Looking for a healthy alternative to those frozen tubes of sugar-water? Try one or all of these Summer treats to cool you off. The kids will love you for it, too!
My 8-year-old son knows the difference between foods that are bad for you and good. We have explained it to him time and again. Basically, as he believes, things that taste good = bad. Candy, cake, ice cream, nacho cheese dust covered tortilla chips, and so on. All the things he wishes he could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day are all in the bad category.
In an effort to convince him that this was hardly the case and sometimes we just have to do a little DIY instead of the mass produced and highly processed things that have been passed off to us as “food.” One such example are those freezer pops that are no more than water, sugar, artificial flavoring, and artificial coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I loved those things myself when I was growing up and they were a lifesaver on my first 50-mile ultra-marathon but, with surprisingly little time and effort, we can do a whole lot better.
Enter the Smoothie Pop. Just like the name implies, they’re smoothies that we’ve frozen to resemble the old freezer pops. I even found reusable, press and seal baggies on Amazon that work great! They’re sturdy enough to handle washing and recycling but, if you’d like to stay away from the plastic altogether, there are plenty of reusable silicone molds out there or you can do the Dixie cup and popsicle stick method.
There are as many ways to make smoothie pops as there are smoothies, but I am sharing our top 7 favorite flavors to beat this Summer heat. Just toss the ingredients in a blender, fill whatever vessel you choose, and freeze. Adults and the kids will thank you!
1. Tropical freeze: Pineapple, orange, mango, ginger, and coconut milk. Number one for a reason, I like to peel 2-3 navel oranges and throw them into the blender with a bag each of frozen pineapple and mango chunks, one can of coconut milk, and freshly grated ginger (about 1-inch worth). If the acids from the pineapple and oranges are a bit too tart, a tablespoon or so of honey or agave nectar will even it all out. As with any of these recipes, if the smoothie is too thick to pour into your baggie, just add a little water to thin it out.
2. Watermelon, strawberry, mint, lime: I roughly chop a handful of mint leaves in and soak them in water overnight. The rest; about half a watermelon, 8-10 strawberries (about 3/4 of a grocery container), and the juice of 2 limes makes up my son’s top pick for smoothie pops.
3. Mango, chili, lime: Here’s a sweet treat with a little spicy kick! 2-3 fresh mangos or frozen chunks, juice from one lime, 1/2tsp chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Tease the taste buds with the contrasting elements of sweet, tangy, and a touch of spice.
4. Coconut, fruit, and… chia seeds?: You got that right. Chia seeds are chock full of fiber, omega 3’s, and protein so these are terrific post-workout cool down treats! Add one can coconut milk, 3-4T chia seeds, and whatever fruit you want to the blender. Try kiwi and lime or mixed berries. Hint: let chia seeds soak for 15min before blending and freezing to allow them to gel.
5. Watermelon, hibiscus, and mint: Packed with healthy flavor! Bring 2-3C of water to a boil, remove from heat, and steep the following for 20min… 2-3T dried hibiscus flower, 1in freshly grated ginger, and about 1/4C roughly chopped mint. After steeping, pour water through a sieve and discard the solids. Blend water with about half a watermelon and the juice from one lemon. Add a touch of honey or agave nectar for a sweeter pop.
6. Fudgsicle!: Did you think I was going to leave out the chocolate? Super easy and super delicious. Just 3 parts chocolate almond milk to 1-part chocolate hazelnut spread. That’s it. Just two ingredients. Blend them up and freeze for one of our childhood favorites.
7. Matcha Energy Boost: One bag frozen peach chunks, one banana, 1/4C pistachios (roasted, shelled, salted ok), 1tsp vanilla extract, 2tsp Matcha green tea powder, one can of coconut milk. Blend until smooth, freeze, and enjoy a day full of energy and quite possibly a greater sense of wellbeing.
These are some of our favorite creative concoctions but the sky’s the limit to the flavor combinations. Stay tuned for my favorite 7 Adult popsicles!
What are your favorite smoothie recipes that would make a great popsicle? Leave them in the comments below.