As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados

Have you heard of the term plant-powered eating? It’s also known as “plant-forward” or “eating the rainbow.” Whatever term resonates most closely with you, the message is the same: eat more heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, like Fresh California Avocados, because not only do they taste fantastic, they also may help control weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The beauty of plant-powered eating, which simply means eating more of the rainbow of fruits and vegetables abundant in your own backyard ─ whether that “backyard” is your local grocer, farmers’ market or home garden ─ is that it can fit every lifestyle. It does not mean you have to eliminate foods like animal proteins. 

One of the best ways to describe how plant-powered eating can be embraced by the entire family is the center of the plate principle. It’s easy to relish in the beauty of foods like Fresh California Avocados being the foundation for the center of the plate instead of a traditional meat dish. 

Rest assured, my household is living proof this can happen. Living in San Diego, my “backyard” is the heart of California Avocado country. Using a California Avocado as a base, I can literally plan a meal that my entire family will enjoy ─ omnivores, vegetarians and flexitarians alike.

When produce takes center stage, foods like animal-based proteins and dairy can add layers of flavor as an accompaniment to the main dish. Take my husband for example. He grew up on a cattle farm in the Midwest. Raised on meat and potatoes; when he met this California girl who loved a plant-powered style of cooking, he quickly learned the beauty of merging flavors and textures to create a culinary masterpiece fueled by plants!

As with anything, it took some time to get the rest of the Midwest family on board, and that’s where my BYO (build your own) swaps came into play. For instance, a BYO style meal is a way for each person to customize their plate (or bowl) based on their own personal preferences by offering a wide variety of options that will satisfy everybody. 

The first time I hosted everyone, I remember thinking “how can I possibly meet my father-in-law’s meat preferences while managing my sister’s Whole30®*, my own postpartum nutrition and last but not least, feed my infant?”

Thanks to the BYO concept, I was able to appease the entire family and show them how building a center of the plate based around produce can easily be customized to suit most dietary needs and preferences. 

Since California Avocados are a good source of dietary fiber and folate, as well as a heart-healthy fruit, I was able to provide everyone a nutrient-dense option. Plus, the smooth, creamy consistency of California Avocados make them one of the first fresh fruits a baby can enjoy, meaning a win-win for this first-time mom to include on her menu! 

Want to introduce the BYO concept at your house? I’ve got you covered! These two recipes from the California Avocado Commission easily will satisfy the needs of all your guests while nourishing everyone with the nearly 20 essential vitamins and nutrients from the avocados! 


Quinoa Stuffed Grilled California Avocados
This is perfect for those protein fanatics in the house! Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids! By using Fresh California Avocados as a base, you can rest easy knowing your guests will be satiated and satisfied receiving over 4.5 grams of filling fiber. Plus, offer more variety with chopped California Walnuts and California cheeses to expand upon textures and build flavor, pleasing the entire crowd! 

Spaghetti Squash and California Avocado Salad
Gluten-free guests will rejoice over this salad! With spaghetti squash as the base, adding heart-healthy California Avocados brings this dish to a whole new level. As prepared, this recipe is a good source of Vitamin A, calcium and iron and an excellent source of Vitamin C, making it an excellent BYO concept with the addition of beans or lentils as toppings for your vegan guests. But, don’t stop there! Please your meat loving crowd (remember, I’ve got those relatives too) by incorporating that BYO concept and offer sliced grilled chicken breasts or a delicious filet of salmon. As you can see, when you plan a BYO plant-powered meal, the whole crew can enjoy the fun!

Whole30® is a diet program that focuses on whole food consumption while placing strict limitations for 30 days on what you can and cannot eat; grains, beans, dairy and other healthy foods may be off limits.  

Elizabeth Shaw, MS RDN CLT CPT

Liz is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer in San Diego, California. She owns a nutrition consulting business in which she works with brands to help disseminate key health messaging to practitioners and consumers at large via national speaking, TV segments, and through her strong social media presence. Liz also runs a maternal health private practice in which she specializes in fertility nutrition. She is an author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook published last fall and a blogger at both Shaw’s Simple Swaps and Bumps to Baby. Liz is a freelance writer and serves as a nutrition expert for many national publications, such as Shape, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Muscle and Performance, Fit Pregnancy, Parents and others. Her current position has led her to what she loves most, educating the public at large about the importance of nutrition and health in daily life while connecting individually with those struggling to build their families. Helping to empower others through nutrition is truly what brings Liz joy!

Liz is a registered dietitian nutritionist for the California Avocado Commission. Their content on the California Avocado Commission website and/or blog are part of their partnership with our organization.

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