W is for watermelon. Juicy, sweet and generally very popular with kids these are one of the most popular fresh menu items. Their vibrant colour and festive smell oozes Summer outdoor fun. Not only do watermelons contain a high amount of water, making them ideal for hydration in warmer weather, they also boast an impressive level of vitamins, nutrients and healthful properties.
Best enjoyed cool and freshly cut, they can be easily and creatively cut into different shapes, to further entice picky little eaters. Cookie cutters work well with watermelon and it makes for an ideal party and picnic food.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Watermelon can be classed as both a fruit and a vegetable. A fruit because it grows from seed, has a sweet taste, and is loosely considered a type of melon (although it is actually a type of berry called a pepo) and it’s a vegetable because it’s a member of the same family as the cucumber, pumpkin and squash.
- It grows in fields like other vine growing vegetables.
- All parts of a watermelon can actually be eaten… even the rind! The rind contains a number of nutrients too, but because it isn’t as delicious as the flesh it is rarely eaten.
- There are more than 1200 different varieties of watermelon, all coming in various weights, shapes and sizes.
- You can get get red, orange, yellow or white watermelons, too!
WHY ARE WATERMELONS SO GOOD FOR YOU?
1- Watermelons are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for heart health and effective against certain cancers.
2- It also contains good amounts of potassium, which is an essential mineral, beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention
3- Watermelon contains high levels of beta-carotene, another potent antioxidant. Beta-carotene works in conjunction with the other antioxidants found in watermelon to protect your body from free radical damage.
4- Beta-carotene is also a precursor to vitamin A which is critical to healthy immune system.
5- Watermelon contains a high percentage of water by weight, making it ideal for hydration in warmer weather – acting almost as a hydrolyte with the presence of sugars and minerals. A great way to keep little ones hydrated whilst they enjoy playtime.
Below we have a fun watermelon food craft idea – Watermelon Ninja Turtles, as well as a delicious, simple and allergy friendly recipe (coming soon). They are fun ways to celebrate watermelon, to talk about their texture, their taste and why they are so good for us and important in our diets!