Watermelon Dippers Recipe

Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D.

Nothing is quite as satisfying as a snack you can dip and dunk. While we all know it’s easy to down the calorie equivalent of a Quarter Pounder in chips and dip in the blink of an eye, there’s no law that says a dip-feast has to be unhealthy. In fact, you can have your dip and eat it too by simply substituting fat-free items, such as fat-free mayo, sour cream, or cottage cheese, for those full-fat items in your favorite dip recipes. That explains why Americans are in love with chips and dip, spending more than $7.5 billion a year on chips alone. (1) We all know chips are loaded with calories, fat, and salt, but even the dip can be deadly. A quarter cup of regular guacamole has almost 100 calories, 86% of which comes from fat. Add a handful of chips and you are downing the calorie equivalent of a Quarter Pounder. (2-4)

Here are a few of the best of what dip recipes have to offer. Best of all: they will soothe your taste buds while improving your health and respecting your waistline.

Nachos with Watermelon Avocado Salsa Recipe
Nachos with Watermelon Avocado Salsa Recipe

First: Dip Delights
Toss the Ranch dressing and consider a few tasty alternatives that even help you meet your daily quota of eight or more fruits and vegetables.

1. Watermelon - Avocado Salsa This sweet and spicy salsa goes well with baked tortilla chips (it is also a great topping for seafood, such as salmon!). The watermelon gives it a crisp, juicy texture and loads the snack with lycopene, vitamins such as vitamin C, and minerals like potassium.

Combine: 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped; 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 Tablespoon diced jalapeno pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 4-ounce can drained diced green chiles, 2 Tablespoons diced red onion, 1 ½ cups diced watermelon, and salt to taste. Makes ~ 2 cups.

2. Mojito Watermelon Salsa This salsa pares well with homemade corn chips, bean chips, and as a topping on grilled white fish.

Combine: 3 cups chopped watermelon, ½ large cucumber, seeded and chopped; 1/4 cup chopped red onion, ½ chopped avocado, 15-20 chopped mint leaves, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro; the juice of 2 limes, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes ~ 4 cups.

3. Coconut Curry Dip Substitute light coconut milk for full-fat and you cut calories by 37% and both total fat and saturated fat by 73%! This dipping sauce goes great with watermelon strips and grilled prawns, as an appetizer or snack!

Combine: 6 tablespoons hot mango chutney, 6 tablespoons light coconut milk, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger, and 1 Tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to allow flavors to blend. Makes 3/4 cup.

4. Cheesy Creamy Watermelon Dip Dunk graham crackers in this dip and you’ll think you’re eating cheesecake!

Combine: ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup fat-free cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Fold in 1 cup finely diced and drained watermelon. Refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with diced watermelon, if desired. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

5. Creamy Lemon Ginger Dip with Watermelon It doesn’t get any easier than this. Yet, this dip with the watermelon dunkables is super low in calories and rich in calcium, protein, and B vitamins from the yogurt, and potassium, vitamins A and C, and lycopene from the watermelon. Combine 1 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 generous teaspoon lemon zest, and 1 ½ teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger. Refrigerate for an hour up to overnight to let flavors blend. Serve with watermelon chunks or sticks. Makes 1 cup.

Second: Ditch the Chips
Potato and even corn chips are old news. Now you can find chips made entirely from beans, sweet potatoes, or other healthier fare. Better yet, replace the bagged chips with healthier homemade dunkables, such as:

1) Cut whole-wheat bagels into thin strips and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, or until crisp. 2) Split whole wheat pitas and cut each half into 8 wedges, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until crisp. 3) Cut corn tortillas into 8 wedges, place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, or until crisp. 4) Scoop your favorite dip with a platter full of cut up veggies - raw broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, peppers, jicama, radishes, mushrooms, celery, or lightly steamed asparagus. 5) A perfect way to get your 4+ servings of fruit each day is to use them as dunkables. For example, watermelon slices, chunks, and sticks make a perfect scoop for many dips. Low in calories and rich in nutrition, you can feast without guilt.

Nutritional Information:
1. Watermelon - Avocado Salsa
Nutritional Analysis per 1/4 cup serving: 54 Calories; 60 % fat (3.6 grams); >1 gram saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 6 % protein; 34 % carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber.

2. Mojito Watermelon Salsa
Nutritional Analysis 1/4 cup serving: 22 Calories; 41 % fat (1 grams); >1 gram saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 7 % protein; 52 % carbohydrate; >1 gram fiber.

3. Coconut Curry Dip
Nutritional Analysis per 1/4 cup serving: 72 Calories; 19 % fat (1.5 gram); 1 gram saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 6% protein; 75 % carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber.

4. Cheesy Creamy Watermelon Dip
Nutritional Analysis per 1/4 cup serving: 75 Calories; 7 % fat (<1 gram); <1 gram saturated fat; 7 mg cholesterol; 33 % protein; 60 % carbohydrate; <1 gram fiber.

5. Creamy Lemon Ginger Dip with Watermelon
Nutritional Analysis per 1/4 cup serving of dip: 53 Calories; 13 % fat (0.8 grams); <1 gram saturated fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 23 % protein; 64 % carbohydrate; <1 gram fiber.

1. http://www.freshplaza.com/article/165058/Americans-spent-7.5-bln-on-potato-chips-in-2015
2. http://www.fitday.com/WebFit/nutrition/All_Foods/Fruits_and_Juices/Guacamole.html
3. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/potatochips.htm
4. http://www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.nutrition.index1.html

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