Watermelon, Three Ways

A summertime favorite, watermelon benefits your health and beauty. Try these recipes.

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If summer were a food, it would be large, round, dark green on the outside, and vibrant pink on the inside—that's right, it would be a watermelon. Every aspect of biting into this refreshing fruit, juice dripping down your chin and all, just screams summer. From its syrupy sweet taste to its crystal-like texture, resisting a fresh cold slice on a hot summer day is near insanity.

Watermelon isn't just the face and flavor of summer, this fruit also does wonders for your health and beauty. That messy juice is loaded with antioxidants—such as vitamins A and C. These nutrients travel through your body, eliminating free radicals that increase inflammation and damage our cells—all of which can lead to heart disease and cancer. Both vitamin A and C may prevent dry, flaky skin, sun spots, and wrinkles, common byproducts of summer.

Watermelon has more in common with tomatoes than just a vine to grow on. It too contains the powerful phytonutrient lycopene made famous by the tomato. Lycopene protects us against multiple types of cancer and slurping and/or noshing on watermelon is a sweet way to get a healthy dose of this antioxidant.

Watermelon isn't just for seed-spitting kids, either—it can take on a more mature role in a summer cocktail or add a sweet kick to a savory salad. These recipes show a different side to watermelon. Truth be told, it is hard to do anything but eat a fresh slice once you cut it open, let alone have the patience to cook with it. Try to hold out, these simple recipes are definitely worth the wait.

Watermelon Margarita

Serves 4

• ½ cup water

• 2 cups watermelon cubes

• 1 tablespoon agave syrup

• 3 strips orange zest

• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

• ¾ cup white or silver tequila

• 4 lemon wedges

1. In a blender, purée watermelon cubes until smooth. Stir in agave, orange zest, lime juice, and tequila.

2. Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice, then pour margarita mixture over top. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Summer is the time for margaritas and with this low-cal version, you can enjoy them all summer long! Watermelon is the perfect texture to replace sugary margarita mixes without skimping on sweetness.

Watermelon and Crab Salad With Avocado Dressing

Serves 2

• 6 ounces crab meat

• 2/3 cup watermelon

• 1 pinch salt

• ½ avocado

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• Juice of a lime

1. Combine the crab meat with the watermelon; sprinkle salt overtop. Refrigerate while making the dressing.

2. For the dressing: Combine the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it's a liquid.

3. Drizzle dressing over the crab and watermelon; serve on a bed of arugula.

Crab, watermelon, and avocado—now that's a party. It may sound a little kooky, but trust me, the flavors are delicate, delicious, and refreshing. Each ingredient has its own distinct flavor and texture, which complement each other in the perfect marriage.

Lemon Watermelon Pops

Serves 8

• 3 cups seedless watermelon without the rind, cut into cubes

• 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

• 1/4 cup(s) mint leaves, minced

• 2 teaspoon(s) finely grated lemon zest

• 1 pinch salt

1. In a blender, purée the watermelon and yogurt until smooth. Stir in the mint, lemon zest, and salt.

2. Pour the purée into eight ice-pop molds or two standard ice-cube trays (insert popsicle sticks halfway through freezing) and freeze until hard, about three hours.

It's just that simple. These pops sound almost as good as they taste and are the perfect cool-down treat on a hot summer day.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the U.S. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored three books: Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on Youtube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!