As vacations end, work obligations pile back up, and school starts, it can feel like the sweetness of summer is fading fast. However, one thing isn’t leaving us just yet – the summer produce. It just hits differently! So, move over pumpkin, we are not quite ready for you.
August includes a celebration of one specific VIP of summer fruits, so let’s focus on this delicious, healthy, and beautiful treat for a moment. It comes in several colors and sizes; it’s featured on apparel, towels, pool floats, and even songs; and adults and kids all enjoy this juicy, delicious, and satisfying flavor of summer. What is it? You guessed it – watermelon.
In addition to its unmatched flavor and versatility, watermelon also has a tremendous amount of health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, rich in vitamins A and C, contains citrulline, which is an amino acid linked to improved exercise performance, and it’s full of hydrating electrolytes. It’s also low in calories, making it very nutrient dense.
Here are the top 10 easy-to-make watermelon snacks that are both healthy and attractive to enjoy with friends, family, and your kid’s soccer team:
1. Watermelon Popsicles With Kiwi (Or Other Fruit of Choice)
Puree half of a large watermelon in the blender, slice up some kiwi, and get those popsicle molds ready. Place one kiwi slice in each mold and then fill the mold with the watermelon juice. Add a stick to each mold and freeze those beauties. Pop them out on a hot summer day, and you’ll be very popular.
2. Watermelon, Chicken, and Mozzarella Salad
Slice up watermelon, chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes and add to a bed of lettuce. Top it off with buffalo mozzarella cheese balls, olive oil, vinegar, and some balsamic glaze. Divide into small plastic cups with forks to serve as a refreshing appetizer or post-game snack. Note: you can also add extra dried or fresh fruit (fresh blueberries or dried cranberries are yummy options), sunflower seeds and/or sliced almonds.
3. Super Simple Watermelon-Lime Sorbet
Cube and freeze watermelon (parchment paper works great for this), add to a blender with lime juice and salt to taste. Blend it on high until it’s the consistency of shaved ice. Freeze the leftovers for a future treat. Some other good variations include swapping lime juice for lemon juice, adding other fruits, adding honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness, adding vanilla protein powder or collagen, or adding a splash of cream or coconut milk to make it creamier like traditional sorbet.
4. Watermelon and Feta Skewers
This is a fun variation on salad. For this, you will need cubed watermelon and feta cheese, thick sliced cucumbers, basil and sliced red onions (similar in width to the watermelon and cheese). Load you skewers as follows: watermelon, cucumber, feta, watermelon, basil, onion. Once all the skewers are prepared, drizzle with balsamic glaze. This will be a huge hit at a summer block party.
5. Watermelon Lemonade
Chop up 4 cups of ripe, seedless watermelon and place it in a blender. Blend until liquid. Strain the liquid with a fine mesh sieve back into the blender. Add juice from fresh lemons, sugar (or sugar substitute of choice), and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour it into a pitcher and serve it cold with watermelon and lemon slice added for garnish. Nothing screams summer more than juice, especially lemonade, and nothing pairs better with citrus than watermelon. This is so very tasty!
6. Watermelon Gazpacho
Chop 8 cups of watermelon into small cubes and blend it up. Pour it into a large bowl and set it aside. Then combine, 1 medium chopped cucumber (with peel and seeds removed), 1 medium chopped tomato, ½ small chopped red onion, and ¼ cup basil leaves and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture over the watermelon mixture and stir until fully combined. Finally, add in 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, ¼ tsp salt and a little bit of hot sauce to taste. Allow time for this to fully chill (about 2-3 hours) before serving. I recommend serving small portions in those little plastic cups you used for the salad. Serve with a spoon (or your guests can just drink it straight up). Cold soup is delicious, refreshing, and incredibly healthy in the summer as a snack or paired with your favorite entrees. If you’ve never tried this before, it’s a must! You won’t be sorry.
7. Grilled Watermelon
Cut a large watermelon into thick wedges and add salt and lime zest to taste. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then use paper towels to remove excess moisture. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until you see grill marks. Sprinkle with salt and cilantro after you remove them from the grill. This one is a little more adventurous, but it definitely adds a great summer vibe to your BBQ. It’s the ultimate healthy side dish or snack while you’re waiting for the rest of the food to cook.
8. Creamy Watermelon Smoothie
Blend 3 cups diced watermelon, ½ banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 6 oz of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, lime juice to taste & 3 large ice cubes. Once it’s smooth, you can drink it immediately. Add some vanilla protein powder or collagen (or both) for an extra boost. This is an easy and nourishing way to get your protein and fruits in on-the-go.
9. Red, White, & Blue Fruit Salad
Combine cubed, red watermelon, blueberries, and apples (no skin) or cubed honeydew melon (the ones that are super white without the skin). This is one is easy to change up as desired, and it’s perfect for Labor Day. If you’re crafty, you can even make an American flag out of the fruit or add some stars (use a cookie cutter) made out of apples.
10. Watermelon Jell-O
Cut up the watermelon and set aside the rind (Keep it as large as possible. It should look like a bowl). Add the watermelon to a blender or food processor and blend until liquid. Strain the liquid using a nut milk bag until you have 3 cups of watermelon juice. Heat the juice stove top on low using a pot. Remove it when it’s warm to the touch and add 3 tbsp gelatin. Use the watermelon rind as your mold, placing the mixture back in it, and then place the mold in the fridge until it sets. This is truly a kid favorite (and adults like to sneak a few pieces too). It looks awesome, tastes great and it’s very wholesome as well.
Keep these watermelon dishes coming as long as possible to feel a little piece of summer sticking around. Watermelon often stays ripe through the fall, so until those pumpkin recipes take over as the weather shifts, keep that sunshine on your plate. Nothing screams peak summer quite like this powerhouse fruit.