It’s important to avoid unhealthy saturated fat, but how do you add flavor and a sense that food is filling without fat? Health experts say to try introducing avocados into your recipes.
Saturated fats, found in butter, cheese, and red meat, raise the risk of high cholesterol and can contribute to plaques that clog arteries. However, switching saturated fats for monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels. Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fat.
While still high in calories—half of a small avocado is about 140 to 150 calories—avocados are high in potassium and fiber, lend a pleasant taste, and are filling. A recent study in the journal Preventive Cardiology showed that when participants substituted one Hass avocado a day for the saturated fat they would normally eat, LDL (bad) cholesterol went down.
Here are some tasty tips for using avocados to replace unhealthy fats:
- Substitute cubes of avocado for cubes of cheese on a salad.
- Smear a slice of bread with avocado instead of butter.
- Place slices of avocado in tortilla soup as a replacement for fried tortilla strips.
- Replace meats in sandwiches with slices of avocado.
- Use avocado as an alternative to butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, or cheese in almost any dish.
- Blend avocado into tuna fish as a replacement for mayonnaise.
- When shopping, select ripe avocados that yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. Too much give is the mark of an avocado that’s too ripe.
Avocados begin to turn brown after exposure to oxygen, so peel and cut them right before you intend to serve. If you need to prepare them in advance, however, sprinkling them with lemon or lime juice can prevent this process.