In celebration of back-to-school season, we highlight a fruit that regularly appears in lunch boxes: cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is well-loved by kids and adults for its sweet, juicy flesh and fragrance. The peak season for the fruit in the US runs from May through October, although you can pretty much find it year-round in most grocery stores. Melons that are sold out of season are often imported, and do not taste as sweet as those available in season. Technically, cantaloupe is a muskmelon, and the most common variety has an orange flesh, although other varieties with different colors are available outside of the country.
Nutrition Tidbits for Cantaloupe
- One cup of cantaloupe contains:
- Calories: 54 kcal
- Fat: 0.3 gCarbohydrates: 13 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Fiber: 1.4 g
- Glycemic Index (GI): Medium (56 to 69)
Cantaloupe is a great source of Vitamin A, which is important for vision and skin health. It is also chock-full of Vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant. In fact, one cup of cantaloupe contains slightly more than 100% of the daily recommended intake for both vitamins. These melons are also a good source of potassium.
When buying cantaloupe, look for those that are heavy for their size and have no sloshing sound when shaken. Cantaloupes should also smell freshly fragrant (instead of smelling “fermented” or overripe). Avoid any fruits with bruised or soft spots. Ripe cantaloupes should have a yellow hue on the skin between the webbing. Unripe fruits can be stored on the kitchen counter to ripen; once ripe, they should be kept in the refrigerator.
Ways to Include More Cantaloupe in Your Diet
- Add them to smoothies, cereals, or salads
- Make an Asian-inspired dessert: cut-up melons mixed with shaved ice, coconut milk, and honey (or sweetened condensed milk)
- Wrap with prosciutto as an appetizer
- Enjoy as part of fruit skewers for snacks