and a pinch of sea salt until smooth. Freeze for about four hours, or until firm.
- Make antioxidant tea. About 70% of an avocado's antioxidant properties come from it's seeds; don't toss those avocado pits into the trash! Instead, boil the pit for about 30 minutes to make an antioxidant tea. Because avocado seeds may taste bitter, add a little raw honey and cinnamon to sweeten.
This post is sponsored by Avocados from Mexico.