I was so thankful to be invited to the HAB Research and Culinary Event at the 2014 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) that was hosted at the White Oak Kitchen in Atlanta by Hass Avocado. Not only did the event include an amazing menu, but networking with many of the top nutrition experts in the country along with avocado growers, researchers, and HAB Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo, was an experience unlike any other.
If you are an avocado lover, or a health care provider that recommends avocados, I am sure you are aware of many of their great health benefits, such as being a great source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. With avocados, they are so versatile, you can find ways for almost anyone to include them in their diet from mashing them to use as a butter substitute in a baked good recipe, to slicing them up to have on a sandwich. But, the menu at the HAB event, along with a great cooking demo by the White Oak Kitchen chef, really opened my eyes to so many additional ways avocados can be incorporated into a meal. For instance, when you think of dessert, you don’t always think “avocado,” but after this event, I certainly will.
We ended the night with a delicious Easy Grapefruit Panna Cotta with Herbed Honey Recipe which tasted amazing. I wish I had left even more room for it after finishing all of the other great courses! It was, to me at least, a completely new way of incorporating avocado into a meal and I can’t wait to replicate the recipe at home for my family and friends.
The highlight of the entire event for me was also learning of new, exciting research on the benefits of avocado presented by Jessica Cooperstone, PhD, of Ohio State University. This new study found eating avocado with tomatoes or carrots significantly increases the conversion of provitamin A (inactive form) to vitamin A (active form) more than eating tomatoes or carrots without avocado. This is great news for any of us working with clients who can benefit from additional dietary vitamin A and just another great reason to recommend including avocados as part of a healthy meal plan.
Disclosure: Erin Palinski-Wade is a founding member of the Avocado Goodness Community