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Watermelon – A Taste of Summer

Watermelon – A Taste of Summer

WatermelonRarely do I hear the phrase “school’s out” and not think of my own summers of fun and, of course, Alice Cooper’s 1972 major hit single “School’s Out for Summer” – does that age me?

In fact, “word” has it that Alice Cooper said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, “What are the greatest three minutes of your life?” Cooper said: “There are two times …The second one being “the last three minutes of the last day of school!”

Summer break is here and that may mean time for a big change to your daily routine. Even though summertime is fun, there still can be challenges for families who have to juggle and adjust!

The key is to plan ahead. Being prepared helps you enjoy the long days of summer. This is especially true when it comes to summer food. Kids associate summer with FUN. Much more fun can be had if you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen – cooking! (But that, too, can be enjoyable!)

Summer is an amazing time! There is an abundance of fresh, delicious, and healthy choices bursting with health benefits. Best yet, many of these foods do not even have to be cooked! With a general washing and perhaps a bit of slicing and dicing, many summer foods can be eaten without further preparation.

One of my favorites is watermelon!  It’s like drinking your water and eating it, too! Watermelon helps keep you hydrated (watermelon is 92 percent water). Plus, one cup of diced watermelon contains 43 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2 grams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrate, and 1 gram of fiber. One cup of watermelon will provide 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron, and 1% of calcium needs for the day. Watermelon also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene, and betaine. And, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more skin- protecting lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable (lycopene also gives watermelon its bright pink color).  Research shows that eating foods that are full of water helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories.

Watermelon actually is considered a nutrient-dense food – it provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a low number of calories.

But don’t stop at watermelon. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a fantastic website promoting buying “Fresh From Florida.”  In fact, their website devotes an entire section to “Fresh from Florida Foods.” This month, June, we have quite a bounty to be thankful for. Not only are the foods on this list nutritious, they are delicious and, for the most part, many require little preparation to be consumed (plus, food in season generally is less expensive and tastes better).

Print yourself a copy of What’s in Season Now and go have some summer fun!

Just in case you don’t have time to print the list, here is what is in season now….avocado, cantaloupe, eggplant, guava, lychee, mango, mushroom, orange, papaya, passion fruit, peanut, potato, sweet corn, tomato, and watermelon.  Look for these foods at local farmers’ markets or in your supermarket’s produce section.

Enjoy the tastes of summer from the Sunshine State!

 

PG

Author: Heidi Copeland – hbc@ufl.edu

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Leon County Florida Educational Program Focus: •Food, Nutrition and Wellness •Child Development and Parenting
http:leon.ifas.edu

Heidi Copeland

Permanent link to this article: http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/06/26/watermelon-a-taste-of-summer/