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Monday, July 13, 2015

Stay Cool in a Smart Way: Frozen Treats

 Dog-days of summer cry out for frozen treats such as slushes, ice-cream, and popsicles.  But are some choices better than others when it comes to cooling off with something frozen? Here are some things to look for when choosing frozen treats from the store.

   Serving size: one-kid-hand rule – if a child can hold it with one hand, then chances are the serving size is reasonable.  (Monstrously large slushes in huge cups – not so much).  If you have a package with a nutrition label – 100 calories or less is a good target to shoot for with creamy treats and closer to 50 calories for fruity frozen treats. 

   Ingredient list: the shorter the better and something other than sugar as the first or second ingredient.

Freeze your own
   Save out some smoothie, freeze it in a cup and enjoy it frozen another time.

   Involve your kids – let them choose what fruit combinations to blend and freeze. Freezing in cups is simpler doesn't require fancy popsicle molds, is dripless and forces you to slow down.  Slower eating means more enjoyment, more relaxation and better nutrition.  

   Bypass the blender and enjoy the whole fruit frozen: grapes and berries make great bite-sized frozen snacks, put a stick in a spear of pineapple, mango, melon or banana for the most wholesome and simple frozen treat. 
Chocolate-dipped pineapple - affectionately called choco-pina in Guatemala made me fall in love with this delicious treat. Super simple to make.

Being intentional in your choice of cool-down treats can help you stay hydrated and boost your nutrition at the same time. 

Choco-pina Recipe:

  1. Put popsicle sticks partway into spears of fresh pineapple.  Freeze (I put them on wax-paper-lined baking sheets)
  2. Melt a small amount of dark chocolate mixed with a little coconut oil.  (I know this sounds vague, but it depends on how much pineapple you are doing.)  I usually melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  3. Dip frozen pineapple into melted chocolate mixure.  Place back on wax paper and freeze.  
  4. When frozen, wrap in plastic wrap or put in zip-top bags.  Keep in Freezer.
  5. Enjoy!

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