Did you know? Avocados and mangos are some of the best foods you can give to your kids to boost brain growth, improve heart health, build strong bones, fight depression, and help their eyesight. They are also a great source of fiber. Other fun facts:
- Mangos, a true superfood, help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
- Mangos are rich in iron and help with anemia.
- Avocados are incredibly nutritious–with 20 vitamins and minerals–and carry more potassium than bananas!
Avocados help your body better absorb nutrients from other food.
Cut properly, avocados and mangos can quickly rise to your top “go to” easy snack and meal foods.
It’s that “cut properly” that throws many people off. Both fruits (yep, avocados are fruits!) have a large seed pit in the center that has to be cut around. A rise in avocado-cutting hand injuries has made the news recently, making many people opt for “safer” (but less nutritious) options in the grocery stores.
It’s time to take back the right to feed these nutritious foods to our children! In this article, I’m going to teach you how to cut a mango or avocado and still have all your fingers intact.
Bring on the guacamole and smoothies!
People with a latex allergy may also find they have an allergy to avocados and mango skin. Might want to check with your doctor first!
How to Cut a Mango and Avocado:
The Whole “Knife Safety” Thing
Accidentally cutting yourself is definitely not the way to instill in your child a healthy respect for sharp objects. (I mean, it works—but I don’t really appreciate hearing my daughter say, “Careful, Mama!” every time I pick up a knife.)
In short—Never cut toward your hand.
Put whatever you are cutting on a good cutting board, and put the hand holding the food in a claw position (or arch your hand OVER the knife, fingers tucked away). It also helps to put a towel under your cutting board to keep it from sliding.
The Absolutely WRONG and RIGHT Way to Hold a Knife
There are myriad videos of people cutting fruit doing the exact opposite of this, cutting soft fruit cupped in their hands, and are a recipe for disaster. Here’s one that shows three WRONG ways to hold a knife, and the RIGHT way at the end.
How to Cut a Mango:
Three Techniques to Try
The mango is one of the most delicious fruits you’re going to find at the grocery store…as long as you buy them ripe!
You’ll know that mango you’re holding is ready to be cut when it is pretty soft to the squeeze, but not so soft that you could crush it in your hand.
While amounts of red may be an indicator, you cannot always thrust that. A green mango will fully ripen on the counter after 6-10 days, so it won’t always have red. I like to buy the red ones, though, just to be safe.
You are Not a Roadside Vendor (Probably)
Have you seen the videos of the roadside vendors making pretty “mangos on a stick” using a machete serious knife?
Yeah—don’t try that at home. There are a few, much safer techniques to cut a mango for your at-home kitchen use.
How to Cut a Mango Technique #1: Like an Apple
If you have time, simply peel it like you would an apple, then make intersecting cuts in the side to dice it. The flesh is a little thicker than an apple so this can take a little while to do, but it works well.
Disclaimer: The guy in the video is a professional and so has permission to have knife safety skills that are crappy. You and I aren’t so fortunate! Stick to my tips above to avoid mishaps.
If you have little ones who are hangry (hungry + angry) and chomping at your heels, cut your mango without peeling. It’s faster. These two next examples show you how to cut a mango without peeling it first.
How to Cut a Mango Technique #2: Use a Slicer
For the gadget person, you can get a handy-dandy mango slicer that will cut out the pit and then help slice off the skin from the yummy bits. It’s like the older, wiser sibling to the apple slicer/corer.
This option takes a little bit of extra arm strength, but not quite as much as the above-mentioned apple slicer because mangos are generally softer. (If your apple is as soft as a mango…probably not good eats.) Just remember to cut a small portion off the bottom so it will stay flat on the counter.
How to Cut a Mango Technique #3: Use a Tri-Cut
This is the traditional way on how to cut a mango.
- Use a knife to cut the mango into three pieces (my husband prefers a serrated knife).
- Turn the mango with the narrow side facing you, and make two cuts on either side of the center, avoiding the pit (if you have it turned wrong, you will know because you will hit the pit).
- Score the outer sides into a grid (not in your hand).
- Flip it inside out so the fruit bulges and separates from the skin, and gently cut it away. If it is ripe, it should separate easily. (Or instead of flipping inside out, just use a spoon to scoop it out.)
- For the center portion with the pit, shave around the edges of the skin and then the pit, saving what you can. Or cut off the skin, stick a fork in it and treat it like an ice cream bar, letting the kids gnaw away at the delicious fruit still left on the pit!
Here’s a video example, to see the magic in action!
The Magnificent Mango for Lunch!
I’ve shared how good mangos are, nutritionally, but besides slicing them up and putting them on a plate, what are the other ways you can introduce your kids to the superfood? Here are a few recipes to inspire you!
- Banana Mango Smoothie
- Mango & Berry Smoothie (for people who don’t like bananas—I know you’re out there!)
- Mango-Pineapple Salsa
- Dessert Fruit Pizza (I dream about this one at night)
- Little Chica Mango Chicken
- Mango and Yogurt Waffle Cone Parfaits (How cute are these?? Plus, one-handed eating? Yes, please!)
When Are Mangos Safe for Babies to Eat?
Mangos are mild on flavor, but since they are in the citrus family, certain steps should be taken when introducing them to your baby for the first family. (Most babies LOVE mangos, btw!)
Find out the best way to introduce mangos to your baby (and a zillion other healthy fruits and vegetables) with this inexpensive booklet.
How to Slice an Avocado:
The Smart Way
There’s a hankerin’ for fresh guacamole stirring in your stomach as stand in front of a row of bumpy alien eggs, trying to decide which avocado to buy.
The moment of truth: How do you know which ones are ripe?
- Look for a slightly black fruit
- Feels a bit squishy
- Dents slightly when you squeeze it
- The little stem bit comes off easily and is green underneath
While you might be tempted to get the very large variety avocado, I personally prefer the smaller haas avocado. It has a creamier texture and is more flavorful than its giant counterpart.
Got your perfectly ripe avocado? Time to start slicing!
Don’t Slice an Avocado Using the Wrong Knife
Why is it that every time I see a “How to Slice an Avocado!” video they are using these really massive chef’s knives? For goodness’ sake, don’t do that.
Ripe avocados are as soft as butter, and one little slip with that knife will have you making that call to your nurse friend around the corner to see if you need stitches. Again. (Just me?)
Instead, use a steak knife (or even a butter knife) to poke through then saw GENTLY into the skin and—with your hand arched over the top of the knife—cut down long-ways until you hit the pit. Then, turn the avocado slowly on the board, until you’ve made a cut the entire way around and the knife goes back into its original cut.
Then, twist the two halves until the two naturally separate.
Use a spoon to run between the edge of the “meat” and the skin, and scoop it out. If you want nice slices to decorate something, make lines in it with a butter knife first—while it is on the cutting board.
On the half with the pit, the best “finger friendly” method is to again use the spoon, but this time first with the pit and then the skin. Or, after the skin is separated, use the butter knife to cut soft strips around the pit, and twist the pieces gently away.
Or, you can cheat and use this all-in-one tool for cutting avocados. It makes the entire process a lot easier.
You’re Not a Professional Chef (Probably)
I know, I know, all the “top chefs” remove the pit by hitting it sharply with a chef’s knife and pulling out the pit. Unless you’ve been working the line for 15 years, DON’T DO THIS.
One slip, and you’re headed to Urgent Care with an extremely painful knife wound. Stick to the spoon. If you really want to do the hit and twist with a knife to get the pit out, lay it on a cutting board, NOT your hand.
Serving Up a Superfood
Serve your awesomely sliced avocado plain with a little salt and lemon, or with tortilla chips (hello, guacamole!). While it is delicious on just about anything, here are a few other yummy recipes just waiting for your new avocado slicing expertise!
- Mexican Macaroni & Cheese
- Avocado Breakfast Burrito (I’d just buy a can of seasoned black beans—nobody got time for dat)
- BLT+Avocado (I like to add some mayonnaise to this)
- Creamy Avocado & Spinach Pasta
- Chicken and Avocado Mayo Wrap
Did you know avocados are an awesome first food to give your beginning eater? What to Feed Your Baby will show you not only what age is best to introduce avocados, but how to store them, how to freeze them, and whether you’d be better off purchasing organic. (The answer may surprise you!)
Healthy Foods…Healthy Brains…
Now that you are wise in how to cut mangos and avocados, you’ll be able to make them quick and healthy additions to your family’s daily diet! The next time your child complains he’s hungry, you can grab that mango sitting on your shelf and instantly serve up a few nutrients of brilliance!
But don’t stop there! There are lots of other awesome fruits you can quickly prepare, if you’ve got the right tools in your drawers. For example, check out this pineapple all-in-one cutter or multi-cherry pitter. These are game changers. (Seriously, pitting cherries one at a time takes forever and your kids are hungry NOW.)
Get your kids started on healthy foods as early as possible by introducing your baby to the wonders that nature has to offer from the get-go!
What to Feed Your Baby: When to Introduce Healthy Foods is the Holy Grail when it comes to introducing baby food. It will teach you…
- When it’s safe to introduce various foods to your baby’s diet. (Some foods should be added until your child is 1-2 years old.)
- Charts on when each fruit and veggie is in season, for cheaper shopping and tastier eating!
- Suggestions on how to prepare each food at every stage for safe consumption!
- Tips to safely store and freeze prepared healthy baby foods to use throughout the week with no cooking time.
- Nutritional content of each healthy fruit and veggie, and the wonderful brain-benefits each one is giving your baby!
- Which foods are best bought organically…and which aren’t worth the extra expense!
That’s a Wrap!
Now you can safely say you are prepared to safely give your child the best nature has to offer any time—without that pesky trip to the ER during mealtime. As though feeding little kids isn’t hard enough!
Let’s get eating!
Have You Read These Yet?
- 25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas No Kid Can Resist
- 5 Ways to Solve Your After School Snack Panic
- 10 Toddler Recipes Guaranteed to Delight Your Tiny Critic
- How Do You Get Your Toddler Eating Healthy Food? Like This.
- Dear Homemaker: Use These 70 Life Hacks to Steal More Time
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Everything You Need to Know About Mangoes. MedicalNewsToday.com
Mango Nutrition—Tropical Fruit for Lowering Blood Sugar and Boosting Brain Health. DrAxe.com
12 Health Benefits of Avocado. MedicalNewsToday.com
12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado. HealthLine.com
All About Avocados. WebMD.com
Karen is a mother of two, wife to Matt, and a recovering lobbyist trying to find her sanity living in (sometimes) sunny Florida. Since having kids, Karen has run the gamut working in an office full-time, part-time, and no time. The things that keep her going at 3am are God, her family, friends, and coffee. And sometimes a book, because once she starts reading a book she can’t stop. It is a problem. Seriously. She loves to visit the theme parks, make banana bread with her daughter, chill with family and friends, and sleep.