(Family Features) The start of spring is the perfect time for new beginnings, including a fresh start on eating healthy. The trick is introducing smart eating habits so tasty and easy that your eating plan becomes more a way of life than a short-lived commitment. One easy way to achieve that habit is by adding watermelon to your daily diet, giving your body a low-calorie option to curb an appetite for unhealthy snacks.
Set reasonable goals. A deprivation diet is destined to fail because eventually your body will rebel. Instead, aim for well-rounded meals with moderate portions. If weight loss is your ultimate goal, know that losing two pounds a week is generally considered the maximum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Satisfy your sweet tooth. Everyone, even the most dedicated health food fans, experience cravings from time to time. Most experts agree that it’s OK to answer your sweet tooth – in moderation of course. Before you take the plunge, think about whether there are other options that could be a good substitute. For example, instead of a sugary candy bar, consider a naturally sweet slice of watermelon for a cholesterol-free, fat-free way to satisfy cravings at only 80 calories per 2-cup serving. Watermelon contains fiber and water, and packs a wealth of health benefits, including strong levels of vitamins A, C and B6.
Stay well hydrated. During the warmer spring and summer months, it’s easy to let water consumption slide because you’re focused on entertaining and outdoor activities. However, the warm air can be hard on your body, so it’s important to keep that water flowing year-around. Most adults should aim for eight glasses of water each day, but you can also boost your water intake with foods that have a high water content, such as watermelon, which is 92 percent water and contains protein and fiber so you are satisfied on fewer calories while boosting your overall hydration.
Find more inspiration for health-conscious habits at watermelon.org.
Island Fruit Salad
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon), juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
- 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
- 1 orange, sectioned and halved
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
- 2 teaspoons flaked, sweetened coconut
- In small bowl, combine water and coconut sugar; microwave 20 seconds. Stir to completely dissolve sugar. Let cool. Once cool, add lime juice and rum extract.
- In medium bowl, add kiwi, orange and watermelon. Pour rum juice over top and thoroughly toss. Let sit 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Divide fruit salad into two bowls and sprinkle with coconut.
Watermelon Protein Bites
Recipe courtesy of Anya Shinall of Anya’s Eats
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked
- purified water
- 1 1/2 cups sprouted watermelon seeds, divided, plus additional for garnish
- 1 tablespoon coconut butter
- 1 cup fresh watermelon, chopped
- 1/8-1/4 cup roughly chopped beets (optional)
- Chop dates in half.
- Place dates in bowl of purified water and soak 1-2 hours.
- Remove dates from water bowl and place them into food processor.
- Pulse a few times then add 1 cup watermelon seeds, coconut butter and watermelon.
- Add chopped beets, if using.
- Blend until well combined, scraping sides of food processor as you go.
- Add remaining watermelon seeds and pulse, leaving some seeds chunky.
- For smoother texture, continue to blend.
- Remove mixture from food processor, place in small bowl and cover, allowing to cool in refrigerator 30 minutes.
- Remove mixture from fridge. With fingertips slightly wet, roll mixture into balls and place on a plate.
- Once done rolling, add watermelon seeds to top.
- Place watermelon bites in freezer 1-2 hours, or until frozen.
Steel-Cut Oats with Watermelon
- 1 cup 1 percent milk, plus additional (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 3/4 cup diced seedless watermelon
- 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- In medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup milk and water to gentle boil. Pour in oats. Stir; return to gentle boil then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes.
- While oats are cooking, in small bowl, combine watermelon, dried fruit, nuts and maple syrup.
- Portion out oats and top with watermelon mixture. Add additional milk, if desired.