Nutrition: Halftime Nutrition - Watermelons Versus Oranges

Nutrition: Halftime Nutrition - Watermelons Versus Oranges

Dick Moss

It's a game tradition for many teams - a tray of oranges at halftime, provided by a thoughtful coach. The assumption is that it's a way to replenish fatigued athletes by providing carbohydrates and much needed fluids.

But are oranges the best fruit choice for half-time nutrition?

In fact…no. While they are definitely better than nothing, a better choice is…watermelons.

Why Watermelons are Better than Oranges
The problem with oranges is that they have a low glycemic index and release their carbohydrates slowly. So the carbohydrates provided by halftime oranges may not be available to boost your athletes' energy levels in the second half of the game.

However, watermelons have a high glycemic index and release their carbohydrates quickly for an almost immediate energy boost.

Almost everyone loves watermelon, and its high water content (92%) makes it a good fluid replenisher. It's also a good source of Vitamin A, C, B1 and B6.

Selection and Storage of Watermelon
Your watermelons should feel heavy (they are mainly water), firm, fairly symmetrical and free of bruises, cuts and big dents. Store them at room temperature. Whole watermelons will keep for seven to 10 days at room temperature. Once cut, keep them in the refrigerator.

Of course, the seedless variety will prevent your players from spitting watermelon seeds on the gym floor.

Reference: Judy Creighton, Canadian Press, "Watermelon." August 2, 2006.


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