This is a story of how knowing about watermelon can change a life.
After one of many nutrition education events, one student and class stood out as the most memorable teaching moment for us. HIP’s Nutrition Program Coordinators, Heather and Kelly, hosted a nutrition class at Northshore Adult Transition Program in Bothell, WA. This program helps prepare students with disabilities graduating from high school for a transition to the workforce.
One topic of the class was a discussion on increasing water intake to meet the body’s hydration needs. While discussing ways to increase water intake, such as flavoring water or diluting juice drinks to cut out sugar, there were many moans and groans filling the room. Many students voiced their opinions about not liking water and not wanting to change their drinking habits, despite the tasty ideas we went over in class. One student in particular, Maria, voiced how water is too plain and she likes to drink juice and soda. Understanding their reluctance to drink more water, Kelly and Heather talked about water hiding in foods that many people might not know about. Confusion and curiosity filled the air. When Kelly told the class that watermelons are 90% water and by eating them as a dessert, they would also be increasing their water intake, Maria cried out a shocked “WHAT?!” We could see the very moment it clicked in Maria’s head, as her eyes widened and jaw dropped, firing us with her many questions of ‘how?’, and ‘why?’, and ‘what other food has water?’ Maria loves watermelon but doesn’t like water, so she was truly in awe to learn that her favorite fruit keeps her hydrated.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that people have varying degrees on what they know about nutrition. What we thought was common knowledge turned out to be an amazing discovery for these students. “Watermelon is a fruit and when you eat watermelon, you are eating fruit and water at the same time. This has changed my life,” is what Maria wrote to us on our survey. We know this knowledge will stick with her for life, and we’re glad to have had the opportunity to create a ‘Eureka!’ moment in our participants.