by Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD
Hardly mainstream when I was a child, these curious fruits have become quite the versatile and popular food lately, and for good reason. I’ve been experimenting with these green beauties, and have to say I’m so impressed with the results! There are some wonderful reasons to include avocado in your family meals, and extremely easy ways to do so.
Because its flavor is mild, it’s easy on young, developing palates, and the texture is silky smooth, allowing parents to introduce it as one of baby’s first foods.
There are many things that make avocados …. awesome:
Fat: The heart-healthy fat found in avocados is primarily monounsaturated, amazing for children’s developing brains and helpful for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Fiber: This feature, along with the fat, assists digestion and can help children who struggle with constipation.
Vitamins and Minerals: Avocados offer some great potassium, an essential electrolyte that runs our heart and assists in healthy muscle development. Additionally, they contains some Vitamin K and Vitamin E, both fat-soluble vitamins that assist in healthy blood clotting and provide strong antioxidant properties, respectively. The B vitamins, including folic acid, help in maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and are a key to unlocking the energy that other foods provide.
Flexibility and Versatility: You can work an avocado into endless meals in so many different ways. It lends well to whatever flavors you pair with it, and can be a nice change from typical condiments, spreads or dips.
- Add some cinnamon and applesauce to mashed avocado for a sweet snack
- Combine it with some tomatoes, onions and peppers for a dip with a zing
- Try spreading some on your morning toast, then top it off with an egg
- Dice some into your favorite pasta salad
Here’s one of my latest finds:
Avocado-Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pickled Celery
To prevent avocado from browning in leftover egg salad, place any remaining salad in a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Then cover the entire bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 sandwich)
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons dry-roasted salted sunflower seeds
- 8 (1-ounce) slices whole-grain bread, toasted
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 4 heirloom tomato slices
- Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of 1 inch; set a large vegetable steamer in pan. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add eggs to steamer. Cover and steam eggs 16 minutes. Remove from heat. Place eggs in a large ice water-filled bowl.
- While eggs cook, combine 3 tablespoons water, vinegar, and sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until boiling. Add celery; let stand 15 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, combine avocado, mayonnaise, juice, mustard, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well until smooth.
- Peel eggs; discard shells. Slice eggs in half lengthwise; reserve 2 yolks for another use. Chop remaining eggs and egg whites. Gently stir eggs, celery, and sunflower seeds into avocado mixture. Top 4 bread slices with about 1/2 cup egg mixture, 1/4 cup arugula, 1 tomato slice, and remaining 4 bread slices.
Sydney Fry, MS, RD,