Healthy DIY Summer Popsicles
Can you recall your favorite childhood popsicle? Whether it was creamsicle, strawberry shortcake, or icy blue, it was always delicious on a hot summer day. Today, healthiness likely plays a more integral role in your summertime treat choices. One of the beautiful things about making your own popsicles is that you have the ability to customize according to taste and dietary preferences. So instead of reaching for empty calories, you have cool treats at the ready, packed with all the wellness benefits of their plant-based ingredients.
Creamy Matcha Chia Bliss
Matcha is having a well-deserved moment right now. Depending on the grade you choose, Matcha can have over 100 times the antioxidants contained in green tea. Just imagine all that free radical, immunity boosting, anti-aging goodness in one cup, or in this case, one pop! Add creamy coconut milk for a rich consistency, and the superfood benefits of Chia seeds, and you have one powerful popsicle. Note: Matcha contains significantly more caffeine than a cup of green tea, and is comparable to a cup of coffee.
Yields – Six 4-Oz Pops
5 Tbsp Matcha Powder
2 Cups - Full Fat Coconut Milk
¼ Cup Spring Water
¾ Cup Sweetened Vanilla Soymilk
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
¾ Cup Chia Seeds
Mix Matcha powder with ¼ water and make a paste. Then mix the coconut, soymilk and maple syrup together, and add to the Matcha. Stir until completely blended. Mix in Chia seeds, and set aside for 30 minutes until they thicken. Stir until seeds are evenly distributed. Spoon into popsicle molds.
Fudgy Almond Love
Almonds are alkalizing, naturally anti-inflammatory, contain good fat (omegas), magnesium, and vitamin E, plus they taste amazing. A dose of cacao and chocolate adds a luscious antioxidant boost. With varied textures, they are lightly sweet, and ultra satisfying.
Yields – Six 4-oz pops
2 Cup Sweetened Almond Milk
¾ Cups Coconut Cream
¼ Cup Almond Butter
3 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cacao Powder
Combine ingredients in the blender on pulse. Depending on your taste, make it creamier, or leave chunky. Pour into molds. That's it!
Pineapple Colada Pick-Me-Up
Rich, sweet and ultra creamy, pineapple adds polyphenols (antioxidants), and greek yogurt protein & probiotics.
Yields – Six 4-oz pops
1 Cup Ripe Chopped Ripe Pineapple
1 Cup Full Fat or Lowfat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Coconut Milk
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
For chunky, lightly pulse in the blender. For a smooth consistency, fully blend and freeze.
Robinson’s Hibiscus Bag Juice
For a twist on the conventional popsicle, vegan chef, Michelle Robinson, founder of Eden's Bowls, shared her special recipe for 'bag juice' with us. Robinson is of Jamacian descent, and says the pop in a bag, is a favorite of children on the island. “It’s especially nice when the ice begins to melt a bit and it becomes juicy and slushy,” says Robinson.
To make the recipe healthy, Robinson made a few original tweaks, blending “another traditional Jamaican drink, sorrel, (cold sweetened hibiscus -- our national flower) flavored with ginger,” and adding “fresh mint and lime juice,” to brighten up the flavor, says Robinson.
Yields: 8, 8-Oz bags (for popsicle molds reduce the recipe to half, to yield 8, 4-oz pops.)
8 Oz dried Hibiscus Leaves (pick through as there can sometimes be sticks or small rocks in the bag)
1/2 large piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 gal water, filtered
1/2 cup sugar (I prefer raw sugar. You can also use honey)
1/2 bunch fresh mint
Juice of 1-2 Limes, to taste
In a large pot, add the hibiscus flowers and ginger. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar if desired. Cover and let sit until cooled. Add the mint, and using a wooden spoon, bruise the mint to release the oils.
Pour cooled tea over the mint and add lime juice. Taste and adjust if needed. Strain the mixture and add to sandwich bags. Tie each bag very tightly at the top and place in the freezer. To eat: bite off a piece of the corner of the bag and suck the juice. These can also be made into traditional popsicles.
Side note: Michelle says, “This recipe is very forgiving.” So you can easily modify according to your preferences.
When hunting for popsicle molds, stay healthy and look for either PVC BPA plastic free or else opt for silicone or stainless steel. Check out New York Magazine's roundup of favorite molds. Keep in mind, it takes a minimum of 6 hours to freeze pops, and dipping molds in warm water helps loosen them. And if you'd rather not buy a mold, that's fine too. See, Eat Live Learn for the skinny on how to make pops in a loaf pan! To continue your exploration into popsicle making, check out: Country Living's 40 + Popsicle Recipes, for enough popsicle creativity to last throughout summer and into the fall.