Tasty Melons for a Healthy Summer Salad

By Andrea Riggs Food and Fitness Writer | 8/9/2013, 2:13 p.m.
The summer is melon-eating season, and here’s a light melon salad perfect for a weekend cookout, or just to have ...

The summer is melon-eating season, and here’s a light melon salad perfect for a weekend cookout, or just to have on hand as an easy, perfectly sweet snack or side dish with many great health benefits.

With ripe melons readily available in supermarkets and fruit stands, a salad is an ideal healthy meal with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help prevent chronic illnesses and maintain a healthy weight.

Now you’re probably wondering what kinds of melons to eat to make the perfect salad and gain the proper health benefits. Well, the answer is simple: all melons - such as cantaloupes, watermelons, and honeydews. All three melons contain a different array of nutrients and flavors.

Let’s start with the cantaloupe: the round, yellowish-orange melon with large seeds in the center and a greenish brown rough rind on the outside. This melon is sweet and tart tasting and contains vitamin A and C, calcium, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, iron, and potassium to name a few. All you have to do is add a few chunks of cantaloupe a day to get vital health benefits.

The next melon is the big one, usually 5 pounds or more, oval-shaped, super sweet and juicy: the watermelon. It’s of course wonderful served cold in the summer time, sliced or in chunks, and best of all it contains potassium, antioxidants, carotenoids, carbohydrates, many vitamins, protein, and fiber. Now who wouldn’t want to add them to a summer salad?

Lastly, our third melon is the honeydew. Honeydew melons are green sweet melons with big tan seeds in the center and a hard pale color rind. Honeydew melons are good for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and yes, weight management!

So there you have it! A little essential melon information to encourage you to eat more melons and help you gain their benefits by tossing up a healthy and cool fruit salad:

A few healthy tips for your melon salad:

Select red wine vinegar and fresh lemons for a low-fat dressing.

Add ½ cup of feta cheese and pine nuts for added protein, texture and taste.

Serve with mixed arugula and mixed spinach greens for great color and flavor.

The Ingredients

3 cups mixed watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupe melons cubed into bite sizes

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt to taste

¼ cup pine nuts

½ cup crumbled feta or blue cheese

The Preparation:

Drain cubed melons in a colander. In a separate bowl gently toss melons with lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, arugula and pine nuts. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and serve atop mixed greens of your choice.

The Nutrition:

Eating a single serving of melon salad provides less than 150 calories and several servings of anti-oxidants to help prevent chronic illnesses and support good health.

“Get Body Beautiful” tips:

• Fruits and vegetables should comprise 30 – 50% of a healthy and well-rounded daily meal plan, so sprinkle with more of your fruits like kiwi and mixed berries.

• Melons are high in water content and help to support your daily hydration, which aids in digestion and a more efficient body metabolism.

Andrea Riggs, President of Get Body Beautiful, is a national fitness expert, TV Trainer, event speaker and radio host. Her nutrition products and signature book “Get Body Beautiful – A 30 Day Body Toning Plan, are available at www.GetBodyBeautiful.com.