Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

The international avocado market blew up from 2012-2016. In fact, the exports increased as much as 30% in some areas — and no, it’s not just because of Millennials and their avocado toast. Here’s why the fruit (yes, we said fruit!) is so sought-after.

First: A Little U.S. History

In 1914, the US banned the import of Mexican avocados into the continental United States as a way to stop the seed weevil from destroying American farms. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange began growing and selling the fruit instead. However, they couldn’t keep up with the demand of the whole country. For decades, only states on the west coast with fresh fruit markets were able to enjoy the creamy fruit.

What’s in a Name?

In the years following the ban, the fruit became known as “alligator pears.” The thick skin was bumpy and various shades of green, like the reptile, and the shape was that of a pear. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange worked to change the name to avocado, thinking that the exoticism of the name would lend to its reputation as a luxury fruit.

 

Touchdown, Guacamole!

In 1997, the US started to slowly lift the ban. But there were still hurdles to overcome. Many Americans didn’t understand how to properly eat an avocado. So, the growers launched a campaign to educate Americans. One of the best facets of this campaign was the Super Bowl/Guacamole Bowl recipe contest. The growers’ PR firm asked various NFL teams for their best guac recipes. The firm suggested that the best recipe might predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The plan worked, and Americans fell in love with guacamole. In fact, we consume 8 million pounds of it every Super Bowl Sunday.

 

Health Benefits

Study after study confirms that the avocado is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Just a 3.5 ounce serving contains Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, E, A, B1, B2 and B3. It also contains other nutrients, like folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus. There are 160 calories in this one serving, with only 2 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of healthy fats and 2 grams of protein.

All of these nutrients lead to different health benefits. Avocados promote weight loss. They contain low amounts of saturated fat and curb hunger. The fruit improves overall heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Avocados also have anti-aging benefits from being packed with antioxidants. And they even improve eye health.

 

Let’s Have a Toast

Chefs love to use avocados in recipes. Their creaminess is great for balancing acidity or spice. The avocado flavor is delicate enough not to overwhelm any other ingredients.

And, of course, there’s avocado toast. It’s a simple, filling snack or breakfast food that is quick to prepare and scrumptious to boot. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever other topping you’d like. A fried or soft-boiled egg would be perfect. Or if it’s too early to think about making your own, swing by Market Table for a breakfast featuring  our tasty avocado toast.

 

From the way sales have increased each year, it is clear that, when it comes to the avocado, Americans have no problem in making up for lost time.

 

Text by Jennie Tippett

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

What’s meal prepping? The idea is simple: you plan and prepare ingredients for the coming week’s meals. This could be as small as cutting veggies or as much as making a whole meal beforehand. It’s a simple and easy way to make meals effortless — and it’s easy to get started. 

Plan ahead

If you want to start meal prepping, planning is key. Put together recipes for the meals you want to eat this week. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Go grocery shopping in advance, perhaps on a Saturday so there’s no pressure. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your ingredients. For instance, if you get a can of beans that’s more than one serving, try finding a good way to use the rest. This article offers ten options for leftover beans.

 

Cover the basicsChopped veggies in white bowls.

Once you have recipes and ingredients, do as much in advance as you can. Cut vegetables, season meat and put whatever you can into food storage containers. A good rule of thumb: prepare the ingredients enough so that the actual meal only takes ten minutes to make. That way, you’re not taking up too much time or effort and you’re eating well. Ideally, you can just microwave one bowl and eat it. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but as long as your meals are easier to make, then you’re benefiting from meal prepping.

 

Woman wearing athletic shoes eats lunch.Prep for your health

Prepping is a great way to make cooking easier, but also to make meals healthier. Try making a larger meal for lunch. Make your dinner simple and healthy. This is a great way to stay fit. Your body is better at digesting and burning off what you eat for lunch since you do more after eating. Use a template to keep yourself motivated and prevent burn-out while scheduling recipes. Also, plan for nights you want to eat out or to use leftovers from another meal. Try to have a few back-up recipes that you can make with no hassle in case your meal prep gets ruined. It happens to everybody!

 

Make the most out of itBusy woman eats healthy lunch at desk.

The great thing about meal prepping is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Here at Market Table, we do the prep for you with our Light Lunchboxes. Not only are they delicious, but they can fit any diet. Our Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowl is packed with flavor and it’s gluten-free. The Cilantro Lime Chicken with Cauliflower Rice makes for a tasty paleo or Atkins-friendly meal. You can pre-order our Light Lunchboxes by Wednesday at 6 p.m. and pick them up on Sunday. And if you need a fast, last-minute meal fix, we’ll always have some options in-store.

 

Text by Cameron Sullivan

5 Best Healthy Eating Blogs

5 Best Healthy Eating Blogs

Changing your eating habits may sound like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up you favorite foods. Instead, just throw in some healthy alternatives. They’ll still hit the spot — and food blogs do all of the hard work for you. The writers have already tested the recipes, and they’re here to help you kickstart your journey to healthy eating. Here are five of our favorite healthy food blogs.

Happy Yolks

Kelsey Boyte, the writer of Happy Yolks, offers insight into her life with each blog post. There are lots of tidbits about her husband, who does all of the blog’s photography. As an added bonus, Boyte writes about her dog, who sits happily at her feet during the whole cooking process. This blog is filled with detailed, beautiful pictures and a lot of feel-good recipes. There’s even an option where you can click on your favorite ingredient and a list of recipes will pop up.

 

A Couple Cooks

Another husband and wife duo created A Couple Cooks. Soja Overhiser writes the posts and her husband, Alex, does the photography. The couple is very honest about their own experiences, including Soja’s cancer and miscarriage. Healthy recipes, cookbooks and podcasts are all available on their website. Each recipe also includes a list of healthy facts about the dish. They even have an entire section of recipes dedicated to desserts! Healthy food doesn’t have to exclude chocolate, especially when you can use vegan substitutes.  

 

Mason jars filled with healthy chocolate yogurt topped with blueberries, almond slivers, and mint leavesOh She Glows

Angela Liddon started making healthy foods to help recover from an eating disorder, which also inspired her new plant-based diet. She writes that she had always struggled with either binging or starving herself, but, when she started to experiment with new recipes, her relationship with food changed. Angela used her husband as her inspiration when making healthy foods. Since he’s an avid fast-food lover, she knew that if she made a healthy dish that her husband loved, everyone would love it.

 

Eating Bird Food

Besides the perfectly sarcastic blog title, Eating Bird Food offers more than healthy recipes. You’ll find healthy exercise routines on the blog, too. Brittany Mullins started the blog after finding a healthy way to lose weight. She shares her story about the benefits of clean eating as well as strength training. A pescatarian for 6 years, Mullins writes that she now sees the value in including lean meats in her diet. Now she strives to find a healthy balance rather than cutting out an entire food group.

 

The Domestic ManTwo grilled chicken breasts on a black plate with charred cherry tomatoes and a charred banana pepper

The writer of The Domestic Man, Russ Crandall, found out that he had an autoimmune disease when he had a stroke at age 24. After years of different medications and one potentially fatal surgery, Crandall found that a paleo diet helped to reverse some autoimmune symptoms. Crandall said that he finally felt like he was in control again. Crandall’s blog looks a little different than others because he doesn’t limit himself to just lean meats or plant-based foods. His recipes are a great way to start dipping your toes into the diverse choices of healthy food diets.

 

Text by Katherine Polcari