With summer just getting started and the ever-rising temperatures, many of us enjoy cooling down with sweet treats such as ice cream and popsicles. Even though these treats may be refreshing, they can often be packed with calories from fat and sugar which may not be the healthiest to consume frequently. Don’t fret however – there are many other options you can try that are still sweet and refreshing with lower calories that also pack a nutrition punch.

Healthy Summer Treats that Beat the Heat!

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With summer just getting started and the ever-rising temperatures, many of us enjoy cooling down with sweet treats such as ice cream and popsicles. Even though these treats may be refreshing, they can often be packed with calories from fat and sugar which may not be the healthiest to consume frequently. Don’t fret however – there are many other options you can try that are still sweet and refreshing with lower calories that also pack a nutrition punch.

Try these tips:

1. Swap regular ice cream for light ice cream options:

      • Try brands like Breyer’s Carb Smart© or Edy’s Slow Churned© ice cream options. These ice cream options usually offer half the fat of regular ice cream options and they are typically lower in sugar too – reducing the calories per serving. Be sure to keep the portion small at just a ½ cup servings even with these lighter options.

2. Swap regular ice cream sandwiches for fruit ice cream sandwiches:

      • You can get creative in your own kitchen and still enjoy these similar ice cream sandwich treats.

Ingredients

      • 5 ripe bananas
      • ¾ cup sweet diced strawberries (can use other fruits)
      • 11 sheets of graham crackers

Directions:

      1. Slice bananas into discs.
      2. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
      3. Freeze for 2 hours or until frozen.
      4. Place banana slices in a food processor and blend until creamy.
      5. Scoop banana into a large bowl and fold in dice strawberries.
      6. Line an 8 x 8 dish with parchment paper.
      7. Spread banana mixture into the pan in an even layer.
      8. Freeze.
      9. Cut banana mixture into squares (use a graham cracker as a pattern)
      10. Place ice cream squares onto graham cracker to assemble sandwiches.
      11. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag to store.

3. Swap regular popsicles for homemade fruit popsicles:

      • Not only are these popsicles easy to prepare, they are also fun and help you cool off on a hot day! You can involve your children in this easy, no-cook recipe to create different flavor combinations with a variety of fruits. These whole fruit frozen treats are lower in calories/serving compared to many traditional store-bought popsicles and they contain added nutrients from fruit especially electrolytes which can aid in preventing dehydration in the summer heat.

Ingredients for Strawberry Watermelon Popsicle:

      • 3 cups of cubed watermelon
      • 1 cup of sliced strawberries
      • Zest from 1 lime

Ingredients for Berry Lemonade Popsicle:

      • 2 cups of frozen blueberries
      • 1 cup of frozen blackberries
      • 1 cup of lemonade (use Crystal Light Lemonade© for less added sugar)

Directions:

        1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze 3-4 hours, or until very solid.

I hope you will continue to enjoy some of your favorite summer flavors with less calories and added nutrition!

Lemma Brown is a registered dietitian nutritionist, graduate of West Virginia University and Meredith College, and clinical dietitian specializing in bariatric nutrition at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Lemma is passionate about nutrition and exercise for sustained weight loss and overall good health.