Once shunned due to its high-fat content, the avocado is now an *it* food and for good reason. Packed with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, avocados are a nutrient-rich food.
One-third of an average size avocado has about 80 calories and is sodium and cholesterol-free. Over 80 percent of the fats in avocados are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats giving a boost to the heart.
Avocados are a great substitute for foods higher in saturated fat like sour cream, butter, and cheese. They have other superhero-like characteristics and act as a nutrient booster helping your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
How to Buy
When choosing an avocado, gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe avocados are a wee soft yet slightly firm. Since avocados ripen after harvest, Hass Avocado recommends, “To speed up the avocado ripening process we recommend placing unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days until they are ripe.”
You can also leave on your counter and avocados will ripen on their own.
Did you know you can plant avocado pits to grow?
I remember trying to grow an avocado plant as a kid. I never managed to grow an avo tree but it didn’t stop me from trying!
- Remove pit, rinse well, and dry.
- Push three or four toothpicks into the seed at its widest part and suspend the pit over a glass of water with the pointy end sticking up.
- Using warm water, cover about an inch of the seed.
- Place on a windowsill with sunlight and check water level keeping seed moist.
- In 2 to 6 weeks, roots and a stem will sprout from seed. Once the sprout is about 6 inches long, trim it in half.
Visit here for more information on transplanting the seedling to encourage growth!
Different ways to add avocados to your diet (including vegan diets!)
- Use as a spread on toast.
- Mash then mix in corn and tomatoes and serve with tortilla chips or veggies.
- Slice them to top your eggs in the morning.
- Top a baked potato and skip the butter and sour cream.
Below is a recipe for a simple on-the-go lunch and/or dinner idea and how to make guacamole.
White Bean Avocado Wrap (4 wraps makes 2 servings)
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 whole-wheat 6-inch wraps (optional: use 2 burrito-size wraps)
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, sliced
- 4 teaspoons red onion, diced
Mix beans, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic together. Mash the mixture and divide between wraps. Lay the red onion, avocado, and cucumber slices on top, then roll the wrap to serve.
NUTRITION INFO (1 serving – 2 wraps): 550 calories, 25 g protein, 17 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat) 81 g carbs, 20 g fiber, 460 mg sodium
Note: Please don’t freak at the carbs (I don’t). Look at the fiber—nearly a day’s worth! If you prefer a lower carb version, feel free to use lettuce leaves as wraps.
Make ahead tip: Keep the bean mixture prepped and ready-to-go in the fridge.
So easy to make! Mash an avocado or two or three, add diced tomato, red onion, a garlic clove or two, salt and pepper. If you like cilantro, add a bit and if you like a kick, add a jalapeno (diced fine of course!). Yes, that simple! Serve with your favorite chip or veggie.
You must check out this one-minute video of super simple guacamole another intern (Jesus Lopez) demonstrates. So good!
One last thing….
Don’t eat the pit (the seed). Information on the internet claims the pit as a (yawn) superfood due to some preliminary research. According to California Avocado Commission, eating the pit is not recommended. Stick with the proven nutrient-rich meat of an avocado.
Thank you to my past intern Rachael Wright for assisting me with this post!
P.S. I have no affiliation with the avocado industry. My goal is to provide relevant and unbiased health and nutrition information so you make educated decisions.
Jennifer “Neily” Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Neily on Nutrition
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach
Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Photo credits: Neily on Nutrition
Website & blog: NeilyonNutrition.com
I will definitely try the White Bean Avocado Wrap. (Sounds Delicious) I will start using the avocado as a substitute for butter, sour cream, and cheese.
Dana – lmk if you make the wrap! Thanks for your comment 🙂 -Neily
What would an avocado smoothie taste like?
Hmmm…It depends on what else you put in it…make it sweet (so fruit smoothie) or savory (maybe like guacamole 🙂
Love this! Neily, what are you thoughts on Avocado Oil? I’m sure it has all the benefits of the fruit itself but it is also expensive, I find. I haven’t had a chance to look at the evidence myself but I always get asked by patients/friends about oil and temp/smoke point yadda yadda. I don’t think there’s any evidence out there to support not cooking with olive, canola, etc due to “smoke point.” I may have just created a whole new blog post by asking and forgive my lengthy response ?
No worries Jen! Ask away.
I looked at one of my sources from Environmental Nutrition (can’t add an attachment…have it saved in my evernote file). But avocado oil has a high smoke point and is good for stir frying, searing, salad dressings, sauces. According to the chart from EN it’s 520 degree F. For comparison: almond oil 420F, canola 470F, EVOO 410F.
To me…I’m not sure it has as MUCH benefit as the whole avo. I would guess no – maybe missing some phytonutrients and of course fiber. Thanks for asking! -Neily
These are great tips on knowing how to make sure I’m getting a good Avocado at the store and how to add it into my diet. At different sandwich places they offer avocado as a topping and it really makes the sandwich I’m just glad to know it’s a good addition health wise as well as well delicious.
Glad you found the information helpful Meredith!
Being from Peru, avocados are almost necessary in our breakfasts. We usually put it on bread, which may undo it’s good nutrition, but it is still very delicious
I love avocado toast! And no, putting avo on whole wheat bread will NOT undo good nutrition. It’s a myth carbs are bad…they are not (as I hope you’re learning in class)
I love avocados! And the white bean avocado wrap sounds super good, I can’t wait to try it!
Nat – it is…good! Try it and lmk know if you make it.
I love avocados as well!, these recipes sound very delicious, I will be trying the white bean avocado wrap for dinner tomorrow! 🙂 Thanks. Jamala.
Jamala – try it and lmk what you think!
I love avocados and im glad you are making them likable o those who would not eat them!
Yes – aren’t they wonderful??? 🙂
Thanks for your comment – Neily
Hi, I once planted an avocado seed and it grew with in 2 weeks. I had the tree for 2 years. Unfortunately the sun kill it last year. I try this year to do it again but I have not been successful. I will try again next year and hopefully I will do it.
Good for you! Did you ever get anything other than the plant to grow? Did it ever bear avocado?