Nothing beats ice cream on a hot day. Of course, the high fat and sugar content of most frozen desserts makes them hard to fit into a healthy diet. Sadly, lower calorie and higher protein alternatives are generally expensive and loaded with artificial ingredients. Creating your own healthy ice cream, ice cream alternatives, and other frozen treats is actually a lot easier than you’d think. Beyond banana ice cream and Nice Cream, here’s what you need to get started on this family friendly, easy summer treat.
Tools to Make Healthy Ice Cream Alternatives:You don’t need a lot of equipment to create delicious ice cream alternatives. While a high-end ice cream maker is a powerful addition if you find yourself dedicated to crafting sorbets and gelatos, you probably have what you need in your kitchen right now.
- Food processor or powerful blender: This is your single-most powerful tool in creating your own healthy ice cream recipes. With a few changes and a little extra time in the freezer, you can modify your favorite smoothies into a sweet summer indulgence. The trick is giving them plenty of time to process and, possibly, returning them to the freezer when you’re done.
- A bread pan: Once you finish creating your healthy ice cream, throw it in a bread pan and keep it in the freezer for a few hours so that you can easily scoop and serve when it’s dessert time.
- Freezer Pop Molds: If you’d like to add fruit bars and other transportable treats to your ice cream stash, keep these on hand. Using craft sticks rather than the included bases are nice, since it’s hard to get all those parts back to the kitchen when you’re done. You can also use decorative ice cube trays for fun (and messy) treats for the younger crowd.
- Freezer Space: You’ll want a level space in your freezer to let your treats set, so take the time before you mix to set that up. It’s way easier than juggling a tray in your hand while shuffling bags of broccoli and prepped meals.
The Easiest Ingredients for Healthy Ice Cream Recipes:Traditional ice cream relies on a heavy amount of butterfat and sugar to create “mouthfeel”. That’s the creamy sensation that makes ice cream taste extra good and leaves you wanting more. A great healthy ice cream recipe replicates this through alternative ingredients that create a similar texture. Here are some of the best options.
- Frozen Bananas: Bananas get their own recognition when it comes to healthy ice cream. Banana ice cream is easy to make using frozen bananas and your food processor. Better yet, doctor it up with some cocoa powder and peanut butter to create this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl (I want all of these in my freezer this summer!) The high glycemic index of bananas makes them easily absorbable after a workout. Fuel your recovery and your cravings at the same time!
- Coconut Milk: Whether you’re vegan, limiting your dairy intake, or just love coconut, you can’t go wrong with this delicious ice cream base. You can freeze your coconut milk before adding it to your mix, or just freeze the mixture afterwards in a bread pan. Pineapple and coconut are a natural pair. Throw in a little ginger to mix up this inspired sorbet.
- Greek Yogurt: This tangy protein source combines well with fruit or protein powder. You can use it to add creaminess (and probiotics) to your final product. Choose from skim, low fat, or full fat options depending on how healthy you need your healthy ice cream to be.
- Frozen fruits: This mainstay healthy ice cream base provides a desirable consistency, color, and sweetness. You can blend fruits with other bases or showcase them in sorbets and fruit pops. Try this raspberry mint ice pop for a perfect hot afternoon pick me up.
- Canned Fruits: Don’t overlook canned fruits and pie fillings as you create your favorite recipes. The trick to using canned fruits is to freeze them first. Thaw them only as much as needed to dice into 1-2 inch cubes before adding to your base. Canned pumpkin or previously baked pumpkin or sweet potato can be frozen in smaller containers. Thaw slightly before slicing and adding to other bases for a creamy pumpkin pie ice cream. Mandarin oranges and sliced pears work well on their own. Put the whole can in the freezer, thaw under running water for a few minutes until you can easily remove from the can and slice into smaller pieces. Blend until you have a sorbet consistency. You can enjoy as is, or add a few drops of your favorite essence (vanilla or rum are nice).
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.
Memorial Day is everyone’s favorite kick off to the summer. Cookouts, family reunions, and activities with the kids make portable Memorial Day Recipes essential. These (mostly) healthy recipes fit the bill, ranging from beverages to Memorial Day desserts. Best of all? These crowd pleasers all feature beautiful ways to showcase the healthy foods of early summer.Read more »
Beverages:Whether you’re sipping iced coffee or staying hydrated with fruit infused water, the right combination will make the ordinary extraordinary. Try a Coconut Iced Mocha for an afternoon pick me up. Or pack up enough of Blackberry Sage Infused Water to keep the crowd hydrated at your next beach party.
Appetizers:The best Memorial Day Recipes for appetizers are portable, easy to prepare, and, of course, delicious. Not too heavy and featuring plenty of fresh produce, here are some of our favorites.
- Greek Salad Skewers: With all the fresh goodness of your favorite Greek Salad in the convenience of a skewer. These round out the barbecue but you might want to save a few for your lunch on Tuesday.
- Golden Goddess Turmeric: Level up your hummus by adding turmeric for a festive color with a nutritional punch. Serve this as a veggie platter with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, olives, and feta. You’ll please the vegetarians and carnivores alike.
- Portobello Nachos While Portobello Mushrooms are featured here, if you have access to other seasonal mushrooms, this is a fantastic way to showcase them! Roasting the vegetables ahead of time brings out their sweetness, making this appetizer one that will disappear in no time.
- Smoked Salmon and Roasted Zucchini Roll-ups Grab and go meal prep ideas translate well to fresh, no fuss appetizers. This fresh combination is pleasing to the eye and the palate. Need a vegetarian alternative? Spread your roll-ups with this tasty Lemon Goat Cheese spread
- Sausage Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates: While these fall more into the treat category, they’re sure to please the paleo crowd. Fortunately, the chewy sweetness of the dates makes a little bacon go a long way.
Salads:While you could stick to a tossed salad or a quart of potato salad from your local deli, Memorial Day Recipes for salads that are beautiful and delicious will be a showstopper at your next Memorial Day Cookout. Grilling the Potatoes in this Grilled Potato Salad adds a layer of flavor that will have your guests loading their plates. The dressing and bacon can be a bit heavy, so consider adding a few more potatoes to stretch this out. Need a lighter option? Beets are a great workout recovery food and contribute color to your buffet. Try this Beet Wild Rice Salad alongside your favorite grilled beef or mushrooms.
Main Course:In the unlikely event that you find yourself doing something other than grilling, it’s nice to have a Memorial Day Main Course recipe that can be prepared before the guests arrive, feels festive, and will survive hours on the buffet table. This Instant Pot Carnitas fits the bill. It also plays nicely with the fresh salsas and guacamole that are likely to make an appearance.
Dessert:Unless you’re finishing the party with your first root-beer float of the year, the perfect Memorial Day Recipe for dessert should showcase the beautiful and delicious berries that are just starting to come into season. This Shattered Blueberry Yogurt Cake is so stunning and delicious you won’t even notice it’s gluten free. Try garnishing it with a few fresh strawberries for a celebration in red, white and blue. Need another option? Try this nut free, Apple Summer Berry Crumble that is equally comfortable at your next brunch. Sorting out the best recipes and food blogs can be overwhelming. Need some suggestions? Try these recommended food blogs to keep you inspired all summer long!
Make this delicious one ingredient healthy snack to curb your ice cream cravings!
2 - Ripe Bananas (slice them and freeze them prior)
- Add frozen bananas to a food processor
- Turn on processor and begin to blend
- Use a spatula to scrap down the sides of the processor
- Blend until smooth, takes about 4-5 minutes
- Enjoy immediately as a "soft serve" Or put into a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 1 hour
- Add your favorite fruits or nuts
Enjoy this healthy treat!
You can make guacamole healthy by eliminating sour creams and mayonnaise. Try this yummy recipe today!
• 3-4 Ripe Avocados
• Fresh lime juice from 1/2 of a lime
• 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
• Minced onion (purple or red)
• Fresh garlic - grated or passed through a garlic press
• Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Scoop all the flesh out of avocados and place into a bowl. Add lime juice, minced onion, garlic and cilantro into bowl. Mix until combined. Salt & Pepper to taste.
Try this guacamole on cut up veggies, salads or chicken!
Make this healthy version of roasted butternut squash soup. Perfect for any cool fall evening!
• 2 large butternut squash
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• Fresh garlic bulb
• 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
• 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• Ground nutmeg
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. Prepare a large roasting pan by coating the bottom with olive oil. Cut the squash into halves and clean out seeds. Place squash cut-size down in pan. Prick the outside skin with a sharp knife. Place onion around squash. Cut the top off fresh garlic bulb and drizzle with olive oil. Place garlic in roasting pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until squash is tender. Remove and let cool.
Scrape fresh roasted squash into a large stock pot. Add in the onion and squeeze garlic flesh in as well. Add your chicken or vegetable stock and lime juice into pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Either move contents into a blender or use a hand blender in the stock pot, puree the soup until smooth. Ladle the soup into bowls and season by adding nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a piece of high-fiber or multigrain bread.
Try this recipe with a variety of different squash. They are quite plentiful in the fall season!