Friday, May 30, 2014

A Simple, Healthy Meal Replacement

Whether it's a green smoothie or one of the many powdered fitness shakes on the market, meal replacement shakes seem to be all the rage right now. I like a good smoothie every once in a while (preferably with fruit and yogurt...yum!), but I personally will not use any kind of smoothie in place of a meal. Here's why:

  • Cleaning our blender is a pain. I have no desire to do that every day.
  • Meal replacement powders are expensive! I know people who use them and love them, and some who even sell them. I haven't tried any of these shakes, so I can't speak to the quality or health factor, but at this time I can't justify the cost when I feel we are already eating a pretty healthy, real food diet.
  • I prefer to chew my food. Drinking a meal just doesn't satisfy me (even if it's filling), and I end up munching on something just to feel like I've eaten. That kind defeats the purpose of a meal replacement.
Instead, I have found a healthy, easy-to-prepare, easy-to-eat meal replacement. I don't need to break out my blender, and the only things I need to eat it are a sharp knife and a spoon.

Enter The Avocado:

I love avocados! Whether it's mashed up as guacamole or sliced on a sandwich (seriously, try it with grilled cheese), I haven't found an avocado I haven't liked. They're also really good for you. Just look at all these health benefits:
  • Protein: An avocado contains between three and four grams of protein.
  • Fiber: An avocado has 10 grams of dietary fiber.
  • Vitamins: Avocados are rich in potassium and vitamins C, E, K, folate, lutein, and B6. In fact, an avocado contains over one-third the daily value of vitamin C and more than half of your daily requirement of vitamin K.
  • Essential Fatty Acids and Amino Acids: Yes, our bodies do need fat. In fact, the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat found in Avocados help you feel satiated, and help our bodies absorb key antioxidants.

Move over, banana! The avocado is nature's perfect food.


A Quick & Easy Lunch:

Several years ago, an expert on one of those morning news shows recommended that an avocado was a better choice than a protein bar if you needed a quick meal. Just cut it open and eat it with a spoon. This has quickly become one of my favorite ways to eat an avocado. Here are my three favorite ways to use it as a quick meal replacement:

Option 1: Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (emphasis on "a little" - the amount in the picture above is too much!). Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and enjoy! 
Option 2: Follow the directions above, only fill the hole left by the pit with salsa instead of sprinkling with salt and pepper. Eat with a spoon.
This is my favorite way to eat an avocado! It's like eating guacamole without all the work.  

Option 3: Fill the hole left by the pit with a little chicken salad or tuna. Yum!

Avocados are pretty economical. Depending on sales, I can get an avocado for $1-$2 each. That's about the cost of a Greek yogurt, and definitely less expensive per serving than a popular powdered meal replacement.
The best part about any of the options above is that they're quick to prepare and easy to eat. As a mom to a busy toddler, this is hugely important to me. I don't have a lot of time to make anything elaborate at lunch time!

More Ideas for Avocado:

Avocados are such a versatile food. They're delicious when chopped to top a salad, sliced and added to a sandwich, and of course, mashed into guacamole and served with chips. I've even seen recipes to use avocado in place of mayonnaise in chicken salad. You can find a few other fun ideas for avocados here.

 What's your favorite quick and easy lunch? How do you like to eat avocado?

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  1. I can't believe I missed this post when I commented earlier. During most of my pregnancy with my little one, I ate so many avocados that I'm surprised he didn't turn into one. We eat them sliced in half and then sliced horizontally in slices with lemon and lime juice squeezed on it (as well as salt and freshly ground black pepper sprinkled on). Yum! I need to try using it as a chicken/tuna salad boat, though.

    1. Oh my goodness, Susan, me too!! When I was expecting Kiddo, I could get avocados for $0.78 each and I would go through at least 4 a week. My favorite way to eat it was sliced on a toasted bagel. Yum!
      I'm glad you saw this and left a comment! You know... There are a few ways you can make sure you don't miss a post. May I recommend subscribing by email or Bloglovin’? :)


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