Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, www.meijerhealthyliving.com
Cantaloupe and Honeyrock: No melon supplies more beta-carotene – an antioxidant carotenoid – and your body converts some of it to Vitamin A. Vitamin A benefits include preserving eyesight, enhancing sun protection and possibly reducing the risk of several types of cancer. Cantaloupe also supplies nearly 100% of your daily vitamin C. These melons are known for their distinctive ribs and wonderfully sweet flavor. A Michigan Honeyrock will be much sweeter because it is not picked until it has reached its full maturity. Ripe melons will tan (little green color) and smell sweet and fragrant at the stem end.
Honeydew: For just 61 calories per cup, this honey of a melon supplies over half your daily Vitamin C, a multipurpose antioxidant that benefits your bones, joints, skin, and immunity. Honeydew also provides a good source of potassium-a mineral and electrolyte that plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. One study found that diets rich in potassium reduced stroke risk by 50%. Honeydew are the sweetest of the melons and actually come in different varieties. The green variety is known as the honeydew while the orange flesh variety is known as the golden honeydew.
Casaba: Low on calories (48 per cup) and long on Vitamin C (supplying 62% of your daily needs), casaba contains 14% of your daily vitamin B6 needs. People with higher intakes of B6 have been found to have a lower incidence of colon, prostate, lung, gastric and pancreatic cancers.
Watermelon: This summer staple not only beats other melons as a lycopene source-watermelon provides nearly twice the lycopene as tomatoes when compared gram-per-gram. In addition to lycopene’s possible association with prostate cancer protection, this colorful carotenoid may also lower the risk of other cancers. A ripe watermelon will have a buttery yellow under-belly (where the melon sat on the ground during growth).
Sources: Dole, Produce for Better Health Foundations, RuhligFarmsAndGardens.com
Fresh Melon Recipes:
Prosciutto and Melon Appetizer
Makes 8 pieces
1 cantaloupe, seeded and sliced into wedges
8 slices prosciutto
1. Remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe; wrap each piece of cantaloupe with a slice of the prosciutto (thin sliced Canadian bacon or ham may be substituted). Serve cold.
Chicken and Honeydew Salad
Makes 5 servings
½ honeydew melon
3 cups shredded Meijer rotisserie chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup seedless grapes
¼ cup light sour cream
¼ cup Meijer nonfat yogurt (plain)
¾ tsp. McCormick® curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove seeds from melon. Cut into chunks or use melon baller to scoop out melon balls; place in a large salad bowl.
2. Add chicken, celery and grapes to the bowl of melon.
3. In a small bowl, mix together sour creams, yogurt and curry powder. Gently stir into salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade
Makes 1 quart
4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
½ cup fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup Meijer white sugar
1 cups water
- Combine the watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and water in a blender. Blend until smooth.
For more information, visit www.meijermealbox.com