Sweet and Healthy Summer Treats

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On a hot summer day, one of my favorite ways to cool off is with a refreshing treat. If you make it yourself from scratch, you can use whole fruits and other fresh ingredients for a naturally sweet treat without all the added sugar and fat found in desserts like an ice cream bar.Mango-Peach Ice Cream with Strawberry

Recipes made with fruits like mango, strawberries and watermelon are also filled with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Here are recipes for three of my favorites:

Mango Strawberry Ice Pops
These only take about 15 minutes to make, but you’ll want to make them the night before so they can freeze fully.

  • 2 mangoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, washed with tops removed
  • 2 Tbsp honey or agave
  • Splash of orange juice (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (optional)
  • ½ cup strawberries, sliced into small pieces

Mix first four ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle mold and drop additional sliced strawberries into the mold. Freeze overnight. When serving, run hot water briefly over the mold to ease out the popsicles. For a variation, replace one mango with a large ripe banana.

Nutrition Information: Makes 10 servings. Per serving: 70 calories, 17 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 4 mg sodium

Watermelon Gazpachowatermelon gazpacho resized
This is easy and goes perfectly with a piece of warm, crusty whole-wheat baguette rubbed with a roasted garlic clove.

  • 6 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • ½ yellow or red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree ½ each of the watermelon, cucumber and bell pepper. Add in the jalapeno, lime juice and olive oil and puree to desired thickness. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and combine with pureed ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Information: Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 80 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 2 g protein, 100 mg sodium

Frozen Fruit
As simple as it sounds and great for the whole family – just freeze the fruit the night before you plan to eat it!

My favorites are frozen grapes, mango or cut up banana pieces. For grapes, wash and allow them to dry fully first, then freeze them right in the bag they came in. Mango should be pealed and chopped, or you can buy the bags of frozen mango pieces from the grocery store. For bananas, select riper ones, peel and cut into 2 inch pieces. Freeze in a sealed zip lock bag.

When eating, pull the fruit from the freezer and allow it to thaw just slightly, about 5 minutes before eating. You’ll be surprised at the dessert-like quality you get from something as simple as a frozen grape!

What’s your favorite nutrient-packed summer treat?

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a clinical dietitian at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. She has a passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. You can follow her on twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.


    Author: Sonja
    Thanks to Sonja Goedkoop for Guest Blogging.

    Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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