Watermelon is a summertime superfood. Eat it often while its in season.
Why? For starters, its loaded with nutrients. Watermelon is a rich source of vitamins A and C, potassium and health-supporting phytochemicals such as lycopene.
Its also important for what it doesnt contain saturated fat and cholesterol. Melon is low in sodium, too.
And though its sweet enough to serve for dessert, its low in calories. Two cups of cubed watermelon about an inch-thick, half-round slice contains only 80 calories.
The natural sugar is diluted by all the water that watermelon true to its name contains. In fact, watermelon is 92 percent water, as hydrating as a glass of water.
That also helps to make it so filling. Like many other fresh summertime fruits and vegetables, watermelon is a bulky, diet-friendly food that can help displace other, more calorie-dense foods in your diet.
Make it easy to reach for watermelon to eat any time of day. Cut the fruit off the rind, slice it into cubes or chunks and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Having it ready to eat makes it easy to pack watermelon to take to work for lunch or a snack. It also makes it more convenient to use as an ingredient in summertime recipes.
Look for ways to work watermelon into your meals. Here are some examples of the many delicious ways you can serve it:
• Toss it with chunks of feta cheese, sliced red onions and vinaigrette dressing. Cubed watermelon is also good in tomato salad or mixed green salads.
• Use it to make fresh salsa. Look for recipes on the Web.
• Mix it with honeydew and cantaloupe balls, blueberries and fresh mint.
• Drink it. Liquefy chunks of watermelon in a blender with several ice cubes to make a cold and refreshing drink. You can add freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, too.
• Garnish with it. Add thin slices of watermelon to the sides of plated salads or sandwiches.
• Freeze it. Blend watermelon cubes with vanilla yogurt to make a creamy smoothie. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze to make a refreshing treat.
Its hard to think of many foods that taste as good as watermelon does and are as nutritious, too. Make watermelon a summertime staple.
Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill. Reach her at email@example.com; follow her on Twitter, @suzannehobbs.