By Sidney Fry
June 12, 2016

It's taken a long time for the avocado to really come into its own as the rich and versatile treat that it is. Fat-phobes were wary; many cooks didn't realize that, beyond guac, this fruit enhances breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and even desserts (on the island of Java they make chocolate smoothies out of it).

Today the plant fat is seen as health-promoting. Plus, an avocado offers fiber, along with 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Because it's creamy and dense, we often swap avocado in for ingredients like mayonnaise, butter, and cream cheese. That adds the aforementioned healthy nutrients and reduces both saturated fat and calories. Below, some examples of the savings.

1. Build a Better Breakfast

Swap the 2-tablespoon schmear of cream cheese on your breakfast sandwich for 2 tablespoons creamy avocado. Savings: 53 cal, 5g sat fat, 90mg sodium

2. Lighten Up the Lunch Routine

Trade 1 tablespoon mayo on your sandwich for 2 tablespoons avocado. Savings: 54 cal, 7g fat, 88mg sodium

3. Make a Summer Salad Swap

Sub ½ cup mashed avocado for ½ cup mayo in your favorite summer chicken, tuna, or egg salad recipe. Savings: 616 cal, 71g fat, 712mg sodium per recipe

4. Snack More Sensibly 

Swap a 2-teaspoon pat of butter on toast for a hearty 2 tablespoons mashed avocado. Savings: 22 cal, 4g sat fat, 65mg sodium

5. Do a Better Dollop at Dinner

Switch the 2-tablespoon dollop of sour cream for 2 tablespoons avocado on Mexican-night fare. Savings: 14 cal, 2g sat fat, 8mg sodium