As Metro Detroiters fend off the July heat, many seek refuge in the freezer aisle. While store-bought popsicles bring back waves of childhood nostalgia, they also come loaded with excessive amounts of sugar and unhealthy additives. This summer, step up your game and try out some of these super-easy alternatives, made with fresh, local ingredients to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Choose your favorite fresh fruit and combine with lemon juice. Local farmers markets offer discounted prices on Michigan produce in bulk, so you can stock up on pops for the whole season. For added sweetness, try organic cane sugar or local honey (great for allergies) as an alternative to traditional, processed sugar. Let the mixture rest in the freezer for a few hours and you’re good to go!
For those craving a richer flavor and texture, dairy and non-dairy alternatives can bring you closer to your dream ice cream pop experience. For a low-fat, high-protein boost, try a scoop of organic, fat-free Greek yogurt. For an even more tart flavor, try a dollop of low-fat sour cream.
Dairy is helpful, but not required to add body to your homemade popsicle. Peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter provide a substantial increase in protein along with a savory saltiness that transforms a basic freezer pop into a gourmet summer snack.
If you’re looking for a quick meal on the go, don’t be afraid to add solid ingredients to your frozen treat. Crushed nuts, granola and breakfast cereal all lend themselves to this nutritious summer staple. Don’t have time for breakfast? Try a frozen parfait, combining all the ingredients mentioned prior with a handful of low-fat granola. You can mix it all together or form distinct layers for a new experience with every bite.
Can’t handle hot coffee in July? No problem. Combine your favorite cold brew with milk, cream or a diary alternative (oat milk works best for this) and let the freezer do the heavy lifting. For a local twist, use beans from your favorite Metro Detroit roastery. While a popsicle en route to work may sound unconventional, there is no more refreshing of a way to begin your day.
Sure, big brand popsicles may be targeted at the younger generation but in your home, you make the rules. Hosting an adult dinner party? A barbeque? Why not transform your favorite cocktail into a refreshing, frozen treat? Balance is key here. Too much booze and your mixture won’t freeze. Experiment with various combinations of juice, fruit and spirits to find your perfect combination. For an extra blast of flavor, try herbal additions like mint, rose or lavender.
If your kids are avoiding the greens on their plate, try blending them into your next popsicle recipe. The bold flavors of fresh fruit and citrus juice provide the perfect disguise for a serving of shredded kale or spinach. Imagine how you’ll feel with your little ones begging for another popsicle after refusing to touch the broccoli at dinner.