Healthy eating ideas with the avocado, the season's star

Tween shares ideas for healthy eating with spring veggie
2013-05-01T00:00:00Z Healthy eating ideas with the avocado, the season's starHaile Thomas Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tucson's Haile Thomas, 12, offers a healthy, kid-friendly recipe this week.

Spring is here! That means pollen, good weather and beautiful seasonal fruits and veggies. So, in honor of the spring crops growing in the sunshine, I created a fun, simple and delicious Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Stack.

This is my twist on a regular BLT. In this recipe, I got rid of the bacon and bread, added fresh slices of cucumber and the seasonal star of this recipe - avocados.

I love avocados. They are great in salads, sandwiches, dressings and even smoothies. They are creamy and filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Best of all, they contain less than 1 gram of sugar per serving and are filled with healthy unsaturated fat.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Stacks With Honey-Kissed Green Goddess Dressing

Serves: 4

For an attractive presentation, choose a variety of heirloom tomatoes - red, orange and green.

Salad Stack

• 4 heirloom tomatoes, in 1/4-inch slices

• 1 English cucumber, sliced horizontally into 1/4-inch slices, then cut in half so one cucumber slice is big enough to cover one tomato slice

• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry and separated into leaves

• 1 cup baby spinach, washed and patted dry

• 1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced

• 1 cup peeled avocado, in 1/4-inch slices

• Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Sprinkle tomato and cucumber slices evenly with sea salt. Place lettuce leaf on each of four plates and layer tomato, spinach, red onion and cucumber slices. Repeat layers 3 times and top with avocado slices. Drizzle Honey-Kissed Green Goddess Dressing evenly over stacks and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Dressing

• 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

• 1 small clove garlic

• About 1 cup of baby spinach, washed and patted dry

• 1 tablespoon chopped red onion

• 1 cup Greek yogurt

• 1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil

• 1/2 cup water

• Juice of 1/2 lime

• Dash salt

• 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and process 30 seconds or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl.

About Haile

Haile Thomas is out to spread the word about healthy cooking and eating, particularly for kids. At 12, she's headed up several projects and initiatives: She has an online cooking show called "Kids Can Cook," at youtube.com/azkidscancook, and she launched the Healthy Girls Adventure Club in 2011.

Haile was awarded a grant to run the HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyle) Festival on Global Youth Service Day. The second annual event, held Friday at Tucson Village Farm, included more than 250 Tucson fifth-graders.

Haile is co-founder and director of the HAPPY Organization Inc., which aims to help underserved, poor, at-risk and obese youth. HAPPY stands for Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth.

Haile has spoken at several conferences and represented First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign at the State of the Union Address in February. It was the fourth time she was invited to participate in an event with the first lady.

Haile attends St. Gregory College Preparatory School. She's on Facebook at facebook.com/mixitupwithhaile

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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