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Moderation Maven

Dishing Up the Best Ingredients for a Healthy Lifestyle
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An Ode to Watermelon


Okay, fun fact. I've polished off almost a whole watermelon by myself. Probably not the definition of moderation, but cut me some slack; this was over the span of about 6 hours, while canoeing at Kickapoo State Park. I earned it!

Watermelon has always been one of my favorite summertime treats. I mean, not that many foods can work as a snack, dessert, and hydration source. Seriously, watermelon lives up to its name at 92% water.

But the fruit is much more than sugary water. It's full of important nutrients, too.

-You might immediately think of carrots when I say vitamin A, but watermelon is a lesser-known supplier of the nutrient needed for eye health and immunity.

-In particular, watermelon also has a type of vitamin A called lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing heart disease and prostate cancer.

-Adding further to watermelon's immune-boosting power are vitamins C and B6. The latter is also needed for brain health and forming red blood cells.

-Also, watermelon supplies some potassium to help regulate blood pressure.

You probably wouldn't be too surprised to know that as I'm writing this now, I'm savoring a bowl of sweet seedless watermelon chunks, with just the right amount of bite.

Cut-up watermelon really is an excellent, refreshing choice for a snack (pair with some cheese or nuts for protein) or as a light pick-me-up after dinner. But there are many other ways to make use of my favorite fruit. Try these tasty recipes from the Watermelon Board (www.watermelon.org)!

Tropical Cilantro Salsa

Makes 8-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups seeded and diced watermelon
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup diced fresh mango
  • Juice from 4 limes
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper just before serving.

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Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups seeded small watermelon balls
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil (purple or green)
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of balsamic vinegar as desired

Directions

Toss together the watermelon, mozzarella, basil, scallions, and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of baby greens. Drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over the salad if desired.

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Mediterranean Salad

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil. Garnish with pepper.

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Watermelon Pineapple and Peach Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 2 cups peach yogurt
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and serve immediately.


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