When the sun is shining and the mercury in the thermometer starts to climb, there’s only one thought on everybody’s minds: What’s the quickest way to cool off? One of your go-to strategies, no doubt, is to grab an ice pop — but many store-bought varieties are made with little more than sugar water and food coloring. Luckily, healthy and delicious ice pops are easy to make at home.
Click here for the 8 Healthy Ice Pops You Can Feel Good About Snacking On (Slideshow)
We talked to Julie Morris — author of several superfood cookbooks, including her newest title, Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes — about making healthy ice pops at home. Here are a few of her insights.
The Daily Meal: First, why make healthy ice pops? What are some of the health benefits?
How do you make healthy popsicles sweet and delicious without adding a ton of sugar?
Julie Morris: Commercial 'popsicles' are often filled with unhealthy (and unnecessary) ingredients, like corn syrup, sugar, chemical flavorings, and artificial colorings. Making them at home gives you complete control over the quality of ingredients! And happily, it's easy to make exciting, healthy pops that are composed primarily of fruits, vegetables, superfoods, and have little to no added sugar. It's also fun to make unusual flavors, like cucumber mint, or play with natural colors, like I do in my rainbow popsicle recipe.
Using fruit juice is a great way to keep popsicles sweet without adding refined sugar. But since cold temperatures diminish the sensation of sweetness, sometimes it is necessary to add a little bit of a sweet boost. Using better-choice sweeteners like maple syrup
, coconut sugar, or agave can help give the recipe the sweetness it needs without being too sugar-saturated. In combination with the sweetness of the natural fruit, you'll find a little bit of these additional sweeteners goes a long way. Additionally, there are some great, low-to-no calorie sweeteners that work wonderfully in this application, like erythritol, or my favorite, stevia. Stevia has no calories, no sugar, no glycemic index, and comes from a natural source — the stevia herb. Just a few drops of this powerful sweet boost will heighten both the flavor and the sweetness without affecting nutrition.
Do you have any tips for incorporating vegetables into popsicles?
Since vegetables are often fibrous, they don't usually make a great addition in their whole food form (save for very watery veggies, like cucumbers, which can be blended). Rather, using vegetable juices, like carrot
, beet, and even green juices, can be a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables in a sweet, colorful, and flavorful way. Another way to use vegetables is in their powdered form, mixed into other juice. Many vegetable powders (often blends) are now available, ranging from root vegetable medleys to green powders.
Ready to start making some healthy ice pops at home? We’ve rounded up eight recipes you’ll love.
Applesauce Ice PopsThese easy-to-make ice pops
are perfect for everyone — kids adore the familiar, sweet flavor of applesauce and grown-ups will love how easy it is to give the pops a sophisticated spin by adding fresh chopped herbs like mint.Dream PopsThese better-for-you ice pops
are definitely for grown-ups; made with wine, fresh fruit juice, and fresh berries, they’re one healthy ice pop we don’t mind snacking on!
Click here for more healthy recipes
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
Julie Morris is the author of several superfoods cookbooks, including her newest title ‘Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes’, which is all about the idea that snacking isn’t something you should feel guilty about — in Julie’s word’s “it’s something you should feel GREAT about” as long as you choose the right ingredients. For more about Julie, or to buy a copy of her latest book, visit her website.