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MEGAN MONDAY: Healthy Popsicles

on July 7, 2014

Healthy Summer Popsicle Ideas for the Whole Family

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

Other than blazing hot temperatures and sunny skies, summertime is known for the abundance of delicious frozen treats that kids and adults alike love to indulge in. I recall the gallons of ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, ice pops and sorbet I consumed as a kid – with flavors from the traditional chocolate and vanilla to blue bubblegum replete with actual multi-colored bubblegum pieces, the possibilities seemed endless to my love of frozen delicacies. Every time the ice cream man would roll down our street in his mini-school-bus-turned-sugar-shack-on-wheels blasting that horrid song that sounded like a dying music box over the loudspeaker, every kid would dart out from wherever we were to rush and buy whatever junk-on-a-stick our allowance money would purchase for the day. We didn’t care what was in those multi-colored and flavored ice pops and novelty ice creams; they tasted good and that is all that mattered. Our parents didn’t really know better back then to watch out for artificial colorings and flavorings, not to mention the exorbitant sugar content these treats packed. Armed with better knowledge and understanding about the health impacts such questionable ingredients can have, especially on children, we are now the generation in the driver’s seat choosing what our kids and households consume on a daily basis – including treats. Check out the following list of ingredients taken straight from some of the most popular popsicle treats consumed (Popsicle and Creamsicles); ingredients such as artificial colorings, flavorings, high fructose corn syrup (one of the worst sweeteners out there!), and preservatives find their way into these products…and then into your kids. While the novel pink or blue tongue from eating an ice pop is cute, the aftermath in our kids’ bodies is not.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 Pop (53g)
Servings Per Container20
Amount Per Serving
Calories40
% Daily Value*
Total Fat0g 0%
Sodium0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate10g 3%
Sugars8g
Protein0g
Vitamin C 20%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin a, calcium and iron.

This box contains the following flavors:
Orange, Cherry, Grape
Ingredients:
Orange Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), locust bean gum, natural and artificial flavor, annatto extract (for color)
Cherry Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, natural and artificial flavor, red 40, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), locust bean gum, cherry juice concentrate
Grape Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: beet juice concentrate, malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, locust bean gum, red 3, blue 1, yellow 6

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 Pop (50g)
Servings Per Container20
Amount Per Serving
Calories15
% Daily Value*
Total Fat0g 0%
Sodium0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate4g 1%
Protein0g
Vitamin C 10%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin A, calcium and iron.

This box contains the following flavors:
Orange, Cherry, Grape
Ingredients:
Orange pop: water, glycerine, maltodextrin (corn)*, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: citric acid, guar gum, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), natural and artificial flavor, annatto extract (for color)
Cherry pop: water, glycerine, maltodextrin (corn)*, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: citric acid, guar gum, aspartame, natural and artificial flavor, acesulfame potassium, red 40, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), cherry juice concentrate
Grape pop: water, glycerine, maltodextrin (corn)*, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: citric acid, guar gum, aspartame, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, acesulfame potassium, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), red 3, blue 1, yellow 6
*Adds a trivial amount of sugar
Phenylketonurics contain phenylalanine

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 Bar (65 g)
Servings Per Container8
Amount Per Serving
Calories100
Calories From Fat20
% Daily Value*
Total Fat2g 3%
Saturated Fat0.5g 3%
Trans Fat0g
Cholesterolless than 5mg 0%
Sodium30mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate20g 7%
Dietary Fiber0g 0%
Sugars12g
Protein1g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 4%
Iron 0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

This box contains the following flavors:
Orange, Raspberry
Ingredients
Orange Creamsicle: Orange Sherbet: nonfat milk, water, liquid sugar (sugar, water), high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, corn syrup, milk fat, orange juice concentrate, citric acid, malic acid, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 80, locust bean gum, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, annatto (for color), Low Fat Ice Cream: nonfat milk, liquid sugar (sugar, water), corn syrup, milkfat, whey, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol monoesters, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, natural flavor, locust bean gum, polysorbate 80, guar gum, carrageenan, vitamic A palmitate
Raspberry Creamsicle: Raspberry Sherbet: nonfat milk, water, liquid sugar (sugar, water), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maltodextrin, corn syrup, milk fat, raspberry juice and plum concentrate, vegetable juice concentrate (for color), citric acid, malic acid, raspberry, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, locust bean gum, polysorbate 80, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, annatto (for color), Low Fat Ice Cream: nonfat milk, liquid sugar (sugar, water), corn syrup, milkfat, whey, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol monoesters, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, natural flavor, locust bean gum, polysorbate 80, guar gum, carrageenan, vitamic A palmitate

 

This article isn’t intended to shake a finger at anyone who still gives their kids (or eats themselves) the standard ice pop; rather, I just wanted to share some awesome healthy alternatives you can make at home with your kids and family – not only will it be a fun project, but you have control over what ingredients go into these treats, and you can even get some fruits and veggies in there without the kids (or adults) making a fuss. It’s always fun to experiment and kids love to get involved in the kitchen AND with what they make. Did you know kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods if they had a hand in the preparation?

To start, some of the things you may want to have on-hand to make your popsicle-making easy:

  • For simple, cheap, quick, and easy – you can use little disposable paper cups with either a lollipop stick or popsicle stick inserted during freezing. These are perfect-sized treats and easy for kids to manage getting their smaller mouths around.
  • Spoons make great stick alternatives AND they can be reused!
  • There are some great popsicle molds available online to make re-usable pop-making a breeze (I prefer a BPA and phthalate-free version!). Even fancier is the ZOKU brand/model of popsicle maker. I found all available on Amazon.com for prices ranging from $5 to $30.
  • Here are some quick links to things you can get on amazon.com:

o   Treat sticks

o   Zoku molds

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Love creamsicles (or cream-based pops with fruit, chocolate, etc.)? Here is a great cream base to use. You can layer it with cut-up fruit (like kiwis, strawberries, etc.), you can blend it with fruit (and/or veggies!) to make a smoothie and then freeze, or you can blend it with fresh-pressed fruit juice like orange to make a delicious homemade orange creamsicle!

Dairy version (for cream base/layer):
– 1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half), divided into two 1/2 cups
– 1/2 cup whole milk (or lower-fat milk)
– 1/4 cup (50 gr) (preferred) coconut palm sugar (it’s healthier!); you can also use stevia to replace sugar or use sucanat. I personally try not to use white or granulated table sugar in anymore recipes.
– pinch of salt
– 3 egg yolks
– 1 tspn vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk, blending everything together until heated (don’t boil…you’ll scramble your eggs!). Let cool and then add to whatever else you’re making it with. You can even leave the egg yolks out if you want a “lighter” version or if you’re going to make a vegan version with coconut milk.

Non-Dairy version (for cream base/layer):

Follow the directions above, but substitute full-fat and/or low-fat organic coconut milk (I personally love and use Native Forest Organic canned coconut milks…they are in BPA-free cans as well. I order mine on Amazon.com

You can even sub cashew milk or another nut milk.)

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Pina Colada Pop

Delicious, tropical, creamy, frozen delights! Why are they good to make? The pineapples in the recipe help with bone-building (manganese) wrinkle-fighting and immunity due to vitamin C.

How to make:
Blend together 4 cups pineapple chunks (about 1 pineapple) + 1 cup canned coconut milk + ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, insert stick and freeze until solid. How easy is that?!?!

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Raspberry Lemonade Pops

These fiber-full and anti-oxidant-rich pops are so delicious, you won’t realize they are good for you!

How to make:
Blend together 1 pint or 1 bag frozen raspberries (about 3 cups, and preferably organic, since berries are on the Dirty Dozen list) + ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice + ½ cup coconut palm sugar dissolved in 1 cup water. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, insert stick and freeze until solid. You can even cut the sugar in half if going for a lower-sugar pop…or skip it altogether and use stevia.

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Strawberry Shortcake Greek Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients

1 cup Greek Yogurt (I prefer plain, as it has way less sugar in it; you can add vanilla extract and stevia or a little bit of coconut palm sugar to sweeten it up a bit)

½ cup milk OR coconut milk if you prefer

½ tsp ground vanilla beans OR vanilla extract

⅓ cup strawberries, chopped

⅓ cup shortcake, crumbled

Instructions

1. Mix the yogurt, milk, and ground vanilla beans together until completely smooth.

2. Gently mix in the strawberries and shortcake. Divide among popsicle molds, and place in the freezer.

3. After 1 hour, insert popsicle sticks.

4. Let freeze completely, 3-4 hours.

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Orange Creamsicle – The creamy & delicious flavor of the traditional, but without all of the added fat. They also have the added benefit of protein from the Greek yogurt.

How to make:
Blend together:

– 1 cup frozen fresh-pressed organic orange juice (preferred) or if pressed for time, you can use organic frozen concentrate

– 2 cups filtered water

– 1 cup Greek yogurt (use which fat version you prefer; I personally use higher fat versions for my young kids)

– 3 tablespoons honey

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Pour mixture into popsicle molds, insert stick and freeze until solid.

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Peaches ‘n’ Cream– Try this delicious take on the sweet and delectable summer treat that offers a great antioxidant dose with vitamins A and C.

How to make:
–        Blend together 4 ½ cups chopped organic peaches (skins on)

–        1 teaspoon vanilla

–        In a separate bowl, mix together ½ cup organic half and half cream + ⅓ cup maple syrup

–        Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture into each popsicle mold, top with peach mixture and gently mix to create a swirl effect.

–        Insert stick and freeze until solid.

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Strawberry Smoothie Pops

  • 1/2 cup sliced pineapple or mango (or banana) (60g)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (80g)
  • 1/3 cup raw kale or spinach (omit if desired) (15g)
  • 1/4 cup milk or yogurt of choice (60g)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sweetener of choice, to taste (I prefer using coconut palm sugar; take into consideration the type of milk used as well. Remember that the frozen product will be less sweet, so you may want to try adding some stevia or a dash of pure maple syrup.)

Combine everything in a blender, food processor, etc. until super-smooth. Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups, and insert spoons or popsicle sticks. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Covered Kiwi or Banana (or any fruit, really!) Popsicles – Genius! Chocolate AND fruit!?!?

 

You can use either bittersweet dark chocolate and/or semi-sweet chocolate, preferably organic.

Note that the kiwis are a bit more tart after they are frozen (especially if you use ones that aren’t quite ripe), so the sweeter chocolate balances out the kiwi nicely.
What you’ll need:

– 6 large kiwis, peeled using this awesome method, cut into 1/3″-1/2″ thick rounds
– 1 cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks

Slice the peeled kiwis into rounds with a lollipop stick in each one. Place on a tray lined with wax paper or parchment. Freeze for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.

In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate and the coconut oil over a pan of simmering water.
Dip each frozen kiwi or other piece of fruit into the melted chocolate. The chocolate will harden within a few moments of being dipped. Eat immediately or re-freeze.

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Black Bean Fudgesicles (Really!??! BEANS!?!?)

From Kathy Hester’s “The Great Vegan Bean Book,” copyright 2013; Recipe reprinted with permission from Fair Winds Press.

Soy-free, gluten-free oil-free, these healthier fudgesicles still taste like your childhood favorites.

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 can (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) light coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. There will be some black flecks from the black bean skins. I think they look like chocolate flecks, but you can strain the mixture through a cheesecloth if you like. Fill your frozen pop molds about seven eighths full of the mixture. Freeze for several hours or overnight before serving.

Makes 6 large pops.

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Banana Fudgesicle – A great way to get a dose of potassium and calcium for stronger bones and muscle function!

Recipe:
Blend together:

– 2 bananas

– 2 cups milk, fat preference up to you (or coconut milk or nut milk of choice)

– ¼ cup cocoa powder

– ¼ cup coconut palm sugar

Pour mixture into popsicle molds, insert stick and freeze until solid.

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What are some of your favorite popsicle ideas? Please share them below!

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods, products, and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more:http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at:megan@empowerhealthcoach.com. Follow Megan on Twitter (@MPowerNutrition) and like her onFacebook: Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC.

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