Is there any fruit more nostalgic of hot summer days than watermelon? I have such fond memories of watching my Pup, my grandfather, nosh on a slice of watermelon as if it were a gift from the gods. It started with a slice served on a plate with a fork and knife. He was quirky like that. Next came the sprinkling of salt. It was then that I learned how much salt can bring out the flavor in foods. Mindfully enjoying every bite, he would slice right down to the rind, leaving no waste. Then came the best part, the part that forever holds a place in my heart when I remember my Pup. Pup would take the rind and rub it all along his mouth, upper lip and chin, successfully getting rid of any stickiness.
8 year old me thought he was a kooky old man.
Adult me did some research and learned how this quirky little habit could be beneficial to my aging skin, weight loss and stress.
The Many Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is not only a sweet tooth satisfying summer essential, this fruit is packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Lycopene, nutrients that have been shown to fight cancer, decrease inflammation, support healthy vision and decrease muscle soreness. At 92% water, it help keep the body hydrated and its fiber supports healthy digestion, all for a mere 46 calories per cup.
In addition to the powerful attributes eating watermelon can provide, using the rind for an at home facial provides some serious anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Vogue magazine, watermelon is a key ingredient Korean beauty regimens. The rinds are chilled, thinly sliced with a mandolin and placed on the skin to calm redness and inflammation.
The seeds of the watermelon are high in amino acids and magnesium, a nutrient that lowers cortisol (the naughty belly fat stress hormone) levels in the body and helps with sleep. Roasting them makes them more palatable. Oh...and don't worry, you will not grow a watermelon in your tummy because you ate the seeds!
As previously mentioned, the pink sweet flesh is a great summer snack that helps keep the body hydrated and feeling full, a bonus for those trying to lose weight and hate drinking plain water.
I decided to up my watermelon game from snacking on chunks to incorporating them into side dishes and meals. Here are a few recipes I recommend:
Two Peas and Their Pod is one of my go to sites for recipes. I had my doubts about adding onion to watermelon but, trust me when I say, this just works. I personally went with the balsamic glaze option and subbed the feta cheese with goat cheese and it was absolutely mouth watering.
I am a sucker for a good caprese salad made with a fresh garden tomato. But what happens when you swap the tomato for watermelon? Total heaven!! This recipe from Delish.com will have to snacking poolside in just 15 minutes. Now listen, I highly recommend you splurge for the really good fresh mozzarella. Yes it is pricier, but totally worth it!
Another honorable mention from Delish.com is their Watermelon Salsa. Whether it's a Fourth of July BBQ or binge watching snack, this salsa will have you tossing your bottled versions out the window. Seriously, though, your guests will be be wowed at your culinary skills serving this straight from the watermelon rind.
GimmeSomeOven.com is another go to website for all my recipe needs...and this mocktail surely did NOT disappoint. Let's face it, alcohol and weight loss do not go together. So if you are trying to lose weight, have been nominated designated driver or just looking for a refreshing beverage that's a little fancier than sparkling water, this mocktail should be on your list. I personally skipped the seasoned rim, but let me know of you try it and what you think.
I cannot provide a list of recipes without including my all time favorite site, SkinnyTatse.com. I admit this recipe is one I do not make often due to a severe seafood allergy in the home. However, when my boys are away at camp, the shrimp make an appearance! Remember, always look for wild caught shrimp. I also recommend grabbing a bottle of the golden balsamic vinegar.
Of course I MUST add a dessert recipe. Nothing beats a cold treat on a warm summer night, but ice cream can be loaded with sugar and fat and completely sabotage all your weight loss work. ThisHealthyTable.com shared this recipe for a refreshing sorbet made from only four real food ingredients. Be sure to shop local for your honey for an allergy fighting immune boost.
Whether you are eating watermelon for its health benefits, weight loss properties or just smearing the rind all over your face like my Pup, I hope you will give some of these recipes a try this summer. Let me know which was your favorite or if you have a recipe you'd like to share.
I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.