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.
Ready to stock your freezer with the best frozen treats out there? Check these additional freezer pop tips, then sample one of the fabulous iced pops below, courtesy of the Rodale Recipe Finder.
#1: Yogurt Pops. Yogurt pops give you the creamy satisfaction of ice cream with a lot less fat. No ice pop molds handy? No problem. Pop these simple frozen pops into standard four-ounce containers of yogurt. A couple of quick tips for these: First, cut a slit in the foil cover of each yogurt cup so you can insert the wooden stick. And when frozen, just break a carton off from the package, peel back the foil, and pop the solid yogurt out. (Running the carton under hot water will help if it sticks.).
#2: Mixed Berry Ice Pops. For healthy variations on traditional ice pops, try these berry-filled pops or citrusy Orange Zinger Ice Pops.
#3: Banana-Papaya Ice Pops. For creamy, tropical fruit pops, combine puréed banana with papaya or strawberries, or use tofu and coconut to make amazing Pineapple Sherbet Pops".
#4: Fudgeysicles. Sometimes, only chocolate will do. Try this version of a classic fudgey frozen pop, or combine chocolate chips and strawberries for a decadent-tasting frozen treat.
#5: Frozen Chocolate-Banana Pops. To make these, simply insert a wooden stick into peeled banana halves, dunk in chocolate sauce, roll in peanuts, and freeze. Incredible! Or dip banana halves in yogurt, then roll them in vitamin E–rich chopped almonds, and freeze.