Avocado Toast with Tuna

 Vegetarian. Locavore. Picky eater. Anorexic. Obese. No matter what we do or how hard we try, labels cling to us. People refer to us in a certain way, be it to our face or when we aren’t looking, and it affects who we are. Even the strongest among us, I’m sure, fall victim to being a product of their environment, of adapting to become a little bit more like the person others believe them to be. When these labels cross over into the realm of food, it can get tricky. You excuse your child’s demands for chicken fingers at a 5 star restaurant by explaining to your peers, “he’s just a picky eater. There’s nothing we can do!” You hound your best friend about her petite frame and ask her if she eats enough, or at all. You taste a food for the first time and don’t particularly enjoy it, so you get it into your head that you couldn’t possibly like any dish prepared with this ingredient. That child at the restaurant hears you refer to him as a picky eater, and that becomes an acceptable excuse for staying in his culinary comfort zone; your friend starts thinking more about food and the way people perceive her, and it breeds compulsive thoughts about eating, even if weight loss isn’t a desired outcome; and you put blinders on to a whole category of food based on one or even several negative experiences.

I did this last one a lot growing up. I didn’t like caramel or nuts, seafood or fish, tomatoes or onions or salad without thousand island dressing. I told myself that I couldn’t enjoy a meal prepared with these things in it. Then, years and years later, I did something extreme – I started trying these things again. Little by little, not all that consciously – at least, not in a deliberate effort to wittle down my list of foods I didn’t like – I began sampling these “bad” foods again. And you know what I found? I grew to like them! Now, I still can’t bite into a full tomato, every once in a while I’ve had enough of eating salad and need something else, and seafood is still not my favorite thing to eat, but the point is that there are very few foods now that I can genuinely say that I dislike. Prepared the right way and eaten in the right frame of mind, very little offends my taste buds.

Tuna fish – as in, comes-from-a-can-and-smells-kinda-funny tuna fish – was one of my more recent trials. I was creating my meal plan for the week, and I stumbled across a few recipes I had saved for canned tuna, despite the fact that I had eaten it once, not particularly enjoyed it, and always vowed it off after that due to the unpleasant aroma. So, without knowing how it would be, I picked up a can in the store, and you know what? I really liked it! Now I can’t say that I buy it each week or find myself craving it, but I made some pretty delicious meals out of that one can and absolutely intend to add it to my shopping list at least a few times a year.

One of the meals I tried is this “recipe” for Avocado Toast. It comes from a dietitian’s blog, Eat Well with Janel, and although the original doesn’t call for tuna, I had a little leftover in the can and decided to try it out. I’m so glad I did! This is such a good and simple, light meal full of clean flavors. Feel free to omit the tuna for a vegetarian (or lighter/snackier) version, but I did like what the fish brought.

Avocado Toast with Tuna, adapted from Eat Well with Janel
Yield: 1 serving

The Ingredients
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
¼ avocado, peeled and sliced
3-4 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ can tuna
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Method
Spread the mustard over the slice of bread and top with the avocado. Dot with the tomatoes and tuna and toast lightly. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. That’s it - enjoy!


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