Avocados, the trendy, nutritious, superfood. Creamy, multi-purposeful and rich. The history of avocados as a food is just as rich as their delicious insides. We’ll explore some the avocado’s rise to menu dominance and mix it up this National Avocado Day with some fun, avocado- themed learning activities!
Avocados, from Mexico
You know the jingle. Oh, maybe you don’t. Here, you can listen to it on repeat for 10 whole minutes. You’re welcome. Now that that song is stuck in your head, join me, friends, on a National Avocado Day odyssey of the highest caliber.
According to most researchers, I guess there are avocado researchers out there, avocados hail originally from central Mexico, specifically Puebla. While avocados as a food staple date back over 10,000 years, it wasn’t until 5,000 years ago that the Mesopotamian tribes such as the Inca, the Olmec and the Maya began to cultivate domesticated avocado trees. This allowed for avocados to flourish and be harvested in great numbers without relying on large animals to consume the fruit and plant the giant seeds through their waste droppings. Yum, right? I just told my son about this and he walked off cackling to himself as only a 7 year old would. Sigh. I digress. At least we get our avocados in a more savory way these days. At least, as far as I know… *stares at avocados on kitchen counter with keen suspicion*
Long before National Avocado Day was a “thing”, Mesoamerican peoples revered the avocado and held it in high esteem. It was regularly consumed as a staple food and also highly valued on a spiritual level. The Aztec people believed that the avocado provided strength to whomever consumed them. Giving it a whole other definition of “superfood”! (I always like to think of avocados running around wearing little shiny capes being super little fruits. It brings me great joy.)
Avocados cross the ocean
In 1519, navigator and explorer, Martín Fernández de Enciso wrote a book in Spanish of his experiences of New World discoveries. This was the first Western account written which mentioned the avocado! By the time the full- fledged Spanish Conquest was underway, most South American countries had been acquainted with the avocado. Spanish explorers then took the avocado across the ocean, introducing it to Europe by 1591. Thus, the avocado revolution was born!
The rise of National Avocado Day
Avocados are interesting. You either love them or you hate them. Is it a fruit or a vegetable (it’s a fruit)? Avocado toast or no? No matter how you personally feel about the avocado, there is no denying its pervasiveness in our society. You can find it on the menu in most restaurants- I know I love me some side guac at Chipotle. Mmm mmm. It should be no surprise then that America accounts for 79% of the avocados exported from Mexico. You know you’ve made it when you get a whole commercial devoted to your awesomeness. Take that and National Avocado Day together and, Viva los avocados!
July 31 is the official date of National Avocado Day. U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist, David Fairchild said, “The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.” And you know what? Yes. 100 times, yes. I LOVE avocado. Fairchild is largely credited for introducing the avocado to the United States in the early 20th century. Thanks, David!
There’s a reason the avocado is labeled as a “superfood”. While it goes to say that everything in moderation is the best route to healthy eating, avocados have a substantial place in our diet as a positive addition not just on National Avocado Day. Some of the biggest attributes to the overall healthiness of avocados are the following:
- Nutrient rich- A source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6 as well as magnesium, and potassium. They also provide omega-3 fatty acids. Basically, they contain a wealth of good fats which help you feel fuller.
- Heart healthy– Avocados help in managing good cholesterol levels which is critical for healthy hearts.
- Strong eyes– Avocados provide antioxidant protection against UV light all while supporting your eyes as they age.
Regular consumption of avocados also aids in preventing osteoporosis, certain cancers, benefit prenatal health as well as a natural detoxifier. They also contain less than 1 gram of sugar in comparison to the 5 found in most other fruits! So, go ahead and eat up on National Avocado Day and all the days!
National Avocado Day fun
Frankly, learning about avocados is pretty fun for me, but let’s move into some actual fun you can have with avocados. This week we have some awesome avocado activities for your families to do together!
- Rhyming Avocados – Cut out the avocados on card stock and match up the images to their rhyming partner.
- Short a words– Practice your “short a” words/ sounds by matching the avocados with the correct images.
- Short e words– Practice your “short e” sounds by matching the avocados with the correct images.
- Short i words– Practice your “short i” sounds by matching the avocados with the correct images.
- Short o words– Practice your “short o” sounds by matching the avocados with the correct images.
- Short u words– Practice your “short u” sounds by matching the avocados with the correct images.
- Count the Avocados– Count the avocados and select the correct number through multiple choice.
- Subtraction Avocados– Match the equation to the correct number.
- Multiplication Avocados– Match the equation to the correct number.
Celebrate the avocado
This weekend and on Sunday, National Avocado Day, make sure to ask for some added to your meal, or pick some up at the store and make your own guacamole. This is an easy and fun thing to do with your kids, not to mention delicious. Maybe give growing your own avocado plant a shot with one of the leftover seeds! Whatever you choose to do, give a nod to the super avocado as it works hard to keep us strong, and healthy.
What are your favorite ways to use avocado? What form to you like it in best? Sliced, diced, smashed? Not at all? Let us know how your feel about the amazing avocado in the comments. Happy weekend!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.