How much watermelon is TOO much to eat at once?

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.

Perfect pairs

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.