By Jen Hartman, Registered Dietician Nutritionist
As a registered dietitian, one of my favorite things is finding and creating healthy recipes for each season. Summer is the ideal time for cold, sweet treats!
We all have our favorite seasonal foods, and it's fairly common for those items to not be ideal for a healthy lifestyle. But I believe that healthy living shouldn’t be restrictive or have to mean cutting out all desserts.
Healthy living and eating well is about making smart, consistent choices. There are ways to get creative when you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Here's a look at four of my favorite summer treats. Try one of these healthier and nutritious recipes to cool down this season!
Frozen Stuffed Banana Bites
A healthy alternative to chocolate banana pops, these banana bites are sure to be a favorite with both kids and adults.
The peanut butter and Greek yogurt offer protein and healthy fats, which are ideal for any snack. Also, three of these banana bites provide you with one serving of fruit. They are easy to assemble and perfect for those warm, summer nights when you need a cool, sweet treat!
3 large bananas
- 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
- 1/4 cup natural or regular peanut butter
- 1/4 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice bananas into bite-sized pieces. Combine chocolate-hazelnut spread, peanut butter, and yogurt in a small bowl. Smear a spoonful of mixture onto banana slices and top with another banana slice to form a banana sandwich. Place all banana sandwiches on the lined baking sheet and freeze for two hours. Transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer.
Peach Yogurt Bars
A fresh bowl of peach ice cream has been a longtime favorite in my family. This recipe for frozen peach yogurt bars reminds me of chasing fireflies on a summer night with cousins and siblings—but with a healthier twist.
Made with Greek yogurt, fresh peaches, and a splash of orange juice, these frozen bars are sure to be a hit at your next backyard cookout or family reunion.
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup fresh peaches
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- In a blender, combine Greek yogurt, fresh peaches, and orange juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds or small Dixie cups (if using Dixie cups, insert sticks after pouring mixture). Freeze 5-6 hours. Makes 4-5 popsicles if using molds.
Berry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
The idea of a hot breakfast in the summer isn’t always appealing. Smoothies provide a delicious alternative. This recipe works well as a quick, on-the-go breakfast or a healthy start to a slow Saturday morning.
The combination of antioxidant-rich berries with fiber-rich oats should keep you full until lunch. The milk/yogurt adds a little extra protein, which makes a great post-workout snack. Picky kids will also love the sweetness of the smoothie, while they take in some essential fruit servings for the day.
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup oats
- 2 cups mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (frozen works great!)
- 1 1/2 cups of low fat milk or Greek yogurt (substitute almond milk or soy milk if preferred)
- In a blender, add the banana, oats, mixed berries, and milk. Blend until smooth. Drink immediately, or chill overnight.
Watermelon, Strawberry, and Kiwi Pops
Who doesn’t love a fruit popsicle on a hot summer afternoon? Unfortunately, most store-bought popsicles are loaded with added sugars and offer few nutritional benefits.
These real fruit, frozen pops provide you with one serving of fruit, hydration, vitamins, and antioxidants without all the added sugar! Plus, they’re easy to put together.
Assemble the pops in the morning, and freeze them while you head out to the pool or run your errands. When you get home in the afternoon, a homemade frozen fruit pop will make a wonderful afternoon snack.
- 2 cups, diced watermelon
- 1 cup, sliced strawberries
- 1 small kiwi
- 1 lime
- Juice and zest the lime into small bowl. Peel kiwi and add to bowl. In a blender, add the lime juice and zest, kiwi, strawberries, and watermelon. Puree until completely smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds or small Dixie cups. Freeze at least 3-4 hours, or until solid.