• Tracey Shaffer: Sweeten up your summer with melons

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  • Melons make for a refreshing and lower-calorie treat during the warmer months. Most melons weigh in at under 50 calories per one-cup serving and contain fiber.
    Watermelons contain vitamin C and potassium, as well as a high water content, which contributes to hydration. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Honeydew melons are an excellent source of vitamin C. You can eat melon alone, or add it to smoothies, salads or desserts.
    Choosing a good melon
    • Watermelons: Look for the “yellow belly” – a flatter yellowish spot, which indicates it sat on the vine to ripen.
    • Cantaloupe: Smell the cantaloupe. If it doesn’t have a smell, it likely doesn’t have a taste either. You want a musky sweet smell to indicate a ripe cantaloupe. You also need to touch it. The skin should give a little, but not feel mushy. You also want to look it over to make sure there are no bruises, spots or punctures.
    • Honeydew Melon: This melon should have a golden color; brownish freckling is fine and indicates a very sweet melon. The melon should feel firm, but not hard. Smell the melon. It should have a sweet smell. If you shake it, you should be able to hear the seeds rattling around inside.
    Melon and chicken pasta salad
    Makes: 6 servings (1 1/3 cups each)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
    1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
    3 tablespoons chopped, fresh tarragon, or 1 tablespoon dried
    1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
    Pasta salad:
    8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat bowtie pasta
    2 cups cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon
    2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
    2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 cup (about 3 ounces) chopped prosciutto
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1. To prepare dressing, mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add the buttermilk, mayonnaise, tarragon, and vinegar; whisk until combined.
    2. To prepare pasta salad, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool. Add melon, spinach, chicken, cranberries, prosciutto, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.
    3. To make ahead, cover and refrigerate, undressed, for up to 1 day. Toss with dressing about 1 hour before serving.
    Nutrition facts per serving:294 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 633 mg sodium; 38 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g added sugars; 25 g protein Source: EatingWell.com
    Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.
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