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If space is an issue in your backyard, mini melons are the way to go. Here are some little guys with big flavor:
- Sugar Baby: Great for areas with short growing seasons; matures in 75 days and produces 1-pound fruits.
- Solitaire Hybrid: Fruits each weigh 3 1/2 to 5 pounds; deeply red-flesh melon is very sweet and seedless.
- Tiger Baby: Grows to 7 to 10 pounds and is very sweet; 80 days to maturity.
- Sweet Beauty: Oblong-shaped fruit, weighing 5 to 7 pounds when mature.
- Extazy: Fruits max out at about 5 pounds, with an 85-day growing season.
Watermelon is made up of more than 90 percent water, but is still a nutrient-rich powerhouse. Its luscious red color comes courtesy of lycopene, a plant chemical linked to a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers. Watermelon is second only to tomatoes in lycopene content.
And it's the dieter's secret weapon. One substantial wedge is about 86 calories. "Best of all, it's such an indulgence that it keeps you from eating bad things," says nutritionist Regina Ragone, registered dietitian and former food editor for Weight Watchers magazine.