July 21, 2014
With nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, it is no wonder the avocado is considered a nutrient powerhouse. Here are a few fun facts from the California Avocado Commission.
• Avocados are actually classified as a fruit rather than a vegetable.
• They contain 5 grams of fat per serving and most of if is of the heart-healthy monounsaturated variety.
• The American-grown avocado’s official name is Persea americana, but it’s often referred to as an alligator pear due to its unique skin texture.
• California supplies 90 percent of the U.S. with avocados, with 40 percent of that total grown in San Diego County alone.
• Adored by many, 43 percent of all U.S. households purchase fresh avocados for their recipes at home.
Avocadoes are not only nutritious, they are a super versatile ingredient that can be used in everything from baked goods to beverages. They’re also great in sandwiches, salads and, of course, the ever-popular guacamole. Here are some delicious recipes that make great use of the avocado’s unique flavor and texture.
Southwest Salad in a Jar
Delicious and visually appealing, jar salads are a fun way to eat healthy. Serves 1
Tip: Jars can be prepared several days ahead for quick grab and go lunches.
¼ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup canned whole kernel corn
½ small green bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
¼ medium avocado, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. olive oil
1 oz. fat-free, shredded cheddar cheese
Using a clean 12-oz. Mason jar (with lid), layer each ingredient evenly in the order listed, placing the heavier, sturdier ingredients at the bottom. Secure the lid on the jar and shake until blended.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 283, Fat 16g, Carbohydrates 21g, Protein 16g
Grilled Shrimp Boats
This easy recipe is great for a lazy Sunday afternoon barbeque.
Tip: Carb counters rejoice! This lower-carb meal can also be made with other grilled seafood or chicken.
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 medium ripe avocados, sliced in half lengthwise, pitted (leaving skin intact)
6 oz. medium raw peeled shrimp
½ cup store-bought salsa, your choice
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Combine the lime juice, oil, garlic powder and salt/pepper in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on the cut side of the avocado. Add shrimp to a medium bowl and pour remaining juice mixture on top; gently toss. Place avocado and shrimp on a hot grill. Grill the avocado about 4 to 5 minutes on the fleshy side or until grill marks appear. Remove and set aside. Turn over the shrimp and cook a few more minutes until fully pink. Fill the avocado halves with salsa and top with a few pieces of grilled shrimp. Garnish with cilantro.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 429, Fat 33g, Carbohydrates 20g, Protein 22g
Rich in Vitamins A & C, this refreshing treat packs a big antioxidant punch. Serves 1
Tip: Try adding a scoop of your favorite protein powder for a great post-workout recovery snack.
½ ripe mango, pitted
½ medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 (6 oz.) container fat-free vanilla yogurt
3-4 ice cubes
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 290, Fat 13g, Carbohydrates 41g, Protein 9g
Gina Crome is a Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach. She holds a dual Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology as well as a Masters in Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University whereby she received the Selma Andrews Award for Excellence and Professionalism. Over the past 20 years, Gina’s mission has focused on guiding individuals towards gaining a better quality of life. She has previously struggled with her own weight issues and has since lost a total of 172 pounds, driving her passion home to promote healthier lifestyles. Gina is available for media interviews and community appearances and she is the author of various online nutrition and fitness columns.