by Janice Dietrich
Summer is finally here! I am loving the warm weather and am taking advantage of every opportunity to be outside enjoying the fresh air (and working on my tan). You can catch me on my balcony or poolside at a friend’s basically every day that I’m not in the office. It is truly one of my favorite times of the year and I plan on soaking it up as much as I can.
While I enjoy cold, ice water in these moments, I can’t deny the appeal of a refreshing frozen dessert on hot days too. But we all know a chemical, preservative, and sugar-filled popsicle isn’t a good option and is just going to dehydrate us – exactly what we don’t want to happen while enjoying the nice weather.
The ease of store-bought popsicles and fruit bars is alluring, but I promise you it is so easy to make delicious and healthy ones yourself. All you need is something to break down the fruit, mix it with the other ingredients, and something to freeze it in. This can be a food processer, blender, or even a knife and mixing bowl. To freeze these popsicles, I like to use BPA-free molds that I purchased from Amazon.
It’s a very simple recipe that can be altered in so many ways. I’ll get into that in a little, but first let’s talk basics. If you want more fruit, you’ll want to follow the ratios of fruit to liquid but if you like less, follow the ratios for classic popsicles.
Fruit Bar Ingredients:
- 4 cups fruits (and vegetables if including)
- 1-2 cups liquid
- 2 cups of fruit or flavor
- 3-4 cups of liquid
- Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until fruit is broken down to your preference. Some people like chunks of fruit, some like them totally smooth.
- Pour into popsicle molds and let freeze for 3-4 hours.
Yep, it’s that simple.
Now, let’s talk about different options. When it comes to picking fruit and flavors the options are endless. One of my favorites is strawberry kiwi with almond milk; but other combinations of melons, berries, and citrus fruits are great too. For the liquid, I normally use almond milk or coconut milk to give it a creamier feel in the fruit bars and I use water for popsicles. If you would prefer to use a different liquid, that’s totally fine too! Keep in mind that fruit like watermelon and cantaloupe have a high water content so they may need less liquid while denser fruit like a banana may need slightly more.
This is also an easy way to get additional nutrients so don’t be afraid to add in other ingredients. For me since I’m pregnant, any extra folate (which I can get from citrus fruit or leafy greens) in my diet is beneficial to myself and the baby. I’m also slightly iron deficient so I can add spirulina powder or spinach to boost it. These are kind of like frozen smoothies and elixirs, so if you’d add it to one of those go ahead and add it here. Organic peanut butter, avocado, cinnamon, and vegetables increase the nutrients as well as improve the taste.
If you don’t have a food processor or blender, use a knife to cut up all fruit, vegetables, and additions as small as possible. If it’s a soft fruit like a banana you could also use a fork or potato masher to break it down. Then just mix it with all other ingredients in a bowl before pouring into the molds.
I use popsicle molds that I purchased from Amazon; but if you don’t have one I recommend using a small loaf pan instead. Just lay saran wrap inside the loaf pan, pour in the filling, freeze for 1 hour, and then push popsicle sticks into the mixture. After freezing for an additional 4 hours, pull the entire mixture out of the pan using the saran wrap and cut into individual servings. Wrap each one in wax paper and store in the freezer.
While fruit has many nutritional benefits, it does still contain natural sugars. Be aware and limit yourself to ensure that you are not eating too many at once.
Here are some different flavor options that I love and recommend:
- Orange Creamsicle Fruit Bar – orange, coconut milk, and stevia
- PB Banana Fruit Bar – banana, peanut butter, coconut flakes, and almond milk
- Strawberry Banana Fruit Bar – strawberries, banana, and liquid of choice
- Apple Pie Fruit Bar or Popsicle – apples, cinnamon, and gluten-free oat milk
- Virgin Raspberry Mojito Popsicle – raspberry, mint leaves or a few drops of mint essential oil, cucumber, and Lemon Lime Twist Zevia
- Melon Popsicle or Fruit Bar – watermelon or cantaloupe with nut milk or water
- Peach Lemon Popsicle – peaches, lemon juice, and water
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