Navigating the holiday food scene can be a daunting task as too often sweet and savory treats are within arm’s reach.
Overeating unhealthy food itemscan lead to the dreaded and unwanted holiday weight gain, and it can ultimately lead to bigger health complications. However, taking simple steps – like swapping bad fats for good fats, like the ones found in fresh avocados – can help.
Hispanics and Latinos face higher risks of cardiovascular disease because of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. In fact, U.S. Hispanics are dis-proportionally affected by diabetes and are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-Latino whites. Just recently, the American Heart Association redefined the guidelines for high blood pressure, which now means that nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46 percent)has high blood pressure, or hypertension.
So what can we do to help reduce these risk factors?
Simple steps, like eating healthy during the holiday season, can make a difference, and don’t have to be difficult. Simply add fresh avocados to traditional holiday dishes for added health benefits. Avocados are healthy, cholesterol- and sodium-free, and provide naturally good fats.
The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help one control their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Avocados are a healthy, nutrient-rich food that can help boost fruit intake.
Here are a few holiday recipes to celebrate the season from Fresh Avocados – Love One Today®.
Holiday Vegetable and Hass Avocado Sauté Recipe:A colorful medley of zucchini, red bell pepper and fresh avocado, perfect for holiday meals and year-round.
1 ½ Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
½ large shallot, finely chopped
½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
½ red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ripe, fresh Hass avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot and thyme, sauté for 3 minutes.
- Mix in zucchini, bell pepper and lemon peel, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat and cover, cooking for 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice with avocado. Add to skillet and gently mix. Cook for 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Sweet Potato and Avocado Empanadas Recipe:A flaky crust, flavorful sweet potatoes, creamy fresh avocado and poblano cream sauce make this appetizer delectable.
1(17.3-oz) package of puff pastry dough (two sheets)
Empanada filling (see recipe below)
Poblano cream sauce
½ cupchopped cilantro
2ripe, fresh Hass avocados, diced and lightly smashed with fork
1egg, mixed well with a little water
For empanada filling
1 ½ cupsdiced sweet potato
¼ cupfinely diced onion
2small garlic cloves, minced
¼ cupolive oil
½ tsp.salt, or to taste
For Poblano Cream Sauce
¼ cupfinely diced onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 cups heavy cream
Empanada Filling Preparation
- Cook sweet potatoes in a small saucepan of boiling water until just tender, about 2 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Sauté onion and garlic in oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in sweet potatoes. Salt to taste. Cool filling completely.
Poblano Cream Sauce Preparation
- Roast poblanochile until completely charred on all sides.
- Place chile in paper bag and seal, let stand 10-20 minutes until skin peels off easily.
- Peel, seed and dice peppers.
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add poblanochile, onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add heavy cream, bring to simmer and reduce liquid by half until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Roll out each puff pastry sheet on floured surface. Cut each into 9 squares.
- Place 1/2 heaping tablespoon filling in center of 18 squares. Add small amount of Poblano Cream Sauce, cilantro and avocado, dividing equally.
- Brush edges of squares with beaten egg.
- Fold 1 corner over filling to opposite corner, forming triangle. Using fork, seal crust edges.
- Arrange on baking sheet; brush with egg. Bake empanadas until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Feliz Navidad Avocado Tree Salad with Chili Vinaigrette Recipe:Add color to the holiday buffet table with this pretty Christmas tree-shaped salad.
2firm-ripe, fresh Hass avocados, halved, peeled and seeded, or more as needed
1 lime, juiced
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ cuppomegranate arils (seeds) and/ or fresh raspberries
1green onion, white only, sliced into rounds
1slice Star fruit or pineapple
1cupfresh crab meat, picked over
Chili Vinaigrette Ingredients
3Tbsp.extra virgin olive oil
2Tbsp.white wine vinegar
¼ tsp.dry mustard
1 Tbsp.cilantro, chopped
grated lemon zest
- Slice each avocado half into six equivalent size slices. Sprinkle avocado slices with the lime juice. On a large serving platter arrange avocado slices into the shape of a Christmas tree, as shown in the photo, leaving at least 3 inches at the top and bottom of the platter. Sprinkle with salt.
- Arrange pomegranate arils or raspberries, cranberries and green onions on top of the avocado tree to look like ornaments.
- Place the star fruit at the top point of the tree. (If star fruit is not available, use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut a star out of a slice of pineapple.)
- Add the chives in a criss-cross pattern over the avocado slices.
- Arrange crab along the bottom of the tree to resemble snow.
- Place chili vinaigrette ingredients together in a salad dressing carafe, cover and shake a few times to combine ingredients. Serve alongside the FelizNavidad Avocado Tree Salad.
For more healthy recipes featuring fresh avocado, visit https://loveonetoday.com/avocado-recipes/.