Watermelon Cocoa Bowl

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published September 7, 2022

A smoothie fruit bowl is the perfect thing to enjoy during the dog days of summer. Watermelon is a refreshing and hydrating fruit that makes a great addition to your breakfast fruit bowl.

This watermelon cocoa bowl is an easy breakfast that can be served in a bowl topped with your favorite granola or in a tall glass to slowly sip as you head out the door. 

Wake Up With Watermelon

Watermelon is in abundance during the summer. It’s a fruit that’s low in calories and full of electrolytes. It is also nourishing, light and hydrating, and makes for a great start to a summer morning.

Great for staying hydrated, watermelon has a very high water content and provides nutrients like lycopene, citrulline, and vitamins A and C. Studies suggest that this sweet, red melon may even boost heart health, reduce muscle soreness, and decrease inflammation, though more research is needed.

Watermelon Benefits That'll Make You Lose Your Rind!

At just 46 calories per cup, watermelon packs a punch when it comes to nutrients. It contains about 15% of your daily vitamin C needs, along with a wealth of other vitamins and minerals including potassium and vitamin A and B6.

Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and helps your body absorb iron, while vitamin A is crucial for skin and eye health. Watermelon is also rich in potassium, which works to lower blood pressure and supports nerve functioning, and vitamin B6, which helps your body break down the proteins that you eat and also boosts the immune system and nerve function.

Did you know watermelon has more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable? Lycopene is an antioxidant linked to decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related eye disorders.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Safely

Watermelon may be sweet, but it’s also one of the lowest calorie fruits out there. At just 46 calories and less than 10 grams of sugar per cup, it’s a sweet tooth’s dream without all the added sugar, body fat, and diabetes risk.

Trying to keep your blood glucose levels steady? Watermelon can be a bit problematic, but can certainly be eaten as part of a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet. Watermelon has a glycemic index (GI) value of 80, and is one of the only fruits in this “high” glycemic category. Because of that, it’s important to eat watermelon slowly so that you can limit the rate of absorption of glucose into your blood. 

Buying Tips

Pick a melon that’s free of dents, nicks, and bruises. Look for a yellow, not white, spot on the bottom. This signals that it’s ripe. A juicy, ready-to-eat watermelon will feel heavy for its size. 

Tapping the outside can give a clue as to the texture of the fruit inside. Listen for a light and almost hollow sounding thud. This indicates the water and fruit contained is intact and has a stable structure.

Include Cocoa Powder - Powerful Stuff!

Cocoa powder provides tons of benefits, especially if your powder is at least 72% cocoa. Cocoa powder contains iron, zinc, and selenium. These minerals help your body function and give your immune system a boost. 

Cocoa is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. It’s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, better blood flow, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Cocoa is known to be one of the healthiest ways to keep your body energized and awake as it contains a healthy amount of caffeine (and caffeine consumption helps to boost energy and fight fatigue). Not only does it have a good amount of caffeine, but it contains magnesium as well. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder has about 14% of your body’s daily value of Magnesium. 

Magnesium has been found to keep your body energized naturally. Magnesium has been found to protect your body against other issues such as high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and osteoporosis. When buying cocoa powder, make sure that you buy unsweetened cocoa powder with no ingredients added. 

Like the rest of your spice collection, cocoa powder should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry or cupboard. The fridge or freezer might seem tempting, but both of those spots actually foster humid environments, they should be avoided. Well-stored cocoa powder will keep for up to two years, but the strength of flavor does fade a bit over time.

Watermelon Cocoa Bowl

Beverly Verwey
Servings 1
Calories 430 kcal


  • 4 cups frozen watermelon cut into pieces
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 medium apple, with skin
  • 3 cups Romaine lettuce or your favorite kind
  • 12 green grapes cut in half
  • 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • In a high-speed blender, blend the frozen watermelon, frozen banana, cocoa, apple, and lettuce until smooth.
  • Put watermelon mixture in a bowl and top with grapes, flaxseeds and cinnamon.


If you wish you can remove the skin from the apple but remember that the skin of an apple contains an abundance of Vitamin K, A, C, calcium and potassium.


Serving: 1gCalories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 87.9gProtein: 7.7gFat: 3.9gSodium: 20.8mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.