Monday, July 5, 2010

Cool Treats for Hot Summer Weight Loss Success

Typically the 4th of July here is hot and we are looking for ways to stay cool...yesterday proved to be the exception as we huddled under umbrellas in our jackets in the pouring rain to watch the fireworks...which were delayed due to the storms...

Cold as we were, we just had to try our cool treats that turned out to be delicious and healthy, if not fully appreciated for their temperature!

These treats are easy to make and enjoy and can be made more (or less) healthy, suitable for adults or kids, depending on the ingredients you choose.

I'm talking popsicles, of course! But not the store-bought kind that is filled with high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners. Try making your own instead, easily, so you have 100% control over what (and how much) goes into the cool treats.

You can buy popsicle molds at a variety of stores, or you can use paper Dixie cups for smaller servings or even ice cube trays. Simply insert popsicle sticks and you have a portable treat...or use the cubes in your water for summer refreshment!

So what ingredients to use? For the easiest popsicles, get 100% fruit juice, pour and freeze. I had a wonderful blueberry-pomegranate pop last night...yum...delicious and loaded with antioxidants and no added sugar.

Add fresh fruit (or for super easy, use already frozen) for fiber, texture and fun for the tongue.

Have more time and want to get creative? Make your own juices--with a squeezer or juicer. Add Stevia for zero calorie sweetness to lemon or lime based pops. Puree some fruits (fresh or frozen) for a creamier texture. Throw in a little raw (unsweetened) coconut for a tropical "punch."

Flavors can be consistent, complementary or contrasting. For example, using a sweet strawberry juice as a base...adding strawberries for a consistent taste, banana slices for complimentary flavor, or contrast the sweet juice with tart kiwi.

Of course, adults can add a splash of alcohol for a festive cube. It doesn't take much...and keep in mind that frozen alcohol still has calories and, well, alcohol.

The only thing that limits your popsicle is your imagination. You could even have a "Pops on Ice" party, with a variety of juices and ingredients all ready for guests to create their own. I suggest using small paper cups for this method...have each guest write their name on the cup before concocting their treat(s). Have this be the first thing folks do, then move on to the grilling and games and later in the day or evening you'll have flavor-filled cool-down treats made to order!

Thanks to Dr. Diana Hill for this inspiration!

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