A watermelon is a refreshing and immensely hydrating fruit on a hot day. Apart from being a powerhouse of many nutrients, it is tasty and naturally sweet, which can easily make it a favourite with your kids. This fruit acts as a healthy substitute for aerated drinks and sweetened beverages. Watermelon is 92% water and 6-7% carbohydrate.
Sample this – 100 grams of watermelon provides 16 calories of energy, 3.3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.2 gram of protein, and 0.2 gram of fat. You also get 7.9 mg of iron, 12 mg of phosphorus, 0.2 mg of fibre, 27.3 mg of sodium, and 160 mg of potassium. Hence, the benefits of watermelon for kids are many.
Other useful properties of watermelon
The glycaemic Index of watermelon is 72-80, which is on the higher side. But, since the fruit is low in carbohydrates, it will not have a significant impact on the blood glucose levels. It has low calorie and fibre content. A watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and contains satisfactory amounts of potassium, copper, vitamin A (beta-carotene), and pantothenic acid (B5).
Citrulline is present in the white portion that covers the red flesh of the watermelon. It gets converted into arginine, which is an essential amino acid. Arginine helps in healing wounds too.
Lycopene, a potent antioxidant, contributes to the red colour of the fruit. To some degree, lycopene helps to form beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A.
Health benefits of watermelon
- This fruit helps digestion and ensures healthy bowel movements.
- Though the glycaemic index of watermelon is high, the carbohydrate content is low. This prevents a spike in the blood glucose levels. Overall, this fruit is linked to a reduction in insulin resistance. So, it helps maintain blood glucose levels.
- Watermelon protects your joints as it contains a natural pigment called "beta-cryptoxanthin", which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- For a healthy heart, watermelon is a great choice, as it contains citrulline, which gets converted into arginine. Both of these ensure nitric oxide synthesis that helps in reducing blood pressure.
- Having watermelon can improve the effect of workout sessions since it consists of water, antioxidants and amino acids, which are essential for replenishing lost energy. This fruit also contains potassium, which helps reduce gym cramps. Watermelons can reduce muscle soreness as well.
Watermelon for kids
- Watermelon consists of lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and protect against many infections. Choose watermelons that are bright red rather than orange or yellow. Higher amounts of lycopene are also present in seedless melons rather than those with seeds.
- One serving of watermelon contributes to 30% of the daily requirement of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a nutrient that is important for your child’s healthy vision.
- One of the biggest watermelon benefits for toddlers is that it helps prevent dehydration.
- Since it is a powerhouse of nutrients, it helps your child’s skin to stay soft, smooth and flexible.
- Watermelon satisfies the desire for something sweet. Instead of a dessert, your kid can enjoy watermelon slices or cubes and gain fewer calories. It is also fat-free and cholesterol-free.
Watermelon for babies
The texture of this fruit is soft and watery, which makes it easy for a baby to bite and swallow. But, make sure that the watermelon is served as tiny cubes to prevent choking. You can also puree or mash it for easy gulping.
Watermelon is a healthy snack which benefits the growth and development of a child. This fruit is a rich source of vitamin C that helps in strengthening the immunity of babies.
Watermelon recipes for children
If your child is bored of having watermelon in the usual way, why not try these fantastic recipes?
- Minted watermelon salad: Mix some pieces of watermelon, thin slices of red onions, and mint leaves. Sprinkle salt and pepper on it for taste.
- Tomato and watermelon salad: Mix tomatoes and watermelon pieces and top it with some sliced onions.
- Slice on a stick: Cut a watermelon into quarters. Chop each piece to make ½ inch thick chunks that are triangle-shaped. Into each slice, insert a Popsicle stick. Eat it as it is or arrange on a baking sheet and freeze till hard and solid.
- Watermelon juice: Mix pieces of seedless watermelon with fresh lime juice, salt, and a 1-inch peeled piece of ginger root. Blend the mixture. If it is naturally not sweet, add a spoonful or two of honey. Add a little water to reach the desired consistency.