Icy Cold, Healthy Homemade Summer TreatsLast updated: Aug 01, 2013
Cold food and beverages can help you stay cool in hot weather;
but some favorite summertime treats contain added sugar
that can be bad for your health!1
Whether sugar occurs naturally in foods or is added during processing,
it's important to keep track of how much you eat.
Researchers have found that having too much sugar in your diet can contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes — conditions that can increase risk of heart disease and stroke.1
For these reasons, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting added sugar to <100 calories (approximately 6 teaspoons) per day for women and <150 calories (approximately 9 teaspoons) per day for men. The AHA also recommends avoiding foods and beverages that are made with sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey, maltose, sucrose, and fruit juice concentrates.2
Shake the sugar, cut the calories, and cool down with fresh, flavorful, low-calorie and low-sugar icy cold summertime treats such as:
- Healthy, homemade popsicles made with fresh or frozen fruit for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals without added sugar
Blend 2 cups of fresh or frozen, thawed fruit such as strawberries and mangoes, pineapple and banana, or cantaloupe and blueberries with 1 cup of fat-free milk or plain, nonfat yogurt. Pour the mixture into 8 popsicle molds or 8 paper cups covered with foil. Puncture the foil with a popsicle stick and freeze them until they are solid
- Delicious, healthy, and naturally-colored slushies made with 1/2 cup of 100% fruit juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice, and 1 cup of crushed ice
Most commercial fruit drinks, slushies, and popsicles are made with fruit juice or fruit concentrate, sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and food coloring, whereas 100% fruit juice contains no additives, no artificial coloring, and no added sweeteners3
- Naturally flavored, zero-calorie water made with 2 cups of sliced cucumbers, 2 cups of sliced strawberries, 2 cups of chopped cherries, 2 cups of chopped mint, 2 cups of chopped kiwis, 2 cups of sliced lemons, or 2 cups of sliced limes in a 2-quart container filled with ice cubes, and then add water
Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours to allow the fruits or vegetables to mingle with and flavor the water
Place your cold drinks in a frosty cold glass
and garnish them with slices of fresh fruit or mint leaves for visual appeal!
1. Vasanti SM, Popkin, BM, Bray GA, Despres JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(11):2477-2483.
2. American Heart Association. Sugars and carbohydrates. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp. Accessed July 26, 2013.
3. USDA Food and Nutrition Service. 19 Nutrition Newsletters for Parents of Young Children. Nibbles for Health. Juice or fruit drinks? http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/Resources/Nibbles/Nibbles_Newsletter_19.pdf. Accessed July 26, 2013.