I have two children that profess a love for avocados and one that proclaims disdain for it every time he sees it. But if I serve guacamole, he thinks it’s fantastic. Or if it’s wrapped into his chicken fajita, it’s a “thumb’s up” kind-of meal. So if you have kiddos that aren’t yet a fan of avocados, fear not. Sometimes it just takes finding the right way to present it to your child so that you too can get a “thumb’s up.”
But before venturing into different ways to share this food with your child, let’s discuss why you should consider adding (or continuing to use) avocado to your child’s food repertoire? Avocados are a beautifully colored fruit, but they stand apart from most fruits by providing monounsaturated fats. These fats are important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain, and they are heart healthy.
They also provide
- soluble fiber (which can help soften stool),
- folate (needed for making red blood cells),
- potassium (used for growth and muscle building),
- iron (carries oxygen throughout the body),
- vitamin C (promotes healing),
- vitamin E (boosts the immune system), and
- phytonutrients (can help lower cholesterol, work as an antioxidant to possibly protect against cancer, and promote healthy vision).
Just think of the benefits of substituting the power of the avocado for some of the other fats (butter, mayonnaise, etc.) in your child’s diet.
The creamy texture of avocado gives it so many uses in cooking. And there are so many ways to present it to your child, from cubing it and adding it to the plate for your child to touch, taste and depending on the age, joyfully squish between the fingers, to adding it to dishes such as pasta salads, chicken salad, muffins, and more. Some delicious ways that you and your family could experience and enjoy avocados are listed below:
- Mash it and use it in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich, or mix the mayonnaise with mashed avocado. My kids don’t even notice.
- Serve it sliced on a hamburger or on a sandwich. You may want to sprinkle it with salt or seasoned salt.
- Need a snack? Try ladybugs on a stick.
- Yum, right? And it can be used in so many ways. Add it as a sandwich spread, use it as a dip, serve it with baked whole wheat pita, etc.
- Add avocado to a whole wheat tortilla to use in your child’s lunch box. You can use slivers or mash it to add to a chicken or turkey wrap, then include other add-ins (romaine, tomato, cheese, shredded carrots) to suit your child.
- My girls love it cut into chunks on whole wheat crackers.
- Add cubed or sliced avocado to a salad.
- Use it in a salad dressing, as in this creamy dressing.
- Throw it into a smoothie, as in this avocado blueberry smoothie.
- Try avocado chicken salad, which is a huge hit with my whole family.
- How about using it in a pudding?
- Avocado black bean salad makes me dream of summertime grilling.
- Have you tried hummus as a vegetable dip? Or on a whole wheat tortilla? It’s delicious, and now you can make a version with avocado.
- Avocado pasta is a good way to serve avocado to a child that is still not wanting to eat it if it is seen.
- Substitute avocado for the mayonnaise in egg salad.
- Try whole wheat pasta and avocado in a pasta salad.
- Try mashing or slicing avocado onto whole wheat toast and placing your egg of choice (scrambled, sliced hard cooked, poached, etc) on top for a delicious breakfast, or leave off the egg and enjoy the flavors of your creamy avocado toast alone.
- Fish and avocado tacos work well for a great Friday-night Lenten dinner.
- For another dessert option, check out creamy chocolate avocado ice cream.
- Another great recipe that no one will see the avocado in is this muffin recipe.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie