Sweeten Up Your Summer with Melons

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Melons make for a refreshing and lower-calorie treat during the warmer months. Most melons weigh in at under 50 calories per one-cup serving and contain fiber. Watermelons contain vitamin C and potassium, as well as a high water content, which contributes to hydration.  Cantaloupe is an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Honeydew melons are an excellent source of vitamin C. You can eat melon alone, or add it to smoothies, salads or desserts.

Choosing a Good Melon

  • Watermelons:  Look for the “yellow belly” – a flatter yellowish spot, which indicates it sat on the vine to ripen.
  • Cantaloupe: Smell the cantaloupe. If it doesn’t have a smell, it likely doesn’t have a taste either. You want a musky sweet smell to indicate a ripe cantaloupe. You also need to touch it. The skin should give a little, but not feel mushy. You also want to look it over to make sure there are no bruises, spots or punctures.
  • Honeydew Melon: This melon should have a golden color; brownish freckling is fine and indicates a very sweet melon. The melon should feel firm, but not hard. Smell the melon. It should have a sweet smell. If you shake it, you should be able to hear the seeds rattling around inside.

Melon and Chicken Pasta Salad
Serves 6 (1 1/3 cups each).

All you need:

  • Dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp chopped, fresh tarragon or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1 tbsp Hy-Vee distilled white vinegar
  • Pasta Salad:
  • 8 oz (about 3 cups) whole wheat bowtie pasta
  • 2 cups cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
  • 2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup (about 3 oz) chopped prosciutto
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. To prepare dressing, mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add the buttermilk, mayonnaise, tarragon, and vinegar; whisk until combined.
  2. To prepare pasta salad, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool. Add melon, spinach, chicken, cranberries, prosciutto, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.
  3. To make ahead, cover and refrigerate, undressed, for up to 1 day. Toss with dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition facts per serving: 294 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 54mg cholesterol, 633mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 25g protein.

Source: www.eatingwell.com

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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