Is Guacamole Healthy?
Here's what to know about everyone's favorite chip dip.
Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl of guac as a snack or game day app? The primary ingredient in guacamole are avocados, which are primarily composed of fat — so should guac still be part of your fiesta?
Guacamole Health Benefits
Although high in fat, avocados provide the healthy monounsaturated variety. According to the American Heart Association, when healthy monounsaturated fats are in moderation in place of saturated and trans fat, this can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Avocados also contain an abundance of phytochemicals, plant chemicals that have been shown to help prevent specific health conditions. The plant chemical beta-sitosterol found in avocados has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are also found in avocados, have been shown to help maintain healthy eyes and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.
In addition, avocados as part of a healthy diet can help weight management. Avocados are a good source of fiber and also provide healthy fat. Both of these nutrients help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
In addition, avocadoes help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins which include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
To make a traditional guacamole, combine avocado with diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of salt and pepper. These vegetables, fruit juice and herbs are all relatively low in calories and bursting with healthy nutrients. You can also make different variations of the dip by adding fruit like mango or pineapple, or by roasting the tomatoes or adding charred corn. Use on sandwiches, tacos, burritos, salads, rice bowls, or even baked potatoes.
When Is Guacamole Unhealthy?
If you keep digging into that bowl of guac, the calories and fat can add up rather quickly. For a 1/2-cup serving of traditional guac, it’s around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. Don’t forget to add the fried chips, which run about 140 calories per ounce (about 15 chips). However, it’s tough to stick to just 15 chips and stop scooping that guac. Many people tend to eat several servings at a time, which can rack up hundreds of calories.
Bottom Line: Guacamole is a healthy snack.
Guac is a healthy snack packed with fabulous nutrients your body needs. Enjoy a bowl of guac with family and friends, but don’t forget to keep portions in check.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.