Every Thursday, I will be posting about one of my favorite foods for "Teaching Good Eaters." For my very first "My Favorite Foods," post, I have chosen the Avocado.
This is one of my favorite foods for so many reasons...
Avocado is a perfect food for babies
I first discovered this with my oldest. I mentioned in my post, "Let's Start From the Very Beginning," that when my daughter was a baby, she pretty much rejected baby food. Whether she didn't like soft food, or whether it was the fact that she didn't like being fed (she is quite an independent soul) I can't be quite sure. But, whatever the reason, by 8 months, she had completely abandoned baby food and I had to find finger foods that she could feed herself.
I read the book Super Baby Food. I don't remember much else about the book, but what I do remember was her statement that avocado is pretty much a perfect food with a great mix of vitamins and healthy fats.
I started buying avocados and chopping them into small bite sized pieces. At some meals, my daughter would eat an entire half of an avocado! I'd round it out with some fruit and turkey, chicken, or black beans, and I'd know that I had met her nutritional needs.
Avocado is Great for Toddlers
As toddlers, my kids still ate a lot of avocado all by itself. By this time, I would just cut it in slices. When my daughter was 14 months old, we moved and she subsequently went through a "picky," phase. Fortunately, she only had good foods to pick from, but, for weeks, she pretty much only ate black olives, grapes, and avocado. We called it her "Mediterranean diet." Since she was eating avocado, I didn't worry, because it's such a nutritional powerhouse!
Avocados have a great mix of carbohydrates (most of which are fiber!), fat (including the healthy fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6), and protein.
Avocados are Nutrient Dense. They serve up a hearty dose of Vitamins C, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and Folate. They are also rich in Potassium and contain Iron, and Calcium, as well as, a mix or other vitamins and minerals. For the nutritional label for Haas Avocados, click here.
Picking a Good Avocado
Making sure that your avocado is ripe enough, is a key to enjoying avocados. Avocados that aren't ripe enough are hard, stringy, and lack taste.
I always buy Haas Avaocados. If they're green, they are not ripe. Leave them on your counter or in a brown paper bag until they are black and yield to the touch.
Once they ripen they will usually keep in the refrigerator for a few days. When you cut it, it should slice easily. Your knife should just slide through it. If it's overly ripe, you will notice bruising. Much like a bruised banana, you can cut around it and eat the green parts.
Avocados will start to brown once exposed to oxygen, much like apples, so don't cut more than you intend to you use. To reduce browning, store with the seed in an airtight container.
How to Eat an Avocado
My kids still like to eat plain avocados. I prefer them with cheese and black beans, or turkey. I'll serve it in a bean and cheese or turkey and cheese quesadilla or sandwich. I also like it on a bagel with melted cheese. With refried beans and/ or melted cheese it makes a wonderful comfort food. I also love to toss it in a salad or use it to top soup or chili.
What's your favorite way to serve avocado? I'd love to hear your ideas!