Updated: Jul 25, 2020
I’m not one for small talk, so let’s dive in to what makes the Avocado priceless.
I’ll even give you a couple quick n' easy science-based recipes that your whole tribe can enjoy. This post goes a lot deeper than the pit of an avocado.
First off, avocados are a fruit. Botanically speaking, it matches the profile of the offspring of a seed-bearing plant. It’s a delicious nutritious single-seed berry!1
1. Nutritionally speaking, it might as well be a fatty veggie.
If you take a look at the nutrition facts panel that I’ve outlined below, it’s pretty clear what I mean by this. They're naturally high in healthy fat and fiber, rich in diverse vitamins and minerals, and with less than half a gram of naturally occurring sugar. They’re fairly high in water too.
On the other hand, the macro-nutrient profile of most fruits is largely dominated by simple carbohydrates. Avocado is a big exception.
As such, it’s widely acceptable in a variety of diets, if you so choose to follow one.
I eat at least half an avocado a day, often a whole one. I typically eat it in thirds, incorporating it into my three meals a day.
Yes, I eat three meals a day – not six. Research actually supports this, particularly for longevity.2,3
Three meals, versus six, helps my body to pseudo-fast between meals, which gives not only my digestive system time to process and rest, but also time to burn existing reserves versus regularly adding more fuel to the tank. It's also harder to regulate Calorie intake when eating 5 or 6 meals a day.
Some days I only eat two bigger meals and a small snack. I never skip breakfast, as there are many negative side-effects associated with this.3
This is a deep topic with a lengthy list of potential benefits, including cellular and DNA repair and cognitive improvement. It requires its own post. Stay tuned. We’ll even scratch the surface of the benefits of time restricted feeding or TRF.
2. Avocados are Widely Acceptable in a Variety of Diet Plans
For those that choose to follow one of the mainstream diets, it will behoove you to know that the avocado is an “approved food” for many of these.
That said, a known side-effect of following new diet trends is that they can be both expensive and confusing.
“So which foods do I eat now? And what am I supposed to omit? I just got a budget going and now we’re switching plans?? How do I cook for this one? No one likes this dish..."
Hence my slogan: “when mainstream fails”, because too often it does.
3. Take a load off:
Avocados can be eaten raw, they are high in calories and loaded with essential nutrients, and will probably fit into your food plan. Most likely, your grocery budget approves.
Note: I am not promoting any one of these diets per say, just note that avocados are a cost-effective buy for those folks who choose to follow one.
A few examples: Keto, paleo, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, lectin-free, whole-30, South Beach, Mediterranean, Atkins, kosher, halal, Seventh-Day-Adventist, and on and on.
Let's talk about Cost per Calorie (kcal)
Starting with an intro to the table below.
First, I selected prices from a large grocery chain in Texas, that may be replicable for various other chains around the country (Safeway, QFC, Kroger, etc).
I chose not to include Costco or Sam’s club because they require memberships and primarily sell bulk-buy items. Some folks cannot afford the additional fees and/or do not prefer to buy in bulk.
I also did not include Trader Joe’s because some locations don’t have a TJ’s. Also, their individual avocados are more expensive than HEB, and their bulk buys tend to contain a smaller variety, which end up being more expensive as well.
Go Organic or Not? There are many reasons to buy organic, one of which is minimizing exposure to harsh chemicals applied to plants.
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a useful link with the top 12 "dirtiest" foods that are ideal as organic produce picks, and what they call the "clean-15" that are essentially least likely to have a high level of pesticide residue (okay to buy inorganic).
4. The avocado is on the "clean-15" list. I don't buy organic avocados for cost-saving reasons.
Next, I compiled key figures into the table below. This includes the average prices of avocados with and without potential sales in my neck of the woods. That’s why you may see two prices averaged first, then divided by Calories per avocado. So, some months you’ll find the cost per kcal even lower than this average.
For your own costing: simply find your own store’s prices and insert them in the appropriate spot in the equations. Also, if you eat closer to 2500 kcal per day, or 1400 kcal per day, your total cost per kcal will be different.
Be sure to adjust your calculations for whatever your particular Calorie intake is. I used the DRI average of 2000 Calories per day, per standard food labels.
Note: For bulk buys (think multiple avocados sold in a bag) just insert your quantity, and be sure to correct the calories per avocado if your selection is different than a “medium” avocado (which weighs about 0.3 pounds).
The second row displays the formulas, the third row: the results in $/kcal or $/month.
The first four math columns calculate the following: cost ($) divided by Calories (kcal) for that item (which equals “cost per kcal” or $/kcal).
The last two columns take the “cost per kcal” from the two highlighted columns [with the highest (red) and lowest (green) prices], and multiplies it by a 2000 Calorie diet, and then by 30.44 days per month (ie: 365 days per year divided by 12 months, factoring leap year).
Conclusions: If one were to subsist on avocados alone for an entire month, and ate a 2000 kcal/day diet, then their average grocery bill would be:
$201 per month for inorganic single-buy avocados
$432 per month for organic single-buy avocados
What I am not saying: I am certainly not recommending for anyone to only eat avocados every day of their life (this would likely result in various nutrient deficiencies and related negative effects).
What I am saying: While they’re often demonized for their lofty price tag,
Avocados are actually a yummy means to helping control one’s food budget while meet daily nutrient needs in a healthful and nourishing way.
To Summarize, Avocados are...
A part of the diet of many centenarians around the world -- healthy for the long-run!
They're full of "healthy fats" namely mono and poly-unsaturated fats, potassium, fiber, folate, and other nutrients! (note the nutrition facts panel above)
They're budget friendly when it comes to meeting nutrient and energy needs, and are a very versatile vegetable-like fruit that's easy to cook with.
In addition to my bowls, include them as a fat-substitute in: Smoothies, creamy soups, baking, condiment in sandwiches/ wraps/ lettuce wraps, in salad dressing and more!
Bottom Line: Don't bypass that avocado on your next grocery trip.
Snag a few for your week and smile when you toast-up your avocado because ultimately, you're saving grocery money too!
Leave me a note -- what's your favorite way to eat an avocado?