Healthy Meal Ideas

The Best Healthy Avocado Substitutes to Add to Your Diet

Tehrene Firman

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Photo: Stocksy/Natasa Mandic
Avocados are officially a food staple—whether they're smashed onto some whole grain toast or even enjoyed in pudding-form. And they've earned their rep as a gold standard for healthy fats for good reason. "Avocados are full of properties that help eliminate toxins and inflammation stuck inside your tissues, contain healthy omega-3 fats that support the absorption of nutrients and minerals through the cell walls, and are high in fibers that help to bind toxins in the gut so you can eliminate potentially harmful consequences due to everyday foods, stress, and environmental toxins," says health coach Jenny Carr, author of Peace of Cake: The Secret to An Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

But not everyone is into the green creamy fruit. In which case, an avocado substitute is needed. For some people, it's the taste they can't stand. For others, it's the texture. Then there are those that experience gastro distress when they eat too much of it. Or, the aversion could be caused by an allergy. If you tend to experience itching and/or swelling of your lips, tongue, throat, or face in general, you might be experiencing oral allergy syndrome (OAS)—and unfortunately avocado is one of the foods people are often allergic to, says Harvard Medical School. And if you're already allergic to latex, it's not uncommon to develop an allergy to avocados at some point (as well as bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and papaya).

Even if you can eat avocados, it's never a bad thing to cut down once in a while. According to Michigan State University, the high demand for avocados year-round in the US has made farmers in Mexico up the sizes of their farms, causing deforestation issues and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. So, if you're looking for an avocado substitute for any of the above reasons—or your own, here are five healthy alternatives that'll help you get your fix.

1. Pesto

If you love the texture of ooey gooey avocado, pesto is a solid replacement. "Similar to mashed avocados, pesto gives that rich, moist, and oily texture that's full of flavor," Carr says. Plus, since it's typically made with basil and pine nuts, you're getting plenty of vitamin A, iron, magnesium, protein, and healthy fat. Just be sure to make it with extra virgin olive oil instead canola to keep the inflammation at bay, she says.

How to use it: Carr recommends putting pesto on your gluten-free toast or in a quinoa pasta salad.

2. Nut butter

One of the most satisfying toast-toppers—aside from avocado, of course—is nut butter. There are plenty of different options—whether that's almond, cashew, regular ol' peanut—and each of them will give you a good amount of protein and healthy fat, à la avos.

How to use it: Spread it on whole grain toast or an English muffin, or add it into your oatmeal or smoothies.

3. Hummus

Sorry, avocados, but hummus might give you a run for your money in the dipping department. "Many people love to dip their chips or celery sticks into a beautiful bowl of guacamole," Carr says. "If avocados are a no-go, then hummus is the perfect swap for that creamy, satiating, and tasty treat. Plus, it gives you a nice dose of a clean protein." When choosing a store-bought variety, she recommends avoiding options that contain canola oil.

How to use it: Dip your veggies in it, smear it onto toast, or use it in your sandwiches in place of avocado slices, says Carr.

4. Bananas

Thanks to banana's texture, it's the perfect substitute for creamy avocado. "Like avocados, bananas offer smoothies a smooth texture and consistency. And they even deliver a perfect dash of added sweetness," Carr says.

How to use them: Put it in your smoothie, add them into your oatmeal, or turn them into nice cream.

5. Chia seeds

Chia seeds might not be similar to avocados on a taste or texture level, but they definitely are health-wise. "Avocados are high-fat, high-fiber foods. If you're looking for a food swap with similar nutritional values, your best option are chia seeds," Carr says. "Similar to avocados, chia seeds have inflammatory fighting omega-3 fats, and they happen to be one of the most fiber-rich foods. And an added bonus: They even come packaged in a complete protein."

How to use them: Make some chia seed pudding or add them into your smoothie bowls.

This is the lazy girl's mess-free solution for frozen avocados. Or, find out how Costco is selling avocados that last twice as long. 

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