Healthy Homemade Ice Cream Your Kids Will Love
Delicious and healthier ice cream recipes so good, your kids won't know it's better for them!
I scream, you scream we all scream for ... well, you know how the saying goes. Few things delight a child more than a sticky, sweet ice cream cone dripping down her arm in the heat of the summer sun. As deliciously fun as it is for your kiddo, you know that yummy treat is often loaded with sugar, fats, and empty calories. While letting your child -- and yourself -- indulge in ice cream occasionally won't negate a healthy diet, why not whip up homemade ice cream? By taking matters into your own hands you can make it better for you and experiment with flavors -- plus your kids get the added fun of making homemade ice cream, not just eating it.
Sure, homemade ice cream won't trump spinach in the nutrition department, but making smarter food choices adds up over time. "Meals and snacks don't have to be perfect, but there are easy ways to get your kids the nutrients to fuel their bodies, and more importantly, their brains!" says Jillian Lama, director of food development for Mind + Matter and owner of the healthy bakery Oh Sweet Heavens! "It doesn't matter how 'healthy' a snack or dessert is if your kids won't eat it, so take small steps and your kids may not even notice the difference!" Encourage your babysitter to think twice about taking the kids out to the local ice cream shop; they can spend time bonding with the kids making healthier ice creams in your own home!
Don't be afraid to think outside the box -- or carton -- when it comes to ice cream. While vanilla is delicious, there are many more unique varieties you can make with ingredients you may already have on hand. For an added healthy kick, try loading up with fresh fruit or almonds as a topping instead of sugar-laden syrups. Stephanie Merchant, author of "Chocolate Indulgence" and founder of The Nutrition Mom says, "I love to show busy families that healthy eating can be quick, easy, fun, and delicious! Kids of all ages love ice cream, and we can feel good about serving simple recipes that are free of artificial flavors, colors, refined sugars and even dairy." Is your mouth watering yet? Here are a few recipes to get you started.
If you have an ice cream maker, try:
- Peach Ice Cream. This light and delicious, fat-free, low-calorie peach ice cream is still packed with flavor. What better use for those fresh summer peaches than this tasty treat? Or bring back a taste of summer all winter long by using frozen fruit for this snack.
- Key Lime Ice. Do you have key lime pie lovers in the family? This tangy treat will tingle your taste buds without adding a lot of calories to your diet, and it's oh so easy to make.
No ice cream maker on hand? Don't sweat it. Try these recipes instead:
Healthy Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
(Courtesy of Jillian Lama)
- 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
- 3 ounces light Greek yogurt, cherry or preferred flavor
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut cream
- 1/3 cup milk of choice (coconut, almond, fat-free cow's milk)
- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cherry or raspberry extract (or use fresh or frozen fruit puree, to taste)
- 1 scoop whey isolate vanilla protein powder (aim for 20-30 grams of protein per scoop)
- Ground chia seeds
- Mini chocolate chips
- Graham crackers or vanilla cookie wafers
- Fresh or frozen fruit
- Allow Neufchatel cheese, Greek yogurt, coconut cream and milk to come to room temperature. Mix with an electric mixer until a creamy consistency is reached.
- Add extracts, followed by protein powder. Mix after each addition.
- Fold in berries, graham crackers or other mix-ins of choice.
- Freeze in a glass or plastic air-tight container at least 2 hours.
- The ice cream will be frozen hard, so allow it to thaw for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature or microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to allow it to soften. Scoop and enjoy!
- Add 1 cup fat-free whipped cream before freezing.
- Substitute milk with fruit juice to create a sorbet.
- Substitute pureed cottage cheese for yogurt or cream cheese.
- Add coconut nectar, liquid stevia or other sweetener, if desired.
Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream
(Courtesy of Stephanie Merchant)
- 3 to 5 peeled, frozen bananas
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Thaw bananas slightly and blend until creamy in a food processor.
- Add cocoa, and adjust to taste. Serve immediately.
- Add frozen or fresh raspberries for a chocolate raspberry flavor.
- Add peanut butter for a chocolate peanut butter flavor.
- Add fresh mint or mint extract for a chocolate mint flavor.
Love having cake and ice cream together? Check out these healthy cake recipes to go with these ice cream ideas!
Victoria Georgoff is a freelance writer and psychotherapist who enjoys writing about parenting, helping other parents and, of course, being a parent herself. Follow her on Twitter.