This year, before the big ball drops in Times Square, millions of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose weight. Hass avocados provide a delicious way for consumers to stick to healthy resolutions. Registered dietitian and nutrition communications expert Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., offers the following five tips to help get your new year off to a healthy start, and keep it that way.
– Reframe Resolutions from Can’t-Haves to Must-Haves: Diets by elimination rarely work and don’t have staying power. Instead of dwelling on the foods you can’t have, focus on all delicious, healthy foods you can have to help make eating better a success. As long as you base your diet on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there is always room to enjoy treats in moderation.
– Substitute Avocados for Other Sources of Fat: Avocados are a great replacement for spreads or dressings that may be rich in saturated fat. Some spreads or dressings also may be lacking beneficial carotenoids, like lutein and zeaxanthin, which avocados contain. Use avocado slices on top of salads to replace some salad dressings, on sandwiches to replace high saturated fat spreads or as a spread on toast.
– Choose Slimming Appetizers: An appetizer that is low in calories, but big in volume will help reduce overall calories consumed at meals. Instead of reaching for the bread bowl, start meals with some crunchy vegetable sticks dipped in guacamole or a tomato-based soup topped with diced avocado.
– Curb Cravings: While eating breakfast can help to control overeating later in the day, lunch, dinner and the occasional mid-afternoon snack cannot be overlooked. Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day help to maintain blood sugar levels and keep hunger and cravings at bay. Avocados, which are a good source of fiber, offer a great way to meet the USDA’s recommendations of seven or more servings of produce a day.
– Progress, Not Perfection: It’s okay to occasionally throw your diet out the window for a few days, but don’t let that become the habit. Learning to eat healthy is a lifestyle change and will not happen overnight. If you find yourself getting off track, bring the focus back to eating fresh fruits and vegetables during meals and snacks, as they help you get the most nutrients per calories. Engaging in regular physical activity also will help get your eating back in line.
“Avocados are a great addition to any meal and a great way to help consumers meet the USDA Dietary Guidelines, which recommend that Americans consume seven or more servings of produce a day. A 55-calorie serving of avocado (1/5 of an avocado) provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value for fiber and 25 other nutrients,” says Julie Upton, M.S., R.D. and a nutrition communications expert. “The people who are most successful in keeping their resolutions are committed to change, set realistic goals and are not deterred by slight setbacks.”
For people who are looking to start a diet, or just eat better, experts suggest reframing resolutions to include more great-tasting and satisfying foods like Hass avocados.
New Year’s Guacamole (Courtesy of the Hass Avocado Board)
6 large ripe Hass avocados, peeled, seeded, cut in chunks
2 tbsp. chipotle sauce or chipotle salsa
4 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh orange or tangerine juice
2 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
Additional pomegranate seeds, for garnish
White corn tortilla chips, for serving
In small bowl, whisk chipotle sauce and maple syrup together until creamy. In large bowl, mash avocado with juice. Add chipotle-maple mixture and blend gently. Add diced chilies, pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt if desired. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with additional pomegranate seeds for garnish. Serve with white corn tortilla chips. Yields about 16 appetizer servings.
For more delicious Hass avocado recipes, please visit avocadocentral.com.
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