By Guest Columnist Diane Schnier
In addition to enjoying all the luscious fruits available in abundance this time of year, why not prepare a few simple and refreshing treats that the kids - or anyone for that matter - will love? Taking just a few minutes to make these treats yourself allows you and your family to “indulge” while avoiding various unnatural and unhealthy additives found in most store bought varieties. I use my Vitamix blender to make these treats but any good blender will work well with these recipes.
If purchasing ice pops from the grocery store, you're very likely to end up with an item that's mostly water and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup – a definite no-no for those who value their health. Why go that route, when it takes only minutes to make your own natural pops at home? It can be as simple as pouring fresh fruit juice into ice pop molds, or using various whole fruits blended with yogurt. Of course, no one will complain about a handful of high quality chocolate chips thrown into the mix! If you'd like to use a sweetener, try adding a bit of honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia. Experiment with various real food combinations that appeal to you and enjoy!
The Dark Sweet Cherry Chocolate Chip and the Pineapple Coconut are delicious and for more flavors and suggestions, see my Ice Pops! posting.
You might not believe me when I say you can make an utterly creamy, sweet and delicious ice cream using nothing but bananas and a little milk or juice. What’s even better is the fact that it can be done, literally, in one, measly minute. As long as you’ve got chopped, frozen banana chunks on hand, there’s nothing to it if you have a Vitamix blender. And of course, it’s easy to elaborate, making any flavor ice cream you desire by adding fruits, nuts, chocolate, whatever you’d like! This can also be made using a food processor. My favorite 1-Minute Ice Cream recipe.
Warm spring and summer mornings are a great time to enjoy a refreshing fruit smoothie. By keeping just a few staple ingredients on hand, you can make a delicious, nutrient–packed drink in a flash. Simply combine milk or juice with various seasonal fruits. Once again, there are many optional add–ins when you’re in the mood to change things up. Try a dollop of natural nut–butter or a tablespoon of hemp seeds for extra protein. Smoothies are even a great place for an egg (a-la Rocky) if you’re trying to sneak extra nutrition into a picky eater. Make note that raw eggs should only be consumed if they came from naturally raised, healthy chickens. Get to know your local farmers and make it real! One of our favorites is the Coconut Milk Smoothie. Another favorite - very simple, delicious and out of the ordinary – Cinnamon Pear Smoothie.
Additional Info that might be helpful:
Non–Dairy Milk Options: Coconut milk, Hemp milk, Almond milk, and of course any natural juice will work in these recipes as well.
My favorite Ice Pop Molds:
- Orka by Mastrad Popsicle Molds
- Tovolo Green Groovy Ice Pop Molds
- Tovolo Blue Rocket Pops
- Tovolo Star Ice Pop Molds
About the Author
Diane Schnier grew up in Long Island, NY. In 1991, she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Buffalo, a Bachelor of Science in Communication, and in 2009 was awarded a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition with highest honors by Clayton College of Natural Health. Her interest in wellness and nutrition grew when she become a mother, and expanded when her second child was diagnosed with Autism. She delved further into nutrition research, and was able to help her daughter progress tremendously by implementing a gluten and casein free diet. Diane is a self-taught musician on piano and drums, as well as a singer/songwriter who enjoys creating music as a means to share and feel connected with the world. She has independently released three solo albums, as well as one made with her band, Before Cowboys. Visit Diane on her website, RealFoodTastesGood.com.