This week has been so amazingly warm that I’ve had to pinch myself a little. It’s almost like I’m back living in Australia. When the weather starts to heat up, my body naturally starts to crave something lighter and easier to eat.  And there’s nothing better in the middle of a hot afternoon than a cold treat to cool your body back down.

Chilled fruit is one great simple option. Or you can go a step further and whip up a batch of healthy homemade ice cream or ice lollies (or icy poles as we called them when I was growing up). The good news is you can do this without an ice cream maker. All you need is fruit, a food processor or blender, a freezer – and of course some ice lolly moulds for the ice lollies.

I spent this week experimenting with a few frozen concoctions; yes, sometimes it’s a tough job! I generally don’t have more than a couple of portions of fruit a day, as I focus more on eating vegetables, but this is a really easy and tasty way to include fruit in your diet. The extra bonus is that these recipes are really fun to make with kids. With school holidays looming, ice lolly making is a great (and healthy) summer activity.

All the recipes are dairy free and have no refined sugar, but I used a little honey or maple syrup to enhance the flavour of the fruit. If you’re concerned about even including these, you can leave them out – the recipes will still taste good, but I’ll be honest, they do taste better with the extra sweeteners added. You can also experiment with your own additions. I’ve made a couple of suggestions if you want to play around with the basic recipes, but go wild and try a few of your own adaptations. I’d love to hear how they turn out.

I hope these recipes help you stay nice and cool this summer.

 

Healthy Ice Cream

 

Recipe 1: Simple no churn ice cream

Serves 2

2 ripe bananas
1 tbspn seed or nut butter of your choice (I used homemade sunflower seed butter)
2 tspn maple syrup
½ tspn vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

 

1. Chop or break the bananas into small chunks. Pop them in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag for at least a couple of hours or preferably overnight (see tip below).

2. Take the frozen banana pieces and put them in a food processor. Blend for a minute or two; the banana will go grainy, and then quickly churn to the texture of soft serve ice cream. Be careful not to overblend it or the mixture will become runny.

3. Add in the seed or nut butter, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste, and blend for a further minute.

4. Your ice cream is now ready to serve. Scoop it out and into a bowl to eat straightaway.

Optional extras: 2 tspn cocoa or cacao powder, ½ tspn cinnamon, 2 tbspn chopped dark chocolate or choc chips

 

Tips

– I always keep a stash of frozen banana chunks in the freezer to add to smoothies. If you do this, it also means you can whip up this ice cream whenever you fancy it.

– It’s best to eat the ice cream as soon as you make it. If you really need to, you can freeze it if you have some left over, but you’ll need to take it out of the freezer and leave it for 5-10 minutes to thaw a little before eating.

Healthy Ice CreamHealthy Ice Cream

Recipe 2: Strawberry coconut ice lollies

Serves 4

225g strawberries
100g dairy-free coconut yoghurt (I used Coconut Collaborative natural yoghurt)
50ml light honey
Juice of 1 lemon

 

1. Chop the strawberries into rough chunks. Put them in a mixing bowl and mash them with a fork. You want to mash the strawberries well so that the juice is running out, but also leave some chunks as these are lovely to bite into.

2. Add the yoghurt, honey and lemon. Mix all the ingredients until they’re just combined. Make sure the honey and lemon are mixed in, but it’s fine (and I think preferable) not to have a completely uniform pink colour – white and pink streaks look great.

3. Pour the mixture into 4 ice lolly moulds, evenly dividing it between them.

4. Put the moulds into the freezer and leave for at least 4 hours. To get your ice lollies out, run the moulds under hot water for a couple of minutes and they should slip out.

Optional extras: a little chopped mint, ½ tspn cracked black pepper, substitute the lemon juice for lime juice mixed with a tablespoon of water

 

Tip

– You can also make this recipe using slightly thawed frozen strawberries. If you do, make sure you mix the honey into the yogurt before adding it to the strawberries. If you don’t the honey will harden, making it difficult to combine with the fruit.

Healthy Ice LolliesHealthy Ice LolliesHealthy Ice Lollies

Recipe 3: Blueberry lime lollies

Serves 4

225g frozen blueberries
Juice of 1 lime mixed with 90 ml of water
2 tbspn maple syrup
5g of finely chopped mint

 

1. Put the blueberries, lime juice mix and maple syrup into a food processor or blender. Blend for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth and slightly runny.

2. Add the mint and blend for another minute.

3. Pour the mixture into 4 ice lolly moulds, evenly dividing it between them.

4. Put the moulds into the freezer and leave for at least 4 hours. To get your ice lollies out, run the moulds under hot water for a couple of minutes and they should slip out.

 

Tip

– If you’re not eating your ice lollies straight away, you can take them out of the moulds and store them in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag.

 

Healthy Ice Lollies

 

Find more suggestions for warm weather foodie activities in my post: 10 fantastic food activities to try this summer 

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