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Dietary Guidelines

From Pyramid to MyPlate!

Avocados can help make eating right and choosing food for your plate easy with MyPlate


Food plate with avocado

The USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. MyPlate, the new symbol that reflects the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is designed to remind Americans to make better food choices and eat healthfully. It illustrates five food groups-fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy-to encourage choosing nutrient-dense foods each day when building a healthier diet.

Did you know that Hass Avocados can help you meet those guidelines and be part of a healthful diet that may help you maintain a healthy weight?

The Dietary Guidelines recommends choosing more nutrient dense foods to meet your nutrient needs while balancing calories. One of the key tips to a great plate is to "make half your plate fruits and vegetables." As a delicious fruit, avocados can help you meet your recommended daily intake for fruits and veggies, and is easily incorporated into a variety of meals and snacks. One ounce of a fresh avocado has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to one's diet.

The Dietary Guidelines also recommends limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. In addition to being a nutrient-dense fruit, avocados are low in saturated fat, and naturally free of trans fats and sodium. Avocados are a great choice, as they contribute primarily mono and polyunsaturated fat. The guidelines suggest replacing solid fats with small amounts of oils-fats with a high percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats-where possible, rather than adding oil to the diet. Considering more than 75 percent of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated, it's a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat.

The website, www.choosemyplate.gov, features tips and tools to help Americans choose nutrient-dense foods when building healthier diets. One of the primary messages to encourage consumers to adopt healthy eating behaviors is to "fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables."

 

How Avocados Fit Into MyPlate

Botanically classified as a species of Persea Americana, avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit containing nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with dietary fiber. Low in saturated fat and naturally trans fat, cholesterol and sodium free, avocados provide a source of good fats, with over 75% of the fat as monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fats. These beneficial unsaturated fats are associated with improved blood cholesterol levels, and eating avocados in place of foods containing saturated fats is a simple and tasty way to help limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

Included as part of the green fruit category in the Produce for Better Health Foundation's Fruits & Veggies-More Matters® health initiative's Fruit Nutrition Database, one serving, or one-fifth of an avocado, provides 50 calories, three grams of MUFA and 0.5 grams of PUFA. Based on the ways in which avocados are typically eaten and how their taste is described, avocados are included as a member of the Vegetable Group in MyPlate, listed in the "other vegetable" subgroup based on its nutrient content. Regardless of the category, avocados are a nutrient-dense, delicious way to help consumers "make half their plate fruits and vegetables."

 

Adding Avocados to Your Plate

Avocados are an extremely versatile fruit! Whether eaten alone, added to meals or included as an ingredient in a variety of recipes, avocados are a great way to add flavor, produce and nutrients to your plate. Try avocados in the following ways:

   Add a serving to a salad, soup or sandwich
   Serve guacamole as a dip for whole grain chips, crackers or vegetables
   Include avocados with breakfast by adding to an omelet, blending into a smoothie or spreading on
       whole grain toast
   Avocados can be used as a fat replacement when baking