Greenwood Health Kick: Healthy, Cool Treats for the Summer
Writer and Photographer / Alicia Wettrick
You are minding your own business. Suddenly in the distance, you hear the sweet melodies of an ice cream truck. Like Pavlov’s dog, you start to salivate. Now you’re frustrated! You want something cool and refreshing, but you don’t want the muffin-top look in your bathing suit.
Anticipating this yearning, I searched for simple, healthy, refreshing treats and tested them on my family and neighbors. These were their favorites:
Avoid the high-fructose corn syrup and brightly stained mouth with a natural fruit popsicle. You can use any fruit combination with added almond or coconut milk for smoothness. Try the following recipe:
Mango, Orange, Green Apple and Lime Popsicle
Combine 1/2 pound of frozen mango chunks (the no sugar added variety), 1 green apple, 1/2 cup of light coconut milk, freshly squeezed juice from 1 orange and 1 lime and 1 tablespoon of honey, agave or sugar. Purée in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for four hours or until firm.
Fruit and Herb–Infused Water (Spa Water)
Combating fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps and pain, water has many benefits. Staying hydrated with water improves digestion, metabolism, thinking and alertness. It also plays a big role in aiding weight loss and maintenance.
Nevertheless, the thought of plain water does not excite most of us. However, making fruit-infused water is a natural and delicious alternative to sugary drinks such as lemonade and soda. Water along with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from fresh fruit mix up a perfectly refreshing beverage for the summer!
(Spas frequently serve this water to cleanse and refresh their clients, hence the name “spa water.”)
How to Make Spa Water
You can use any combination of fruit (except for bananas) and fresh herbs. Use two-quart mason jars or a pitcher. Wash the fruit well before adding to the jar. For a stronger flavor, gently press or crush the fruit and herbs. Fill the jar with ice cubes. Add water to the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to let the fruit and herbs steep. Good for up to three days.
Infused Water Combos*
1. Watermelon and Rosemary (Sweet and aromatic. Biggest hit!) 1-2 cups watermelon cubes and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
2. Strawberry, Lime, Cucumber, Mint (Light and refreshing) 8-10 halved strawberries, 1/2 of a sliced cucumber, 1 sliced lime and mint leaves.
3. Blackberry, Blueberry, Lemon, Sage (Rich, savory berry flavor) 1 handful of blackberries and blueberries, 1 sliced lemon and sage or mint leaves.
4. Orange, Lemon, Lime (Tangy and a little bitter) 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime sliced.
*Fruit and herb–infused waters are not very sweet. You can add 1 teaspoon of honey, agave or sugar to your cup. A little sugar is still much better than the 10 teaspoons of sugar in soda.
Frozen Banana Pops
Instead of cake-pops, how about banana pops? These were gone in seconds!
Slice a couple of bananas. Melt dark chocolate in the microwave. Dip the banana slices in the melted chocolate and then place them on wax paper. You can top the slices with sprinkles, chopped almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut or chia seeds. Place a toothpick in each banana slice. Refrigerate or freeze for one hour. Enjoy! Keep them in the fridge or freezer for storage.
On a hot summer afternoon, try these easy, refreshing, healthier treats instead of stalking the ice cream man. Have a great summer!