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