Food & Nutrition

ZeroPoint Cheat Sheet: Avocados

All your top questions about avocados, answered
Published November 3, 2021

While “zero” usually means “nothing,” at WW, ZeroPoint™ foods are everything! If avocados are one of your ZeroPoint foods and you’ve got some questions, you’re in the right place.

Why are avocados a ZeroPoint food?

Avocados are high in fiber and unsaturated fats (the better-for-you kind of fat associated with heart health). Research shows that eating a high-fiber diet can help you feel fuller longer, which can be beneficial when trying to manage your weight. Fiber-rich diets are also linked with decreased risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as improved digestion.

What about guac?

Yes! Guacamole, made without added sugar or fat, is a ZeroPoint food (confetti drops).

But does this apply only to homemade guacamole?

Definitely not. While it’s easy to make your own guacamole, store-bought or restaurant guacamole is a ZeroPoint food. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any oil or added sugar. Still not sure? Use the barcode scanner in your app to double-check or ask your server.

Does eating guacamole with chips mean the guacamole now has a Points® value?

Nope! No matter which foods you pair with guacamole or avocado, guacamole and avocado are always ZeroPoint foods. Just be sure to track the chips. Looking for some ZeroPoint dippers? Try bell pepper wedges, endive leaves, cucumber slices, jicama, or radishes.

What’s the easiest way to make guacamole?

Mash a ripe avocado in a bowl with a fork. Keep it super simple and season it with fresh lime juice and salt. Or go one step further and stir in some finely chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro.

Guac aside, what else can I make with avocados?

You can join the hoards of people already in the avocado toast fan club: Toast your favorite bread (or use a roasted slice of sweet potato), and top it with sliced or mashed avocado. Season it with a bit of lemon or lime juice, chili powder, or crushed red pepper. Add some protein with smoked salmon or a sliced hard-boiled egg or a fried egg. Feeling extra? Top with crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, or thinly sliced onions.

Avocado can also be used as a healthy fat replacement for some of the butter or oil in cakes, brownies, and other baked goods. Add slices to a burger or sandwich to lend a similar creaminess as mayo. Dice up some avocado and add it to tacos, fajitas, tostadas, or grain bowls. Purée ripe avocados into creamy, smooth pasta sauces, salad dressings, and smoothies. Lastly, use its natural bowl-like shape as a vessel for baking eggs (see recipe ideas below!) or stuffing with chicken salad or ceviche.

How do I know when my avocados are ripe?

There are two main ways to tell if avocados are ready to be enjoyed:

  1. Give them a gentle squeeze. Ripe avocados should yield slightly to pressure.
  2. Find the nub (the little stem at the top) and try to push it with your thumb. If it doesn’t want to come off, the avocado is very underripe. If the nub comes off but the avocado is yellow underneath, it needs another day or two. If it’s green underneath, dig in! And if it’s gray or brown? It’s past its prime.

My avocados are rock hard. Is there any way to speed up the ripening process?

Yes! Place underripe avocados in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple, roll the top of the bag to close it, and leave it on your counter for a few days. The fruit will give off ethylene, a gas that hastens the ripening of other produce.

No other fruit around? Leave the avocado in a sunny spot. Warmer temperatures also help hasten ripening.

On the flip side, if your avocado seems ripe but you’re not quite ready to use it, put it in the fridge. The cold temperature should buy you a day or two.

What’s the easiest way to slice and dice an avocado?

Start by cutting the avocado in half around the pit and twisting the two halves to separate them. Using a kitchen towel, hold the half with the pit in the palm of your hand (this is to protect your hand), then firmly but carefully strike the pit with the edge of a knife blade, so it gets wedged into the pit, and pull the pit out. Use a spoon to scoop the avocado out of its peel, then slice or chop.

Any other avocado-related tips?

If you want to enjoy avocados all week long, try to buy them in different stages of ripening. Store avocados in your kitchen in a cool, dry place and assess their ripeness daily, using them in order of ripeness.

If you’ve used only half an avocado and want to save the rest for later, brush the cut side with lemon or lime juice and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to a day. This can help slow down the rate of oxidation, which turns the cut avocado flesh brown (which is still totally OK to eat!).

Related links

18 Avocado Recipes from Toast to Guacamole
All About Healthy Fats
The Health Benefits of Avocado

Leslie Fink, MS, RD, has worked on WW’s editorial team for more than 21 years. She plays a key role in food, recipe, and program content, as well as product partnerships and experiences.