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4:11 AM 24th July 2021
lifestyle

British Consumers Want To Be Healthier: The Avocado’s Next Act

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
Britain is getting healthier! A Public Health England survey of over 5,000 adults found that 80% of people aged over 18 have made the decision to change their lifestyle for the healthier in 2021.

Compared to last year, 43% of the population feel more motivated to make changes to their life. That’s roughly 6 million adults aged 40 to 60 planning to eat more healthily, lose weight and exercise more.

Supporting the British consumers on their journey to health
And it’s not just people cooking better meals for themselves at home. The government is determined to help Britain get in good shape. In an effort to build on the momentum of the healthier eating trends, they’re launching a pilot scheme to encourage shoppers to buy more healthy food and save money in the process.

During lockdown, one-third of people reported snacking on unhealthy food and drinks at least once a day, a 10% increase on 2020 and this is reflected in recent sales data that showed an increase of around 15% in sales of take-home snack foods, including confectionery and biscuits. One of the easiest ways to break this particular pattern is to prepare!

By making your own snacks, you can make sure it’s good-quality ingredients and save yourself money in the long run. With a little bit of forward planning, you can stock the kitchen with healthier alternatives - anything from kid-friendly courgette crisps with avoioli or chocolate nut bars.

To help you get inspired, the World Avocado Organization (WAO) has published its latest cookbook online, Avocados in Bloom, with over 50 original recipes to help you keep up your healthy habits in the kitchen.

Avocados: delicious, nutritious and versatile
The trend towards vegan and vegetarian meals continues to grow among British consumers: with plant-based (vegan) meals up 46% compared to the previous year, and vegetarian up 25%. Avocados have long been one of the stars of vegan and vegetarian diets for two key reasons:

nutritional benefits: avocados are rich in fats and protein like butter, eggs, or meat. But unlike animal-derived foods, the avocado is loaded with healthy plant-based fatty acids and lots of heart-healthy fibre!
versatility: following the pandemic, the UK has entered an era of experimentation when it comes to cooking at home, with households across the UK having 136 million more meals together at home each week than they were before the pandemic. The versatility of the avocado means it’s the perfect ingredient for any occasion.

“Consumers are becoming ever more mindful, not just in the UK but around the world. They’re demanding fresh ingredients of the highest quality, especially now that the pandemic has reignited a love of cooking for so many people. This trend is only going to continue, as we move towards healthier, plant-based diets for ourselves and the planet. The avocado will play a significant role in this - offering both health benefits and a delicious dairy substitute”, explains Xavier Equihua, the CEO of the World Avocado Organization.


Health without compromising taste
Image by sandid from Pixabay
Image by sandid from Pixabay
It’s a sign of the more nuanced discussions we’re having around nutrition that the government’s planned “junk food” advertising ban will exclude some foods high in fat or sugar will be spared from the ban, including olive oil, honey, avocados, and Marmite. There has been a lot of misinformation about the avocado in general but also about fat in our diets. With a lot of mixed messaging about fat, it’s easy to see how the average consumer gets confused! Some fat is essential in our diet to provide energy and help our bodies absorb certain vitamins, including vitamin A, D, and E.

Unsaturated fats are the good fats and are important for lowering cholesterol and keeping our hearts healthy. But saturated fats and trans fats can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Foods that contain saturated and trans fats include butter, cheese, bacon, cookies, and fried foods. Over 75% of the fat in avocados is unsaturated, making it the perfect substitute for dairy!

Here is a lovely recipe using avocado
Kids love these oven-baked treats and so do their parents! Top tip - if you find the courgette batter is a bit too lumpy, whizz it silky smooth with a hand blender.

Courgette crisps and avoioli

Ingredients:
1 small courgette (±250g)
Sea salt and pepper

For the batter:
40g all-purpose flour
50ml unsweetened almond milk
1 free-range egg
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder

For the avoioli:
1 small head of garlic
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 avocado, pit and skin removed
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF/gas mark 6.
Slice off the top of the garlic bulb (the pointy end), and drizzle 1 tbsp. olive oil into the cloves. Wrap it up in kitchen foil and roast it in the oven for ±30 minutes until soft.
In the meantime, combine all the ingredients together for the batter and set aside to rest.
Wash the courgette and, using the grater or mandoline slicer, slice it horizontally into super thin slices.
Line a large baking tray (or two small ones) with baking paper. Dip each slice of courgette in the batter so it’s fully coated and place them onto the baking tray.
Turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 350ºF/gas mark 4 and bake the courgette until golden brown and crispy, ±30 minutes.
While the courgette crisps are baking, make the avoioli. Squeeze the bottom of each roasted garlic clove to push it out of its skin into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash them together with a fork until smooth. Season to taste.
Make sure the courgette crisps have cooled, then serve with the avoioli.