As the summer nears, warm days beckon us outdoors. What better way to soak up the sun than a picnic in the company of family and friends at the park? All you need is a blanket and a basket full of goodies to guarantee a good time. And the easiest way to fit more goodness in your picnic basket is with avocado.
Whether you’re an adventurous eater or a steadfast fan of picnic classics like sandwiches and guacamole, avocado elevates the occasion with both flavor and nutritional benefits, thanks to its nutrient-dense profile.
Here are five clever ways to incorporate avocado into your picnics:
Avocados are great on plates, all that in wraps, and totally the bomb in bowls. Perhaps the best part of an avocado power bowl is the fact that each picnicker can tailor their bowl just so to their dietary needs and preferences. You really just need a few core ingredients: veggies (greens, root veggies, etc.), protein (chicken, pulled pork, steak, etc.), and fruit (“hello, avocado”).
Power bowls can be as simple or complex as you like and borrow flavors from around the world, like this Thai avocado shrimp bowl or Mexican Buddha bowl. Throw in a handful of green and your bowl might just become … a salad!
Another bonus of power bowls? Minimum dishware to clean post-picnic. Can I get an “Amen!”?
Deli salads are the quintessential picnic salads, and with good reason: they travel well in a cooler, and picknickers can easily heap scoops of deli salad onto slices of French bread, crackers, pitas, or homemade veggie crisps. And you can keep the container closed between bites to deter ants! Win-win, for most everyone. (Sorry not sorry, ants!)
Avocado seamlessly blends into tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad. In fact, you can take nearly any recipe for deli salad and swap out the mayonnaise for mashed avocado. Your recipe will still have a delightful, creamy texture, with the added benefits of good fat and nearly twenty vitamins and minerals.
One-third of a medium avocado contains 6g of good fat. Why is that good? Monosaturated and polysaturated fats (“good fats”) can help improve the intake of dietary fat without raising “bad” cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends replacing bad fats with good fats, which is associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease events.
Avocados From Mexico are good any time of year because they’re always in season. For an especially fresh tasting picnic, choose recipes that pair avocados with other fruits and vegetables in season, like tomatoes. A classic avocado and tomato salad is an easy choice. Or break out the burrata to get the party started with a roasted tomato and avocado caprese salad! This avocado and tuna salad stack provides layers of refreshing, cool flavors perfect for a day in the sun.
Is your picnic days away … but your avocado is still too hard to eat? Turn a tough avocado into a total softy with this simple trick:
Sandwiches and wraps are a natural choice for picnickers on the go — and avocados can keep you feeling full on your adventures, thanks to its dietary fiber. Smash slices of ripe avocado onto both sides of bread to give your sandwiches a little something special and “glue” toppings in place for easier traveling. Or whip up a turkey avocado wrap with roaster red-pepper avocado hummus or an avocado buffalo chicken wrap before heading out of the house. Also fun, plant-based, and portable: avocado mango and tofu rolls!
One serving of avocado (that’s one-third of a medium-sized fruit) gives you 11% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. That’s a whole lotta fiber in a little package! Dietary fiber aids digestion and gives you that satisfied, full feeling after a snack or meal.
How do you know if your avocado is ripe and ready to be squashed into a scrumptious smear onto sandwich or inside your wrap? Glad you asked.
Planning a romantic date at the park? Joining the extended family for a family reunion barbeque? Step up your picnic game with on-trend avocado-rific appetizers and dishes. For example, explore different ways to combine avocado with other superfoods, like mashing up some antioxidant-rich kimchi guacamole, or assembling a hearty avocado ancient grains bowl.
Keep the number of dishes down — and the number of good, nutritious foods up — by cooking up one of Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist Barbara Ruhs’ “one-pan” avocado recipes by Barbara Ruhs. Her recipe for avocado pesto gnocchi with leafy greens will be the talk of your picnic — and no one needs to know you made it in under 30 minutes!
Find oodles of picnic-perfect avocado treats in our recipe archives.
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