During hot summer afternoons, cooling down is a priority if not a necessity. Unfortunately, kids and adults alike instantly turn to ice cream and other processed sweet icy treats found in the freezer section of the grocery store as an automatic go-to. While quality ice cream (read the ingredient list!) is okay in moderation, it is not a daily beat-the-summer-heat snack.
Problem: Many of the ice cream and icy treat brands found in the grocery store use deceptive marketing to make you believe you and your children are indulging in a healthy snack. In fact, many of these brands use artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and ingredients that have no place being included in ice cream. Quality ice cream and icy treats, defined as ice cream or icy treats with five or fewer familiar ingredients (i.e., milk, sugar, cream, eggs, and vanilla bean) can be considered healthier than other options but are still filled with excessive sugars. In excess, these sugars drain children of energy and are empty calories with no nutritional value. A special treat is a much better way to define an ice-cream scoop for dessert!
Solution: Instead of turning to sundaes and snow cones on a regular basis, make your own sweet, healthy treat at home. Blend frozen fruit with coconut water and freeze it to make your own fruit icy. One of my favorite go-to homemade fruit ices is made with frozen mango. Blend a cup of frozen mango with 4 oz of coconut water. The mixture should remain decently thick after it is blended. Freeze in any container or ceramic mug overnight and you have a one-serving sweet, icy treat the next day!
Buying Tip: Purchase your own fresh, organic fruit as opposed to pre-frozen store-bought bags, to ensure a more organic quality.
- Try a banana freeze! Instead of mango try adding banana. Fruit with high pectin levels develop a wonderful creamy texture when frozen and blended. Be mindful of the coconut water balance, as some fruits will release more or less liquid than others.
- Be prepared! Pre-cut fresh fruit and place in a freezer bag at the start of the week. This way fruit is readily available for a quick frozen treat as an afternoon snack or breakfast on the run.
- Mix it up! Try mixing a variety of fruits together and make it a fun family afternoon activity.