Summer is here, and it is fun and busy! As a mom of two constantly moving and hungry sprites, I’m always looking for easy and healthy snack ideas. Enter popsicles; portable, delicious, and something most kids would eat daily if they could. While a typical grocery store hosts a staggering variety of popsicle options, most contain crazy high amounts of sugar, food coloring, and artificial flavoring. To avoid all of these, I started making homemade popsicles when my oldest daughter was about a year old, (teether plus snack all in one = win win!). I’ve kept it up because my kids will gobble down popsicles anytime of year, plus it is simple to make them nutritious, and making them with my children turns work into family bonding.
Making homemade popsicles isn’t much different from making a smoothie. Grab your ingredients of choice, and pop them into the blender. My kiddos will eat some ingredients they wouldn’t normally eat, like spinach, in a popsicle. Seeing them happily and knowingly slurp down these ingredients makes this mama’s heart happy. After it’s pureed, pour into molds and freeze. A few hours later your refreshing snack is ready to eat. Allowing your children to be part of the creation process will make them excited about the snack and the healthy ingredients going into it. Even the smallest toddler can tear greens or drop berries into the blender. Older children can measure tricky ingredients like honey, operate the blender, or help pour the finished mixture into the molds.
Once the work is complete, don’t just send your kids outside with them. Take a moment and enjoy what you’ve made. Popsicles and summertime make a winning pair. Eating an icy popsicle inside the blazing heat of a summer day epitomizes the slower pace and freedoms of summer life. For a few fleeting minutes, technology ceases to exist, conversation and activity pause, and life is lived in the quiet enjoyment of the present moment.
A Few Tips on Homemade Popsicles
- I use star pop molds by Tovolo but popcicle molds aren’t necessary. Dixie cups, candy molds or ice cube trays can all work, just make sure you have toothpicks or popsicle sticks handy.
- Leave at least ¼ an inch space at the top of the molds when filling them. All ingredients expand when they freeze so that little space will prevent an exploded, frozen mess.
- Drop in chunks of fruit for texture and flavor.
- When taking homemade popsicles out of the mold, let it sit out for a few minutes at room temperature or run it under hot water for 30 seconds to loosen and come out smoothly.
- To make them more creamy, add a natural thickener like avocado, banana or yogurt.
- Get creative and experiment with your popsicles! This site has over a dozen recipes for natural, homemade popsicles, but coming up with your own is easy to do. Try combining your favorite fruits and flavors, let your kids make their own creations, or keep it simple using juice and whole fruit. It’s all fun!
- Pump up the nutrition factor by adding a super food option, like: kombucha, keifer, probiotics, bee pollen, turmeric (tastes great with mango), leafy greens, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax, or protein powder (whey, hemp, pea, etc.).
Sara’s Spectacular Summer Raspberry-Lime Popsicles
1 15oz can of coconut milk (light or regular)
1 ½ cups kale, stems removed
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups raspberries
2 tablespoons hemp hearts (optional)
Combine all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour into molds, Dixie cups, ice cube trays or whatever you have handy, and put into the freezer. Freezing time will vary based on the temperature of your freezer and the mold you use. Average freezing time for a popsicle mold is about 4-6 hours. Enjoy!