We’re a family that loves desserts. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t indulge my sweet tooth, and with two growing boys to feed, I am always coming up with healthy treats to help them end their day on a sweet note. What I’ve found is that there’s simply no reason that desserts cannot be healthful and nutritious. Once you begin playing in the kitchen, experimenting with making sweets that are as healthy as they are delicious, there is no limit to where your creativity can take you. This can be especially true for frozen treats; focusing on in-season produce and high-quality ingredients will ensure that your ice pops and ice creams are tasty, light, and satisfying. For me this means sourcing dairy from a local farm, Fairtrade chocolate from reputable companies, in-season fruit from the farmers’ market, and herbs snipped from my own garden. It also means relying on natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, dates, and coconut sugar rather than refined sugar.
My family has become so accustomed to high-quality, homemade, whole foods–based desserts that my kids don’t find much satisfaction in store-bought treats. Sure, they are sweet, but beyond that there isn’t much in the way of freshness, depth of flavour, or texture. This only confirms what I have always believed: once you commit to wholesome cooking with an emphasis on quality ingredients, you’ll never look back. This holds as true for desserts as it does for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The beauty of making your own treats is that you will be able to trust that every ingredient, from the dairy and chocolate to the fruits and herbs, are up to your own high standards.
Nothing beats the heat like frozen treats. Whether you prefer ice pops or snow cones, frozen yogurt or slushies, there’s no denying the satisfaction of digging into a frosty sweet snack on a hot summer’s day. If you’re a health-conscious epicure with a sweet tooth, it can be hard to justify that rich scoop of ice cream or sugar-filled pop, but there is a way to enjoy the best of both worlds, satisfying your sweet cravings while also keeping things light and healthy.
GREEN MONSTER POPS
When it comes to getting my daily greens, I’ll try just about anything. While I love big, crunchy, straight-from-the-garden salads, I also love blending my greens into smoothies. Sweet, creamy, and refreshing, it only makes sense that a blended green smoothie would work perfectly in pop form. Feel free to experiment with the greens: I prefer spinach because the taste is very subtle, but Swiss chard and kale also work well, though their flavours are a bit more distinct. I love the sweetness of freshly made pineapple juice, though you can feel free to substitute ready-made juice. If you’re serving these to kids, play up the cool green colour, and before long, they’ll be slurping up their daily serving of health-infusing greens!
MAKES 10 LOLLIES
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped (or substitute 1 cup pineapple juice)
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped mango
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
- Put the roughly chopped pineapple chunks through a juicer. Measure 1 cup of pineapple juice (or use ready made pineapple juice) and add it to a blender with the bananas, mango, coconut milk, and baby spinach. Blend until smooth.
- Carefully pour the smoothie mix into lolly molds, insert sticks, and freeze for at least 3 to 4 hours, until hardened.
READ Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet by Christine Chitnis (Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications roostbooks.com)