Cool down with the healthy benefits of this icy kid pleaser.
Austin’s oppressive humidity and heat of summer weigh on the city like a wet blanket. Time slows down and even the air feels heavy. It’s the time of year when folks go looking for an ice-cold pick-me-up. Brightly colored ice pops, bursting with fruity flavors and energizing ingredients, pack a nutritious punch that can perk up just about anyone on a summery Texas day.
“Kids love Popsicles,” says Megan Barron, a pediatric dietitian at Dell Children’s Medical Center. “They’re great for hydration, and they’re more exciting than water.” Barron says moms should look for ice pops with about 100 calories and 15 grams of sugar or less, and they get bonus points if the pops contain all-natural ingredients.
“Pops made with real fruit make it easier for parents to get their kids to eat more of it,” Barron says.
The fresh fruit and healthy ingredients in the frozen pops from Austin-based GoodPop make them one of Barron’s top picks for kids. The tasty treats meet her nutrition guidelines and come in tantalizing flavors like strawberry lemonade, hibiscus mint and banana cinnamon. Most major grocery stores in the Austin area carry the brand, and a pack of four sells for about $6.
Barron also likes ice pops made with yogurt. “They have more protein and can help stave off hunger for longer,” she says.
Yogurt pops tend to have more sugar, but they also contain live and active cultures, which can help with calcium absorption and aid digestion. That’s why Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars are Barron’s go-to yogurt-pop choice for kids.
“They taste like dessert,” she says.
With only 80 to 150 calories and about 13 grams of sugar per pop, they’re a healthier option too.
Ice pops aren’t just for dessert, though.
“When kids have a fever, a cold Popsicle can be very soothing,” says Rhone Levin, an oncology dietitian at Dell Children’s Blood & Cancer Center.
Levin’s team uses Outshine Fruit Bars to nurse back appetites in children undergoing cancer treatment.
“The tartness of the fruity pops helps treat nausea,” she says. The simple carbohydrates and fluids also prepare the stomach to digest more substantial foods later on. And ice pops simply seem to cheer kids up.
Perhaps the nostalgic joy of these fruit-filled treats on a stick is partly why adults love them too. A pop that’s right for kids
is also right for adults, according to Meredith Terranova, an Austin sports nutritionist.
“Just read the ingredients list,” she says, “and stick with options sweetened from the natural sugars in fruit or juice.”
Terranova likes Jolly Llama Sorbet Pops because they’re loaded with fruit and no artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.
She also likes the sorbet and frozen-yogurt bars made by Julie’s Organic Ice Cream.
“They’re low in calories and sugar, and they’re easy to eat on the go,” she says.
“Don’t forget about homemade pops,” Terranova adds.
Just about any fruit chopped up and frozen with a liquid will transform beautifully into a juicy ice pop. If you don’t own a pop mold, small paper cups and wooden sticks work the same magic.
“Or, simply try poking a spoon through the lid of your favorite yogurt and freezing it,” Terranova suggests.
Either way, the message is clear: It’s hard to go wrong making ice pops in your own kitchen. So, get creative and don’t be afraid to concoct something new and healthy.
Berry Yogurt Ice Pops
Rhone Levin, an oncology dietitian at Dell Children’s Blood & Cancer Center, recommends this ice-pop recipe (a favorite at Dell Children’s) from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1 tablespoon honey
24 ounces vanilla greek yogurt
12 3-ounce paper cups and 12 wooden sticks
1. In a small mixing bowl, mash the cherries and berries.
2. Drizzle honey on the cherries and berries, and mix together.
3. In paper cups, layer alternating spoonfuls of yogurt and fruit until the cups are full.
4. Place a wooden stick or plastic spoon in each cup and freeze. 5. When they’re ready to serve, tear the paper cup off the ice pop and enjoy.
This recipe yields 12 paper-cup ice pops. Per serving: 69 calories, 0 grams total fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber, 18 milligrams sodium
Shop These Pops
GoodPop Frozen Pops: $5.99 for a pack of four, available at H-e-B, Randall’s, Central market, Wheatsville Co-op and Whole Foods, goodpops.com
Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars: $4 for a pack of four, available at H-e-B and Central market, yasso.com
Outshine Fruit Bars: $4 for a pack of four, available at Randall’s, H-e-B and Walmart, outshinesnacks.com
Jolly llama Sorbet Pops: $4 for a pack of four, available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, H-e-B, Central market, Fresh Plus, Wheatsville Co-op and Vitamin Cottage, thejollyllama.com
Julie’s Organic Ice Cream Sorbet and Yogurt Bars: $5 for a pack of four, available at some H-e-Bs, Wheatsville Co-op and Fresh Plus, juliesorganic.com