If you are trying to watch your weight, you might want to make sure you have melon on hand for desserts and snacks. Compared to regular snack foods, melons are much lower in calories when compared ounce for ounce. This means melons, along with other fruits and vegetables, will fill you up on far fewer calories than processed foods. See the chart to the right for comparisons.
Melons are sweet and juicy and available year-round. They are easy to prepare and last up to 4 days when sliced fresh. Take a look at the melon facts below to see the nutritional benefits and purchasing tips for three common melons. We promise you won’t be disappointed!!
• A quarter of a cantaloupe melon contains just 40 calories!! Cantaloupe is rich in vitamins A and C; it is a good source of potassium and folate.
• Select a cantaloupe that does not have a stem. It should be larger than five inches in diameter and have a nice netting or webbing on the outside.
• A quarter of a honeydew contains only 20 calories. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium and it provides B vitamins, calcium and iron.
• Select a firm melon that seems heavy for its size. Honeydews should have a golden, ivory color to their skin. If this melon is picked green it will not ripen on its own.
• Watermelon is 93 percent water and contains only 27 calories per 3-ounce serving. Compare that to potato chips which contain 456 calories for the same size serving!! Watermelon is rich in vitamin A and contains the phytochemical lycopene, which has been shown to have beneficial properties for your health.
• Look for a melon that is heavy for its size with a yellow spot on its belly. It should be free from blemishes, holes or cracks. Cut it soon after purchase and refrigerate once it is cut. Consider giving yellow watermelon a try – it comes in both seeded and seedless varieties and tastes identical to its red counterpart.
The next time you see cassaba, crenshaw or persian melons in your store, give them a try. Like the common melons listed above, these are low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C.
• Persian – When ripe, the blossom end is soft and the shell is mauvish with netted skin. The flesh is orange.
• Crenshaw – Select a crenshaw melon that is round with a pointed, slightly wrinkled stem end. The skin should be yellow-gold in color for a ripe melon.
Melon Success Tips
• You can store melon at room temperature for a day or two. If your melon is very ripe you should store it in the refrigerator.
• Try to cut and serve your watermelon within three days of purchase for best results. Cantaloupe, honeydew and other melons can often be stored up to two weeks. Cut melon should always be stored covered in the refrigerator.
• If you are buying several types of melon, cut the watermelon first then when it is gone, cut the other types such as honeydew or cantaloupe. This strategy will ensure fresh melon all week until you can get to the store.
Delicious Melon Ideas
• For best results, follow the SEE?principal for melon preparation: Slice, Eat, Enjoy!!!?It doesn’t get easier than that!!
• Place fresh, sliced melon in a footed bowl and top with a dollop of fat-free whipped cream and a few toasted, sliced almonds. Use several varieties of cubed melon for more color.
• Use ripe melon in smoothies. Make a smoothie with melon, fruit juice and a little ice. Enjoy!
• Include melon on snack platters. Serve it with sliced light cheese, whole wheat crackers and carrots. Honeydew adds green color while watermelon adds red.
• Combine melon with other fruits for a delicious summer fruit salad. For a real flavor treat, shred some fresh mint and use it for garnish.
• Use melon cubes on skewers for fruit kabobs.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.