Is there really such thing as ‘too much of a good thing’? Dietitian Melissa Meier deliberates this in the case of the beloved summer staple – watermelon.
Nothing says summer like biting into a crisp slice of watermelon poolside or at the beach. Juicy, refreshing and oh-so delicious, watermelon is atop many people’s favourite fruits list – and it’s easy to go overboard.
So, if you’re wondering what a healthy watermelon portion actually is, here’s your answer.
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How much watermelon is a healthy portion?
Let’s get one thing straight: watermelon is very good for you. It’s light on kilojoules but provides a raft of micronutrients and antioxidants, including beta-carotene for healthy eyes and vitamin C for your immune system. Watermelon also contains a compound called lycopene, a cancer-fighting plant chemical that supports a healthy heart. It’s even classed as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Obviously, watermelon is packed with water, too, which is a good thing for your hydration status.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick refresher: all adults are recommended to have two serves of fruit every single day. One serve is equivalent 150 grams – something like an apple, an orange or a pear. Another way to measure it is by cups, with one cup of any chopped fruit counting as a serve. And here’s the reality check: that means just one big slice of watermelon is usually enough.
If you’d usually dig into far more watermelon than that, don’t be alarmed. Like I said earlier – watermelon is a very healthy thing to eat. As that vast majority of us don’t eat anywhere near enough fruit and veg, you’ve actually got a pretty good problem on your hands if you’re eating too much fruit. Plus, it’s far better for you to eat a few extra pieces of fruit every now and then than a chocolate bar or packet of chips.
Apart from the taste, one of the reasons watermelon is so easy to eat is because it doesn’t provide much protein, carbs or fibre – so it’s not particularly filling. To slow down your watermelon feast, it’s a wise idea to add something else to the mix to help balance your snack and make it a little more satisfying.
Plain yoghurt is a good choice as it contains both hunger-busting protein and bone-strengthening calcium. You could even add a handful of chopped nuts for a boost of heart-healthy fats and a little extra protein. A healthy muesli bar (read: made with whole grains and minimal added sugar) is another good choice, as it provides slow-burning low-GI carbs to keep you feeling full.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.