Can Avocado Toast Help You Lose Weight?
Maybe the Millennials are on to somthing...
These days, it would be a surprise not to see avocado toast on your favorite brunch menu. And it's one of the easiest meals to quickly whip up at home. But is it good for weight loss?
The short answer: yes, with some caveats. Let's take a look at the ingredients that typically make up avocado toast. First, there's the main ingredient. "Avocado is a good source of healthy fat and fiber," says Kim Yawitz, RD, a dietitian in St. Louis. "These both help keep blood sugar levels stable and promote feelings of fullness. Spread your avocado on a slice of high-fiber bread and you have the perfect breakfast for fending off snack attacks." Here's proof: In one small study published in Nutrition Journal, people who added half a Hass avocado to their lunch noted a 40% decrease in their desire to eat in the three to five hours following the meal.
Avocado is a great replacement for higher-calorie toast toppings. "An ounce provides just 45 calories, compared with 203 calories per ounce of butter," adds Yawitz. In theory, she says, someone who eats buttered toast every day could save more than 57,000 calories — about 16 pounds — per year by substituting an equal portion of avocado for butter. (Portion tip: An ounce of avocado equals about 2 tablespoons of mashed avocado.)
As for those caveats noted earlier, portion size and toppings can make or break the weight-loss benefits of avocado toast. "While avocado toast can be very healthy, it's still possible to gain weight by eating it if you aren't mindful of serving sizes," says Yawitz. The serving size for avocado is about one-third of a medium avocado, per the USDA National Nutrient Database. This amount has 80 calories.
"If you're trying to lose weight, it's best to slice off the portion you need and store the rest for later," suggests Yawitz. Prevent browning by brushing the cut portion with lemon or lime juice. Then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a day. You can scrape off any brown sections before serving.
As for the toppings, load up your avocado toast with nonstarchy veggies. Think radish and cucumber slices, arugula, sprouts and pickled onions. To avoid adding hundreds of extra calories, skip toppings like olive oil and bacon, and try low-cal, flavorful add-ons like a drizzle of sriracha, or lemon or lime juice. Looking for more protein? A fried egg will do it.
And don't forget about the toast itself. "Any healthy avocado toast recipe starts with a good base," says Yawitz. Shop for a bread that says "100% whole grain" on the label and contains at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. Bonus points if the bread includes protein-packed flax, pumpkin or sesame seeds.
So there you have it: Avocado toast made with a slice of whole-grain bread, one-third of an avocado, one large fried egg and 2 tablespoons of sliced radishes contains about 260 calories. Serve with a side salad drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a perfect weight-loss-friendly breakfast, like in these Avocado Toasts (pictured above), Avocado Toast Three Ways, Avocado-Toast Breakfast Salad or Sweet Potato Toast with Avocado and Sprouts.
Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. She's a regular contributor to many publications, including EverydayHealth.com, ReadersDigest.com, NBCNews.com, and more. She also pens a recipe-focused blog, Amy's Eat List, where she shares easy, healthy recipes.