By Lindsey Toth from Fresh Squeezed Nutrition
Welcome to the beginning of The Super Breakfast Bowl Challenge everyone! I hope you are all revved up and ready to challenge your early-morning selves with some breakfasty goodness.
Today’s the day we tout the wonderful characteristics of the Avocado. You can review the complete challenge perks and guidelines here, but to recap, send your creative avocado breakfast creations +pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, February 14th. The winner of today’s challenge will get The Chef’n Vibe Avocado Slicer, courtesy of Kitchen Stuff Plus, an avocado gift pack, courtesy of Avocados from Mexico, and a boat load of Newman’s Own Organic products.
Now for the Avocado Fun!
The avocado is actually a fruit, not a vegetable, and is native to the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and Central America, although you could try growing one in your own home or backyard if you’d like. These pear-shaped fruits pack a mean nutrient-rich punch, weighing in at about 250 calories each, less than 5 grams of fat per serving, 80 micrograms of lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene (which both help to maintain eye health), and over 20 other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. In short, avocados are nutrient powerhouses!
You heard correctly when I said avocados have fat in them – did you know they had fat? Yep, a fruit with fat. Who’da thunk? This isn’t greasy, fried-food fat though, it’s a heart-healthy fat called monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is good for your heart because it has actually been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels – LDL cholesterol – in your blood, lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Shopping for Avocados
So how do you know if an avocado is ripe for the pickin’ at your local supermarket? First off, try to avoid ones with dark blemishes on the skin, or ones that are overly soft. The best way to tell if an avocado is ready for immediate consumption is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm, but it will wield slightly to the pressure. If you plan to use the fruit in a few days, pick avocados that are extra-firm, so they will be ripe by the time you want to use them. Only hard, and unripened avocados at your stores? When you get home, place the unripened fruit in a brown paper bag and store it at room temperature until it’s ready to eat – you can even throw in an apple or a banana to accelerate the process, as these fruits give off a ripening agent called ethylene. Soft fruit can be placed in the refrigerator until it is ready to eat, but not more than a few days because it can become too ripe.
How Do I Eat an Avocado?
One of the trickiest things about avocados, I think, is figuring out how to eat them. They are an awkward shape, with an awkward pit, and an awkward skin. Awwwkwaaaaaaaard. So, what’s the trick to digging into this delicious fruit?
- Start with a ripe avocado, and run your knife lengthwise around it to split the avocado in half.
- Now the tricky part: removing the pit. If you’re up to the challenge, use a knife to strike the pit, making it stick. Once the knife is stuck in the pit, rotate it, and pull the knife and pit out of the avocado. If that seems a little too Evel Knievel for you, you can use a spoon to scoop it out.
- If you’re looking for pretty slices, gently use a butter knife to slice strips of avocado (careful not to slice through the skin), and then turn the skin inside out to release the meat. If you’re making a spread or a dip, and don’t care what it looks like, just use a spoon to scoop the avocado out.
Avocado Breakfast Toast
There are a zillion ways to eat an avocado: topped on a salad, mixed as guacamole, rolled into sushi – the list is endless! My all-time favorite way to eat avocado though, is in Avocado Toast. I found this recipe in the cookbook Muscle Chow, from the fabulous folks at Men’s Health magazine, and made a few tiny recipe tweaks to fit my personal fancy. The foreword of the book was written by David Grotto, RD, LDN, who is a leader in the field of nutrition and dietetics. I figured if he was on board, the book must be worth checking out. Use your shopping and eating skills from above to take this toast for morning test drive!
2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted
2 teaspoons of Dijon-honey mustard
½ avocado, peeled and sliced
½ tomato, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of dried basil
½ tablespoon of ground flaxseed
Salt and pepper to taste
- Spread 1 teaspoon of the Dijon-honey mustard on each piece of toast.
- Add half of the avocado and half of the tomato to each slice.
- Drizzle each slice of toast with the olive oil.
- Sprinkle both slices with the basil, ground flaxseed, and the salt and pepper
- Eat with caution – this can get messy but it’s totally worth it!!
We Challenge YOU!
Now that you’re in-the-know on the awesomeness of avocados, don’t forget to send us YOUR crazy avocado breakfast creations. If your creation is chosen, you’ll be the lucky winner of The Chef’n Vibe Avocado Slicer, an avocado gift pack courtesy of Avocados from Mexico, and a ton of Newman’s Own Organics products – AND your recipe will be featured on all four of our blogs!