As an afternoon refresher or even a late-night snack, frozen bars and ice pops are among the best summer treats on the planet (with fresh watermelon also high on that list). Problem is, your basic store-bought versions from the freezer aisle are expensive (for sugar and water?) and loaded with calories, and often come with unnecessary additives. The better option: Make your own. Homemade Popsicles and iced treats are incredibly easy to make, thanks to our prep tips and recipes.
By using simple, natural ingredients like low-fat milk, yogurt, bananas, fruit juice, and seasonal berries, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in your homemade Popsicles. Namely, protein, calcium, antioxidants, vitamins—and a sweetness level that satisfies but doesn’t make you wince. Here are three homemade Popsicle styles to try:
Yogurt bars: In a blender, whirl together one cup plain or flavored yogurt, one cup mixed summer fruit (seasonal berries, peaches, or plums), and one tablespoon honey. Pour the mixture into pop molds and freeze for three hours. Yogurt provides creaminess and zingy flavor. Plus it’s a super source of protein and calcium, and a good source of magnesium and potassium. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help maintain good digestive health.
Ice pops: These offer more thirst-quenching appeal. Combine fruit and juice to make ice pops. Simply blend together 1 cup of 100 percent juice (try mixing varieties, such as pineapple, orange, and cranberry) with 1 cup of fruit chunks (say, peaches, mango, or strawberries). Pour into pop molds and freeze for three hours. The fruit and juices provide re-energizing carbohydrates, potassium, and an array of antioxidants. Best of all? There’s no added sugar in these homemade pops, so they contain fewer calories.
Pudding pops: Perhaps the yummiest of all. Start by making your own pudding using low-fat or skim milk. Pour the pudding into a blender, add your favorite fruit, and blend. Two great combos are banana with chocolate pudding, and blueberries with vanilla pudding. Spoon into pop molds and freeze. The low-fat pudding provides protein, and is an inexpensive, delicious way to get a good dose of calcium, which can help protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, stroke, and possibly cancer. The fruit adds antioxidant power to the mix.