“Mom, I’m hot. Can I have an icy?” has been a commonly expressed question for generations. As children, we also selected our favorite “freeze pop” flavor from the big red meshed bag. Water may be the first ingredient, but the second is high- fructose corn syrup. Summer couldn’t be a more appropriate time to introduce healthy new frozen flavors and to create interesting combinations. How about pineapples and strawberries, or concocting the ultimate red, white, and blue popsicle, perfect for the Fourth of July holiday? Making homemade popsicles is a delicious way to hydrate your children, and continue a wonderful summer tradition.
While the combinations are endless, here are a few recipes to help you get started.
Berry Yogurt Popsicles: With the bright red mixed with blue and white, this popsicle may resemble a firework. (One tip: Try using smaller molds if providing a pureed-fruit popsicle blend to a toddler.)
In a food processor, puree separately one-and-a-half cups of strawberries and, in a second bowl, blueberries. In a third bowl, whisk one-and-a-fourth cups of non-fat Greek yogurt with one tablespoon of granulated sugar. Alternating each ingredient, create even layers in your ice-pop mold, making a total of five layers. Insert a knife into the mold and swirl the mixture together. Freeze for four hours.
Alternative Ingredients: Use raspberries instead of strawberries, or try combining strawberries and pineapples together. In lieu of sugar, add two tablespoons of honey.
Fourth of July Popsicles: Place raspberries or strawberries, and blueberries into the popsicle mold and pour in 100% coconut water until filled. Freeze for three to four hours…if you can wait that long!
Alternative Ingredients: Thinking outside the box, why not add kiwi and cantaloupe, along with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries? Full of antioxidants and vitamins, this colorful popsicle is absolutely delicious!
Strawberry-Watermelon Popsicles: Take the juices of one cup of strawberries, three heaping cups of watermelon, and one lime, and blend in a food processor until liquefied. Then, strain to remove the seeds. Pour into molds, and freeze for three hours. Yes, it’s that simple!
Raspberry Vanilla Popsicles: In a blender, puree one cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt with one banana. Then, combine three cups of fresh raspberries with a half- cup of honey in a medium saucepan, and allow to boil at medium heat. Allow the raspberries and honey to simmer at low heat for five minutes. Strain to squeeze the juice and pulp. Discard the skins and seeds. Then, cover the two separate bowls and refrigerate for thirty minutes. Pour the yogurt mixture halfway into the mold, and top with the raspberry blend. Use a knife to swirl the ingredients together. Freeze for six hours. In party style, place the popsicles into a clear plastic cup wedged into a bowl of ice cubes. (Sometimes young children need a place to keep their popsicles safe before running off to play.)
Alternative ingredients: For different flavoring, substitute with blueberries or strawberries.
Nutella Popsicles: Of course, homemade popsicles must include one recipe with chocolate. One of the simplest recipes combines one cup of almond milk with a third of a cup of Nutella. After blending, pour into a popsicle mold and freeze. Delicious!
Popsicles have come a long way since we poured root beer into ice trays, covered it with plastic wrap, and punctured the center of each square with toothpicks. Today’s homemade treats use yogurt and coconut water as a substitute for tap water. Please check the ingredients. Many of your favorite yogurts contain high-fructose corn syrup and, like coconut water, other added sugars. By reading labels and selecting quality fruits, you will help teach your children how to enjoy healthy snacks and, in the process, how to make better choices.