Summer isn't over yet! Beat the August heat with cool, fruit-based recipes for Fresh Fruit Frozen Yogurt, Tropical Fruit Frosty and Banana-berry Pops from Kathy Wise, Mercy dietician and wellness director.
Almost everyone loves ice cream on a warm summer day, but if you are not careful, those icy treats can provide more fat and calories than you might imagine. Of course, no one wants you to give up one of the nation’s favorite desserts, but it's important to watch portion sizes.
The recommended serving size for ice cream is about the size of your closed fist or about ½ cup. This size serving will provides about 200 to 250 calories with half of those calories coming from fat according to the USDA. Plus, there are treats out there that imply they are healthier – such as frozen yogurt and sorbet. But before you dish out a big bowl, I recommend checking the nutrition facts on the label.
For example, a half cup of Ben and Jerry’s Greek yogurt has the same amount of calories and just slightly less fat than regular ice cream. Be aware too that when the fat content is lower often there is more added sugar.
Frozen fruit bars are a lighter alternative, but again, you have to look at the nutrition facts. When comparing store-bought brands, look for a bar that is between 100 or 150 calories or less. There are some 100-percent fruit juice bars that are great choices. They tend to cost a little more but are well worth it.
Beware of those that claim they are "made with real fruit" or "contain half a serving of fruit." Often upon closer inspection of the ingredient label, you will discover that sugar is listed as the first ingredient before any real fruit is even mentioned. One other point: pops that contain coconut will be a litter higher in calories and fat than other fruit bars.
Healthy Frozen Dessert Recipes
Here are some of my own healthy recipes for making homemade frozen treats that will be sure to help you beat the heat and keep your family happy.
Fresh Fruit Frozen Yogurt
3 cups frozen, unsweetened strawberries
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup non-fat strawberry Greek yogurt
Combine berries, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Add yogurt and pulse until mixed in. Transfer the berry mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture in ice cube trays until solid, about 4 hours. When ready to serve, toss frozen cubes into a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or transfer to an air tight storage container. Store in the freezer up to one week.
For a really special and pretty treat, alternate frozen yogurt and fresh sliced berries in a parfait glass or champaign flute. Top with a dollop of your favorite whipped topping and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.
This recipe works wonderful with any type of berry. Combining berries also makes a delicious treat. You may also want to experiment with different combinations of flavored yogurts such as fresh blueberries with lemon yogurt or raspberries with vanilla yogurt.
Per serving: 110 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 22 mg sodium; 192 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (28% daily value), Fiber (16% dv)
How to Enjoy Seasonal Fruits Year Round
You can’t beat the taste of fresh picked berries. To enjoy them all year long simply wash berries and pat dry. I like to spread them out on paper towel to make sure they are well drained. To freeze spread the berries in a single layer on a baking tray with a small edge, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid. Once frozen, remove berries from tray and pack frozen fruit in a freezer zipper lock bag. Make sure you squeeze out the air from the bags to avoid freezer burn. Freeze for up to 1 year.
Tropical Fruit Frosty
(makes 3 servings, 1 cup each)
1 cup pineapple or orange juice
1 cup frozen pineapple, mangoes or peaches
1/2 cup fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup ice (about 5 cubes)
Combine juice, banana, and pineapple in a blender; cover and blend until smooth. Add yogurt and coconut milk, blend until creamy. Serve immediately in a lovely stemmed glass. Garnish with a chunk of fresh pineapple or sprinkle with a little fresh coconut.
Nutrition Per serving: 139 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 19 mg sodium; 421 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (110% daily value), Fiber (16% dv).
Ingredients (makes 2 cups or 6 4 oz. pops)
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 medium banana
1 cup fat free strawberry or blueberry Greek yogurt
1/2 cup pomegranate or other 100% berry juice
Place berries, banana, yogurt, and juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide the recipe among six small paper cups. Freeze until very thick, but not completely frozen, 1 to 2 hours. Insert frozen-treat sticks into each cup and continue freezing until completely firm, 4 to 5 hours more. Store in individual sealed zip lock bags.
Make Ahead Tip: Freeze for up to 3 weeks.
Tip: When ready to serve, remove the frozen pop from its bag. Close the bag and poke a hole in the middle of the bag. Insert the stick of the pop through the hole so that the bag catches the drips to avoid messy hands.
Per serving: 92 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 8 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 21 mg sodium; 237 mg potassium.