Have you noticed how heavy a watermelon is? Watermelons are filled with water making them the heaviest melon out there. 92% of a watermelon is water, so it’s not surprising that they are extremely good for hydrating. This Texas heat and humidity in August is brutal, and for a girl like me who likes to stay active despite the extreme temperature, watermelon is a favorite.
Gatorade and other sports drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and other fake stuff, so I’d much rather snack on hydrating foods and find natural ways to replenish fluid loss. One of my rules of thumb is to always stay ahead of the game when it comes to hydration. I’ve found that once I’m dehydrated, I’m done for – my energy is zapped. There’s just no catching up when it’s 102 degrees and humid. I have a 3-day tennis tournament this weekend, and even though it’s only Tuesday, I’m already working on building my hydration by drinking A LOT and preparing meals like this watermelon gazpacho.
Before I get into all the reasons you should add watermelon to your summer diet, I want to stop and brag on my daughter for a second. I am a happy mama because of so many of the choices she is making lately. Even though Rob and I are what many would call healthnut-exercise junkies, we do not push it on our kids. Neither of us were into food or fitness from birth, in fact we grew up to be sugar-loving non-gym goers. It wasn’t until we hit 30 and got a taste of just how good our bodies feel when we eat right and exercise that we became so passionate about it. We have definitely educated our kids about proper nutrition, and they see the way we choose to eat and take care of our bodies, but we don’t require them or force them to eat like we do. (Of course, we would love it if they did! But forcing them can backfire.) However, because we are the ones who buy the food, we don’t keep junk or sodas in the house, so that does cut down on the trash our kids consume. Many people ask me “Do you let your kids drink soda?” My answer is “Yes.” When they are somewhere that a soda is offered, yes, they are allowed to drink it. Do I cringe inside every time, yes, I do, but again, the decision to care about what they put into their bodies has to be theirs, we believe. We can only lead by example and show them just how rewarding it is to fuel your body properly.
With all that said, back to Kayley. This summer, she came home from camp, and after thinking about it and mulling it over with a good friend who happens to be a non-soda drinker, she decided she was done with sodas. She has not had even ONE soda all summer. And that’s not all. She has decided she cares about what she puts in her body and has drastically cut back any junk and has joined Rob and I at the gym. She has clearly made the connection that when she eats junk, she feels like junk and plays her sport like junk. Kayley, from birth, has been kind of like Rob and I were from birth, which is a sugar-holic. So, Rob and I are extremely happy for her that at the age of 13, she is making healthy choices for her body. And feeling good is influencing other areas of her life too. I about fell over after walking into her clean room and spotted her neatly made bed on a Sunday afternoon. Just had to take a break from watermelon to share.
Back to watermelons. Watermelons are not only hydrating, they are also energizing. The 92% water along with the high fiber, high electrolyte, and high natural sugar content serves as an excellent natural invigorator. Watermelons provide 20% of your vitamin C for the day plus plenty of vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. And, that bright red color gives away the high amount of the powerful antioxidant lycopene found in this refreshing fruit.
I am instantly a fan of any recipe I can make in a blender, as like everyone else, I’m busy! I don’t typically have time for meals that require a long preparation when it comes to everyday lunches and dinners. I also don’t care to be in my kitchen cleaning a million dirty pots and pans, so a one pot or one blender recipe is my cup of tea. This watermelon gazpacho is a sweet twist on the traditional gazpacho, making it one that is also kid approved.
To start, I cut up about 8 cups of watermelon and added it to my large Vitamix blender. I then cut up several other phytonutrient packed veggies – tomato, purple onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, red chile pepper, and basil leaves – and added those to the Vitamix as well. Finally, I added a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt for added flavor before blending. I saved about half a cup of cut up veggies to float on top as a garnish.
- 8 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 tomato
- 1 cucumber
- ½ purple onion
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 red chile pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- large handful basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Cut watermelon, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, and chile pepper into chunks.
- Reserve about ½ cup of the cut up veggies for a garnish, and add the rest to a large blender.
- Peel 2 cloves of garlic, and add to the blender.
- Add basil leaves, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt to the blender.
- Puree into a soup.
- Pour into soup bowls, and garnish with cut up veggies.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.