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Fruit Bites for Kids: Watermelon

Watermelon with faceWatermelon seems like just a big, fun, summer-loving guy. But don't think he's all fun and games. He brings a lot more than sweetness to the party. He has lots of these vitamins:

  • Vitamin C -- helps your immune system. That's the system that helps keep you from getting sick.
  • Vitamin A -- makes your eyes strong.
  • Vitamin B6 -- helps fight infections.
  • Vitamin B1 -- helps your body use food for energy.
  • Lycopene -- an antioxidant, may help prevent cancer.

Q: From your name, I'd guess you have a lot of water in you.

Watermelon: Yes, indeed, I am 92% water. But that doesn't water down my taste or my health benefits. I deliver more nutrients per calorie than many other fruits! And having so much water in me can help keep you full.

Q: You're basically a one-season fruit, right?

Watermelon: I'm really best in the summer. That’s when I'm fresh off the vine.

In many cities, though, I'm available year-round. You can catch me in the produce section of the grocery store. If you're lucky, you can find me at farm stands. That's where I'm extra fresh, juicy, and crunchy. You won't find me canned or frozen.

Q: Even though you grow on a vine, I hear your vines don't climb and you stay on the ground. Is that true?

Watermelon: Take a look at me, man! I once set a world record at 262 pounds. Even at my normal weight of 5 to 30 pounds, I'm no string bean. No vine could hold me up. But that's OK. I grow just fine on the ground like my cousin, Pumpkin.

Q: So you come in many sizes?

Watermelon: Yeah, and many colors and shapes, too. Many people think of me only in the extra-large picnic size. But I have more than 50 varieties in the United States.

My rind is usually thick and green, but it can look black. It's often striped but it can be spotted. Inside I can be pink or yellow. I might be round, or I might be oblong. Usually I have small seeds inside. But they can be black seeds, or brown, yellow, green, or white seeds. And, sometimes I'm seedless.

Q: What's so important about your antioxidants?

Watermelon: We can keep this really simple. Antioxidants help stop a lot of disease. And I have a lot of antioxidants. Antioxidants can help prevent cancer. They also help lower the rate of asthma attacks. Some also help protect your eyes.

Q: So what's the best way to enjoy you?

Watermelon: A lot of people eat me plain in slices. You can also use a spoon to scoop me up in balls. But you can add me to all kinds of recipes, like slushies, fruit salads, and fruit kebabs. 

Try me with a little bit of cinnamon on top. Then I will make your tongue tingle! You can make watermelon salsa to go with spicy foods. Blend me with cantaloupe and reduced-fat yogurt into a refreshing soup. Try me as a dessert with sherbet or sorbet.

I like to be served as cubed watermelon salad with crumbled feta cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I know it sounds weird, but try it some time. The mix of salty and sweet will surprise you!

 

Ready for another bite? Try Apples, Bananas, Oranges, or Peaches.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD, FAAP on December 28, 2013