Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce
Melons are a good value financially and nutritionally
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension
Many people have a hard time getting the necessary amount of fruits and vegetables daily. This may be because of a preference for fresh fruits and vegetables, which may be too expensive or hard to find. During the summer, however, eating fresh produce becomes easier and more affordable because fruits and vegetables are more readily available at grocery stores, farmers markets or you can even grow some in your backyard.
Melons are a favorite for many and, during the summer, they are a much better value financially. They are always a healthy choice.
When you purchase watermelons and cantaloupe you want to make sure you are getting the best value so it’s important to know how to choose them.
Choose a watermelon that is firm, heavy and slightly waxy (not dull) in appearance. An indicator that the melon was allowed to ripen on the vine is the pale yellow color on one side of the melon. This is the part of the melon that was on the ground during the ripening process. If there is not a pale yellow side to the melon, it was most likely picked before it was ripe. Storing the melon in the refrigerator can help prevent over ripening. Over ripening can cause the flesh to be stringy and dry.
Choose a cantaloupe that has a thick raised netting on the surface of the melon. It should be heavy for its size. Make sure there is no scarring or tears on the skin. Look at the place where the stem was attached. The stem end should be indented. This is an indicator that it was allowed to ripen on the vine rather than being cut from the vine before it was ripe.
One cup of watermelon has only 51 calories and provides vitamins A, C and B6. It also has the phytochemical lycopene, which provides protective factors against some types of cancer. During the summer, one cup of watermelon can cost less than 20 cents. As the name implies, watermelon is mostly water so it can be a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
Cantaloupe has only 56 calories per cup and is a good source of vitamins A and K. Cantaloupe offers especially good nutritional value for such a low amount of calories.
There is no excuse not to eat fruit during the summer. It is readily available and a great value. It’s also delicious and refreshing, and will help keep you hydrated!
Last update: Monday, July 18, 2016