When I first met my intern Ruthie Mosseri, current Nutrition major and future RD, she had a list of blog post suggestions. As she read off “healthier ice creams for summer” I decided to task her with the job of creating that post. After all, ice cream sounds like a pain in the ass and this mom ain’t got no time for it! When we reconvened two weeks later, she brought over 5 different ice cream ideas, and we got to tasting and photographing them! The result is this blog post, which I hope you’ll all enjoy!
Do you know that feeling of when you get home after a hot summer day and you can’t help but dream of a cool, refreshing, and creamy frozen treat? If so, we’ve got you covered!
The summer heat is starting to get to us over here at Buddha Bowls and Burpees and with July in full swing, we felt it is absolutely necessary to discuss healthier ice cream alternatives to cool off. The base of traditional ice creams are cream, sugar, and even eggs. You may ask why we dare mess with this frozen perfection. Well, because we want to make it even better- Plant based! Healthy! Allergy friendly! And of course, freaking delicious! Plus, for all the mommas out there, we know your kids may want ice cream every. single. day!! Don’t worry, there is hope.
A quick look at some blogs and Pinterest recipes made me believe that making your own ice cream alternatives can be super quick and easy. What happened next was certainly a culinary adventure!
Below are a bunch of healthier ice cream options- some easier than others, but all worth a try!
*Please note: All of these recipes can be made allergy friendly by subbing sunflower seed butter where nut butter is called for and dairy-free yogurt for the parfait pops.
Here are four of our favorites!
Mango Banana Creamsicles
Double Chocolate Cookies with Strawberry Nice Cream
Almond Butter Nice Cream Chipwich
Greek Yogurt Parfait Pops
Banana 'Nice Cream': I’m sure many of you have heard of the nice cream trend over the past few years (if you haven’t yet, allow us to introduce you to social media ). Frozen bananas are creamy and sweet, perfect for that ice cream-like texture. I decided to take a twist on the usual smoothie style nice cream and form them into ice pops and ice cream sandwiches.
Mango Banana 'Creamsicles'
Difficulty Level: Super Easy!
First blend bananas with vanilla till creamy. Scoop out into a bowl leaving a bit behind at the bottom. Then add in mango, orange juice, and orange zest. Blend till smooth.
Swirl the two mixtures together in a bowl or in the ices mold keeping the colors mostly separate. Freeze for about 4 hours and enjoy!
*Pro-tip: Using a silicone ice pop mold, like this one, will make it easier to remove the ice pop than a standard plastic mold. Here I used these mini molds, perfect for a small serving.
Nice Cream Sandwiches
Here is where things got a little more complicated. Nice cream melts really quickly, making it difficult to stick between two cookies without the cookie pushing the ice cream out the sides. If your plan is to eat it on the spot, over a plate, with lots of napkins, then this is not an issue, but if you plan to make this for guests (as in presentable looking) these babies are a bit more time consuming! I made two different sandwich combos, but you can really put together any cookie with your favorite "ice cream."
Double Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Strawberry Nice Cream
Here I used the Flourless Paleo Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. Since the frozen strawberries gave the nice cream a more firm consistency, I was able to make the sandwiches right after blending the mixture and promptly froze them to harden.
Strawberry Nice Cream filling:
Blend together frozen strawberries and banana until they are mostly broken down with only some small strawberry pieces remaining. Scoop out a heaping spoon and place on a cookie. You can push down a bit with the spoon to slightly spread it on, but work quickly to keep the nice cream from melting. Top with another cookie and enjoy immediately or freeze right away! This recipe should fill 4 cookie sandwiches.
Almond Butter Nice Cream Chipwiches
For these sandwiches, I used the Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Dada Eats. These cookies were so soft and fluffy and when frozen reminded me of the good ole Chipwich days!
For the filling:
Blend together bananas and nut butter till creamy. Place mixture in a bag or container to freeze. Freeze for about 5 hours or until firm enough so you can make the sandwiches without it melting right off. For added fun roll sides in chocolate chips at your own risk of an oozy mess. Enjoy right away or freeze for later! *Individually wrap each sandwich to keep the shape while it hardens in the freezer.
Yogurt Parfait Pops
These easy parfait pops were inspired by Epicurious and they did not disappoint! I decided to try to drizzle the honey on the sides of the molds rather than fully mix it in to the yogurt, but this may have made them more difficult to remove (hence the half melted tops that look like someone snuck a bite). These delicious and light pops can double as breakfast, and who'd say no to ice cream for breakfast! Link for these below.
Overall, we've concluded that making your own ice cream can be super fun, allowing you to get creative in the kitchen with different flavor combos! Not only can you feel good about what you're feeding your kids, but you can also make an activity out of it. Sounds like a win win to me!