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Our Blog: May 7, 2024

The Awesome Avocado

Avocados are on my top ten list of healthy eats and one of my favorite foods. I could eat it on just about anything, during any meal of the day—breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I’ve even enjoyed it as a delicious topping on pizza once! I hope this article inspires you to keep an open mind and enjoy avocados in new-to-you ways.

Unique Characteristics

Avocados ripen best after being picked. It may take four to five days for them to fully ripen. Unripe avocados have softer skin whereas ripe avocados have a bumpier texture. They’re even called “alligator pears” by some! As it ripens, the avocado should feel slightly soft but not mushy. If it becomes mushy, it is likely over-ripe and will have turned brown inside rather than be a creamy green color. If you purchase an unripe avocado and need it to ripen quickly, place it in a brown paper bag with a piece of fruit, such as an apple or banana. These fruits produce ethylene gas and will speed up the ripening process.

Versatile, Delicious, and Healthy

Avocados are a good source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6. They also contain riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also low in sugar and high in fiber, which helps your cardiovascular and digestive systems. The only downside to avocados is you can go overboard since they are packed with calories. Like most things, moderation is key.

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower your LDL a.k.a. “bad cholesterol.” You can even use avocado to replace less-healthy fats when cooking at home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Spread avocado on sandwich bread in place of mayonnaise
  • Instead of dunking veggies into a creamy dressing or dip, try guacamole
  • Forego shredded cheese on your salad and add avocado instead
  • Replace butter or oil in baked goods with mashed avocado

Cutting an avocado can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with the process. Watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to do so safely. This is something you’ll want to handle (not the kids)! There are many avocado-cutting tools available that could also help you with the process. Check this list for ideas.

Ready to get started? Try one of our Grow Fit®-inspired recipes:

  • Breakfast: Tomato Basil Avocado Toast
  • Lunch: Avocado Egg Salad
  • Dinner: Avocado Smothered Chicken
  • Snack: White Bean Guacamole Dip

Tomato Basil Avocado Toast* (Serves 2 Adults)


10 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
½ tsp. olive oil
2 pieces multigrain or whole wheat bread, toasted
1 small avocado
1 Tbsp. basil, chopped


  1. For young assistants: Have them smash the avocado in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the quartered tomatoes, chopped basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Toast the slices of bread.
  3. Slather each side of the toast with the smashed avocado.
  4. For young assistants: Have them top the avocado with ½ of the tomato mixture on each side.

Avocado Egg Salad (Serves 4 Adults)


1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped  
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice  
1 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped  
⅛ tsp. black pepper


  1. For young assistants: Have them mash the avocado in a medium-sized mixing bowl using a potato masher or a large fork.
  2. Peel and chop the hard-boiled eggs into ½ inch pieces and add to the avocado bowl.
  3. For young assistants: Have them add the remaining ingredients (mayonnaise, dill, parsley, lemon juice, chives, and pepper) to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve immediately with bread, crackers, or vegetables.

Avocado Smothered Chicken (Serves 6 Adults)


2 lbs. chicken breast
2 large avocados
¼ cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 Tbsp. red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
¼ tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lay the chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  3. For young assistants: Have them sprinkle the chicken with black pepper.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the avocado, sundried tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro.
  5. For young assistants: Have them stir the ingredients and mash the avocado until well combined. Some avocado chunks will remain!
  6. Spread the avocado mixture on top of each piece of chicken. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and back for 25 to 35 minutes until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  7. Remove the foil for the last 3 to 5 minutes and set the oven to broil to brown the cheese.

White Bean Guacamole** (Serves 6 to 8 Adults)


2 cups avocado (about 2 to 3), chopped
1 cup white beans, canned (no salt added)
½ tsp. sea salt
2 to 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 to 2 cups baby spinach


  1. For young assistants: Have them drain and rinse the white beans.
  2. Place the avocado, white beans, salt, lemon juice, and baby spinach in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. Season to taste with additional salt or lemon juice.
  4. Note: If too thick, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of water.
  5. Serve immediately with bread, crackers, or vegetables.

Offering early veggie variety is key to raising adventurous, healthy eaters. Avocados pair well with many dishes and may help children try more vegetables. We hope you will join the Veggies Early & Often campaign at home by being a role model for children through cooking and eating a balanced, plant-forward diet.


*This recipe is veggie-forward and is approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America to meet the Veggies Early & Often guidelines. Approved 8/1/2023. **This recipe is veggie-forward and is approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America to meet the Veggies Early & Often guidelines. Approved 3/6/2024. 

About the Author

Nicole Spain, MS, RDN

Childhood nutrition has been Nicole’s passion for more than 20 years. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a Master of Science (MS) in Nutrition and Dietetics from Northern Illinois University. During her career with Learning Care Group (LCG), Nicole has assisted with developing and implementing the company’s proprietary Grow Fit program. Through her curated menus, the healthy lifestyle initiative positively impacts approximately 100,000 children daily in LCG’s 1,050+ schools. She aided in the rollout of the Veggies Early & Often campaign in 2021 and helped LCG be recognized as the 2017 Partner of the Year by the Partnership for a Healthier America. Since 2004, she’s also been an active Junior League member and developed the Kids in the Kitchen program for their Detroit and Milwaukee chapters. Nicole and her husband, John, have three children. In her spare time, Nicole competes on a rowing team with the Detroit Boat Club Crew.