Summertime feels almost synonymous with ice cream, doesn’t it? Although we believe in the occasional indulgence (life’s too short not to enjoy ice cream), diets high in added sugar have been linked to many health problems, so being mindful of added sugar intake is essential to taking charge of your health.
The frozen treat aisle of the grocery store has exploded with many lower-calorie frozen treats that are marketed as “healthier” options, but most food companies replace fat with sugar (or no better, sugar substitutes) or a long list of artificial ingredients. This includes “fro-yo,” which most of the time doesn’t actually contain any yogurt and is often just a lower-fat, but high-sugar frozen treat.
How do you enjoy a sweet summer treat without the sugar bomb? Reach for fruit instead! These 6 fruit-inspired summer snacks will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugar.
- Peanut-butter banana sandwich bites: Slice a banana into 1/2-inch rounds, spread peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter) on one side of the round, then top with another slice of banana. Place “sandwiches” on a baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper and freeze. Once frozen, you can place them in a storage container. Use waxed paper in between layers of “sandwiches” so they don’t stick together.
- Frozen grapes: Place individual grapes on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can store them in freezer bags two to three months. They are so refreshing, though, we know they won’t last that long without being devoured. Blueberries work great, too!
- Smoothie pops: Double your morning smoothie recipe and make popsicles out of the leftovers. Find our guide to your healthiest smoothie here.
- Dark chocolate-covered frozen fruit: Melting dark chocolate and dunking in seasonal fruit is a fun food activity for all ages. Simply melt chocolate (you can even do this in a microwave on low power), dip in cuts of fruit, and then let cool on a plate in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. Easy and tasty!
- Banana “nice” cream: A popular frozen treat among health enthusiasts, “nice” cream is typically made by blending frozen bananas with milk or a non-dairy alternative (like unsweetened coconut or almond milk) until smooth and creamy, and then refreezing. You can add chocolate chips or other flavors as you desire. This recipe adds peanut butter for a rich and satisfying yet healthful treat.
- Homemade ice pops: Making your own ice pops is simple and doing so not only allows you to control the amount of sugar you add, but also lets you get creative in your kitchen. Need some inspiration? Here are a few recipes to get you started.
With all the ways to satisfy a craving for a cold, sweet treat, you may not even feel a need to reach for that tub of ice cream. But if you do, skip the imposters — easily identified by lots of health claims on the front of package or ingredients you don’t recognize — and go for the real stuff savoring every bite!