On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Delicious and Healthy Ice Cream Substitute Recipes Made Easy

In the heat of an Oklahoma summer it’s understandable if your brain gets kidnapped by cravings for the cold, delicious taste of ice cream. It’s hard not to give in once you’ve started daydreaming about the creamy delight.

However, when you’re striving to live a healthy lifestyle, giving in once you have the craving can feel like giving up. The additional calories, the amount of processed sugar, and the saturated fat are all good reasons to make ice cream a rare treat instead of a regular option.

Healthier Cold Treats

Swap out those unnecessary calories and create something that is still refreshing and tasty. Using whole ingredients without added sugar makes a significant difference to your overall diet.

“Making yummy treats with fresh fruit is so easy and fun in the summer,” says Meagan Ballard, a registered dietitian with INTEGRIS. “My favorite right now is peach froyo. My recipe makes four servings.”

Peach Froyo

Her recipe is simple. All you need is 16 ounces of fresh peaches with the skin still on, ½ cup of almond milk, ½ cup of non-flavored Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix it all together in a blender or a food processor and freeze it. Once it’s good and solid, all you have to do is scoop it up.

Chocolate Banana Crave

“When I need to quiet that chocolate craving, I like to blend a frozen banana, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, ¼ cup of almond milk and ¼ cup coconut cream,” Ballard says. “I then sprinkle the mix with a few chocolate chips and coconut flakes.”

Add Variety

Ballard suggests replacing fresh fruit with frozen options when your desired produce is no longer in season. To add variety, all you have to do is experiment with different fruits, liquids and add-ins. If you don’t like almond milk, use dairy or coconut milk. Simple add-ins include nuts, granola and sprinkles.

Get the Kids Involved

Teaching your kids healthy habits is an important part of helping them lead long, healthy lives. The best way to teach children about good nutrition is to lead by example.

One of the most important things you can do for your children is to avoid demonizing food. Ballard suggests explaining to them that the choice to eat nutritious foods helps bodies grow into strong and healthy humans.

“We choose to eat fun treats because they taste good to us,” Ballard says. “But remember it’s about tasting just enough to be satisfied.”

Watermelon Popsicles

Popsicles are a fun treat your kids can help you make. Try using watermelon. You can blend it up and pop it in popsicle molds and freeze it according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can pretty much do this with any fruit — pineapple is another favorite.

Yogurt Bark

“Another idea is allowing your kids to get creative in making yogurt bark,” Ballard says. “All you need is Greek yogurt and mix-ins. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread yogurt in a thin layer on top. Next, add in whatever mix-ins you prefer — blueberries, sprinkles, honey and kiwi. Freeze until hardened, then break into bite-sized pieces. It’s all about making nutritious food fun!”

Create a Dietary Philosophy

Deciding how you will react when faced with delicious sugary treats like ice cream, before the confrontation, helps you stick to your dietary plan. With a definite philosophy in your tool belt, you can feel surer of yourself when you pass it up.

Plan to eat well and nourish your body. Eat for nutrition, but don’t forget to eat for fun, too. Make sure your portion sizes are appropriate and eat in moderation.

“Life is too short to avoid yummy treats,” Ballard says. “Don’t skip on enjoying a summer sno-cone with your children. Instead of getting the largest size, get the mini size. Even better, make your own sno-cone experience at home! The best thing about summer is that fresh fruit tastes so good and is affordable. There are so many delicious things you can do with fresh fruit.”

Summertime in Oklahoma is a great time to get energized about choosing healthy options. Check out more suggestions for substitutions to promote healthier eating by visiting the On Your Health blog. You can find breakfast suggestions, information on superfoods and even some tips for produce gardening

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