Are there summer treats that I can easily make myself or buy from the grocery store that aren’t full of added sugar?
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 your 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 just a lower-fat, but high-sugar frozen treat.
When you’re craving a cool, sweet treat, reach for one of these instead:
- 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 in freezer bags for up to 2 to 3 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.
- Chocolate-covered frozen fruit: Use this quick guide to make your own at home. (Trust us, dunking things in melted chocolate is a fun activity for all ages!) You can also find pre-dipped frozen fruit in the frozen treat aisle of your grocery store.
- 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. 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. Just serve yourself a small portion, and savor every bite!
At Bon Appétit, we know there’s a lot on your plate that you worry about. That’s why we have a team of registered dietitian nutritionists ready to answer your nutrition questions about which food choices will help you avoid unwanted pounds, work or study (and sleep!) better, and form long-lasting healthy eating habits. Email your questions and feedback to [email protected].