As soon as hot weather hits here in Georgia, my kids and I start reaching for frozen desserts to cool off. My daughters both swim most mornings when school is out, and I also work out at my local CrossFit box during the morning. That means that by the time we all get back to the house, we’re in the mood for a cool snack. Our usual larabars and apples with nut butter go right out the window in favor of frozen treats!
Unfortunately, store-bought frozen treats are full of junk. Even the gluten-and-dairy-free variety are often packed with artificial sweeteners, stabilizers or other nasty fillers. Whether I’m making a recipe at home or buying at the store, I always look for a popsicle or frozen dessert with redeeming qualities, like whole-fruit ingredients, minimal added sugars (and if they are added, natural ones like maple syrup, evaporated cane juice or honey), added nutrient density from veggies or broth, and healthy fat from coconuts or nuts.
Below are more fun ideas for frozen treats to help you cool off!
Summertime always seems to be so rife with tempting treats, and in our family, one of the ways we stay on track is by occasionally making our own lower-sugar, grain-free, dairy-free version of whatever goody we feel like we’re missing out on. That’s how these Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches came about, from talking with my girls about what we could make at home that might be similar to the treats given out at swim meets.
These are my answer to my kids’ desire for a simple, creamy popsicle treat. With just four ingredients, it really doesn’t get any easier! I rely on very ripe bananas and smooth almond butter to make these super creamy and satisfying while remaining dairy free. This really works with any nut butter. You can also keep a jar of the magic shell on hand for, you know, any emergency situation where chocolate coating is necessary…
This recipe started as a palatable way to get some greens into my kids, which they now love!. A little bit of sweetness from fruit combined with the novelty of frozen foods makes eating green vegetables much more tempting for kids. They taste pretty fruity despite the inclusion of veggies. I also opened up and emptied 5 or 6 Acidophilus/Bifidus Capsules into my popsicle mixes when my kids were particularly insistent on refusing fermented foods. You could even add in some Bone Broth Protein to up the nutrient factor more!
This super simple recipe from my friend Mickey takes advantage of one of my favorite summer fruits, the pineapple! There’s something so summery about the tropical flavor of pineapple and lime, and these AIP-friendly treats are great for kids and parents alike. I imagine they’d be really delicious as a pool party or barbecue treat. Bonus: they don’t include any added sweetener. Plus, the enzymes in pineapple and acidity in lime juice can really help with digestion. So I’m giving you permission to eat these pops before your meal (you’re welcome!).
One of my team members found these super-simple bars at her local organic grocery store. The ingredient list is about as simple as it could possibly be, including just fruit, water and organic cane sugar. I think this is important, because aside from molasses, cane sugar is my preferred sweetener. Gasp! I go into depth on this issue is my post Sugar vs. Sweeteners, which you should check out before you’re tempted to use fructose-based sweeteners for your homemade summer treats!
Continuing my theme of sneaky nutrient additions, this recipe from Eileen at Phoenix Helix is the perfect combination of probiotics from kombucha and simple, seasonal fruit you can find in any store this summer. While tropical fruits feel summery, berries are the real stars of my local farmer’s market (and if you’re in the U.S., probably yours too!). The bonus addition of raw honey really complements berries well, and provides some antimicrobial benefits, too! This grown-up recipe is great for kids and parents alike.
Fudge pops were some of my favorite treats as a kid, but making a dairy-free version has never been satisfying. Enter Danielle Walker’s delicious recipe! She uses full-fat coconut milk for creaminess, maple syrup as a sweetener (I love it!) and includes gelatin! Yippee for more sneaky nutrients! The gelatin helps keep these pops together and mimic the texture of dairy-based treats, while providing some gut-healing benefits as well. All in all, they’re a totally worthy treat when you’re craving some creamy, frozen chocolate goodness.
I hope you enjoyed this list of some of my favorite summer pops. Let me know how you’re getting creative with Paleo frozen treats this summer (and don’t forget your tricks for sneaking in nutrients, too!).