Forget the no-carb, low-carb fad stuff, melons are one of the best summer treats you can have!

True, there is a lot of carb and sugar value, but there is also a lot of nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals and even fiber.

Melons and other fruits are far better for you than low-carb candies and cakes marketed by "Friends of Atkins." Oh, yeah, fruits are defiantely on the South Beach hit list! Remember, however, both Atkins and South Beach are now on the dieticians hit list as being to radical. As far as carbs go, melons are not in the same league as potatoes, rices, breads, pasta and yellow or orange veggies.

Honeydew, casaba, cantaloupe and watermelon. This time of year they are plentiful, ripe and low in cost. They are good for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

The average severing of melon is generally under 200 calories (thatís less than a candy bar or a tad more than a glass of soda), itís cool, refreshing, revitalizes you with some quick fruit sugar. It keeps well in the refrigerator. You can package it in baggies or plastic containers to pack for lunches or take on trips.

Of the melons watermelon is usually the lowest in cost if you buy a whole one, but many people donít really know how to pick good ones and a bad one is a bad investment. Itís either under-ripe and tasteless or overripe and gushy, thus cut melons are often a better buy even though the per pound price is more. In the U.S. watermelons with seeds still get down to as little is 6 cents a pound, while seedless are around twice that price for a whole melon. Cut melons are generally double the price of whole.

Cantaloupes, casabas and honeydew are usually easy to pick whole and if they need extra ripening time you can set them by a window or on a counter (not in the refrigerator which will reduce their natural ripening time).

Scent and bottom pressure are the best ways to pick a melon from these varieties. Push on the bottom and see if it gives a little. Then hold it up to your nose and see if you can smell the scent. The more scent the riper the melon. If you get a cantaloupe thatís too soft on the bottom or shows white mold along the bottom or seams it is overripe and should be avoided. Honeydews and casabas will not push as readily, so watch the scent even more carefully. You should smell a sweet, strong fruit smell at the top stem and bottom.

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