5 Healthy Frozen Treats

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Nothing beats the summer heat like a frozen treat. Unfortunately, grocers typically stock their freezer aisles with icy options that are high in sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and low in nutrients.

“Fortunately, whipping up good-for-you frozen treats at home is easy. Opt for fruits and vegetables as a base ingredient and you’ll get a hefty dose of nutrients to boot, not to mention sneak in your daily produce quota,” says Henry Ford registered dietitian nutritionist Jennifer Elkins.

The basic recipe couldn’t be simpler: Blend one cup of water, two cups of fruit (mangoes, bananas, peaches, blueberries, watermelon and strawberries are all good choices), add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and blend again until mixed. Pour the blend into ice trays or Popsicle molds, freeze, and voila, dessert is served!

Before you hit the blender, Elkins suggests keeping these 5 things in mind:

  1. Focus on H2O. The first ingredient in most homemade ice pops is ice (a.k.a. frozen water!), making them a naturally hydrating choice on hot summer days. A bonus: all that water replaces some of the calories found in conventional frozen treats. While kids may not want to stop what they’re doing to sip on some water, they’ll almost always break to lick a Popsicle.
  2. Go bananas. Bananas are a handy fruit to freeze and enjoy, and they don’t require blending. Just roll ripe bananas in your favorite spreadable ingredient (yogurt and Nutella and even nut butters are a few tasty examples), roll the coated bananas in toppings like chopped nuts, colorful sprinkles or even crispy cereal and store it in the freezer overnight.(Another option is whipping up some banana ice cream.)
  3. Repurpose yogurt. If you want to add substance, protein and a bit of healthy fat to your icy treat, consider adding plain low-fat Greek yogurt to the mix. In addition to supplying more nutrients, yogurt-infused pops also boast bone-building calcium, which all adds up to a well-rounded snack. (Here's another great frozen yogurt recipe.)
  4. Get crafty with herbs. Of course you can stick with fruits and vegetables for ice pop treats, but you can dress up ice cubes to chill summer drinks by adding herbs to your ice cube tray. Rinse a few sprigs of mint, chop them fine and add them to an ice tray with a hint of lemon juice (if you like). Mint is great in berry-based recipes, too.
  5. Amp up the nutrients. The best ice pops sneak in disease-fighting foods such as berries, pomegranate, kale and spinach. You can even use frozen and canned fruits, provided the latter is packed in its own juice rather than a sugary syrup. Toss in chia, hemp or flax seeds and you’ll get a dose of healthy fats, too. Or just take your favorite smoothie recipe, such as Shrek Juice, add some ice and blend it into a slushie!


Looking for more info and want to make an appointment with a registered dietitian? Call 1-855-434-5483 or visit henryford.com.

You can also read more nutrition advice in our EatWell section, so subscribe to get all the latest tips.

Jennifer Elkins is registered dietitian nutritionist with the Henry Ford Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Categories: EatWell