Written by Allison Sappington

Avocado. Mhhm Mhhm Mhhhhhm. Yea, delicious. But what makes them so good for us?

Omega 3's. We've heard a lot about them lately, but why? Omega 3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats, meaning our body cannot make them. The only way we can obtain these essential nutrients is through the food we eat. Feeling groggy? Well hey, maybe you need a nap! Or you need to add some heart healthy Omega 3's to your diet. They are a great source of energy and are considered to be the "good fats" that are vital in maintaining your health. They reduce triglycerides and raise your "good" cholesterol. This can lead to a reduction for your risk of heart disease.

Omega's can be found in an assortment of different fish oils such as salmon and tuna. But what if you're not a "fish person"? I know that personally, fish is not in my typical diet. So what's a delicious way we can obtain those heart healthy omega 3's? Avocado! (Well.. walnuts too, but let's save that for another day)

You can add that avocado to your salad or whip up some delicious, homemade (and easy!) guacamole. Now while guacamole is a tasty way to add many beneficial nutrients to our diet- remember, all foods need to be kept in moderation. Packing on large amounts of that delicious green paste can add up in calories quicker than you may think. I've got a couple of techniques to can help you turn this into a (somewhat) "guilt free" snack.

1. Knock out those greasy chips and add in more veggies. If you can't exactly manage to leave your salty snack behind, at least swop them out for the healthier baked version. Maybe even switch back and forth between dipping with veggies and chips. I personally like the pretzel crisps with my guac, just make sure to stay within the serving size!

2. Instead of using 2-3 avocados in your guacamole, swop half of that out for another lower calorie vegetable, such as asparagus! This is a great way to lower calories and fat without substituting taste. Along with healthy amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, asparagus is also loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants have been known to promote many healthy functions and have even been thought to prevent heart disease.

Below you will find a comparison between store bought guacamole and my version of the "Asparagus Avocado Guacamole".

Let's be honest here, we don't just eat 2 tbsp of guacamole. We will sit there and eat the whole bowl. So I set the serving size at a more realistic amount. (For comparison ½ cup is about 8tbsp)

Avocado Guacamole                           Asparagus Avocado Guacamole
Serving size          ½ C                                   ½ C
Calories/serving 200                                   140
Fat (g)                    14                                     9
Sodium (mg)        420                                  386
Potassium (mg)   500                                  380
Carb (g)                 16                                    11.5
Fiber (g)                 8                                       6

Asparagus Avocado Guacamole Recipe:
• Ingredients:
o 1/2lb asparagus (~22 spears)
o 1 avocado
o 1/2 lime
o 2 cloves garlic
o 1/4 c red onion
o 1/4 c cilantro
o 1 tomato
o Alternative: while fresh ingredients are always better, the garlic/onion/cilantro/tomato can be substituted with some chunky salsa
o Dunkers: carrots (buy whole carrots and cut them yourself- ever wonder why baby carrots turn white after a week or so? Chemicals such as chlorine are added as preservatives- yikes!), cut up peppers, cucumber, *baked tortilla chips/ pretzel crisps

1. Steam asparagus in boiling water until tender (~4-5 minutes)


Side note- you will soon realize from my kitchen utensils that I love pigs

2. Once asparagus has cooled (I ran some cold water over it), place into food processor and blend until smooth (Warning- this step may slightly resemble baby food)

3. On to the avocado. Get rid of the seed and use a spoon to scrape out the meat. If you like your guacamole smooth, add the avocado to the blender. I prefer it chunky so I used a fork to mash it up then added to the asparagus mixture.

4. Add lime juice, garlic

5. Chop up onion, tomato (scoop seeds out of tomato), cilantro and stir into the avocado/asparagus mixture

6. Grab those veggies (or *baked chips) and dunk into that delicious homemade Guac!