NOW IN SEASON! 

Healthy Choices = Healthy Habits 

It’s always a good time to take a closer look at how your plate shapes up and explore the numerous ways in which healthy habits pay off. One healthy habit is eating a powerful plant-based diet that includes fruits like nutrient-dense California Avocados. 

When it comes to improving health and nutrition, one of the most beneficial changes we can make is to cut back on animal foods and eat more plant foods. If you want to really go further with your plant foods, aim to eat more heart-healthy* superfoods, like California Avocados. Avocados provide nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, and more importantly, they provide beneficial unsaturated fats (good fats) that help lower heart disease risk. Why do you need fats? Because the body needs some dietary fat in moderation to help with absorption of nutrients. Good fats can help improve intake of dietary without raising LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and over 75% of the fat in avocados are unsaturated fats. 

*While many factors affect heart disease, diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Avocados: An All-Day Kind of Food

Look at your typical day and consider the number of times you eat. Is there room in any of those “eating events” to add more plant foods? 

Avocados are incredibly versatile, and you can enjoy them all day long. If you want to power up your breakfast, consider adding avocado to whole grain toast with eggs. Need to get smarter with your snacks? Avocados go great in smoothies and as a dip for nutrient dense vegetables. You can work avocados into casseroles, soups and salads as a way to add more plant power at every meal.

I love incorporating avocados into my meals and snacks because of their delicious flavor, healthy fats profile and because they provide incredible nutrition and mouthfeel to so many types of foods! To tap into the varied ways avocados can be consumed, check out these three recipes: 

Power Hour Pick Me Up Smoothie

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Farro with California Avocado, Tomato and Basil

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California Avocado Sourdough Toast

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Paying Mind to Portion Size

Another important idea to keep in mind is to pay attention to portion size. A serving size of avocado is one-third of a medium avocado (50 g) which has 80 calories and is a good source of fiber, making it a good choice for a healthy diet. 

If you’re keeping an eye on calories, look for recipes that feature nutrition analysis. Portion-controlled snacking is easy when you use plant-based recipes like these California Avocado Cucumber Cups.

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I love this recipe because it’s entirely plant-based and very satisfying for just 100 calories. You get a lot of “bang for your bite” with a recipe like this that fills you up without filling you out!

Meal Prepping for Success

Eating at home is another great way to go further with your food choices because in your home kitchen, YOU control the quality, portions and ingredients that make up a healthy meal plan. Try to buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days, and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week. 

If you have extra avocado on hand, preserve it by sprinkling with citrus juice and wrapping tightly in plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator. Avocados also freeze well, so purchase them during peak California Avocado season (March through September) and mash and freeze for later use. Add frozen to smoothies, thaw and use as spread on sandwiches, toss with hot pasta or mix up a bowl of guacamole are just a couple of ways to keep the California season going.  

How to Freeze Avocados

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If the avocados you have on hand aren’t ripe just yet, you can expedite the ripening of avocados by placing them in a brown bag with another piece of fruit like an apple or kiwi.

Avocados also go great in make-ahead recipes like a layered salad. Simply place chopped avocado in the bottom of your salad bowl, top with your favorite chopped vegetables and lettuce and then add a vinaigrette or lemon-based dressing. The acid in the dressing helps preserve the bright green avocados until you’re ready to enjoy. When it’s time to eat, simply toss and serve! 
 

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