homemade popsicles in a bowl

Nothing is more satisfying than cooling down with a frozen treat in the summer. But many frozen treats, such as ice lollies and ice cream, are loaded with sugar. To avoid going overboard with the sweet side of cool treats, think about taking the DIY (do it yourself) route.

Learn to reduce the amount of sugar in your family's diet by making your own frozen treats. It's easier than you think to create refreshing, low-sugar delights that your whole family will enjoy. You'll be helping everyone to maintain a healthier diet, while still providing a tasty, lip-smacking snack.

Frozen Fruit Smoothies
Nothing could be easier, healthier, or more delicious than a frozen fruit smoothie. If you're someone who finds it difficult to eat the two to four servings of fruit per day, then a fruit smoothie will give you the perfect solution. Fruit smoothies are - obviously - loaded with fruit, and they're a great way to avoid the sugar overload that goes hand in hand with many frozen treats.

To whip up a frozen fruit smoothie in a snap, put these ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend them until the mixture has a smooth consistency:

  • 2 cups of frozen grapes ( both green or black are good choices)
  • 1 frozen banana (peel and slice it before adding to blender)
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of fruit juice (check the label to ensure your choice is 100 percent fruit juice)
  • 1 cup of milk

This makes enough for two fruit smoothies; if you're serving a family of four, simply double the recipe.

Fruit-juice Lollies
A fun alternative to smoothies for kids is the classic ice lolly - except this one is sugar-free. Most ice lollies available at the grocery store are essentially sugar water, with no nutritional value. Fortunately, it's easy for you to make ice lollies that are just as tasty as the store-bought version, but much healthier. As long as you use fresh fruit and 100 percent fruit juice, you can make ice lollies that are completely free of refined sugar.

In a blender, simply mix together:

  • 1 cup of any kind of fruit juice (orange, grape, or apple juice will taste great)
  • 1 cup of cubed fruit (get creative: peaches, grapes, mangos, bananas, or strawberries all work--you can combine a few different types if you choose)

Once you've got your mixture well blended, pour it into ice lolly molds, pop in lolly sticks, and keep it in the freezer for three hours. The result will be a treat so tasty; your kids won't miss the sugar!

Freezing Fresh Fruit
Instead of eating frozen chocolates cool off with some freshly frozen fruit. Grapes are a great choice for a simple freezer snack that kids will love to pop in their mouths as an alternative to sugary sweets.

Freezing fresh fruit is a simple process if you follow a few easy steps:

  • Purchase seedless grapes of any variety: green, or black.
  • Wash and dry the grapes, then remove their stems.
  • For best results, place the clean grapes on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet for freezing. This keeps the fruit from clumping together while frozen.
  • Freeze the grapes for three hours, then transfer them to freezer bags, and put them back in the freezer for storing.

When family members are ready for a treat, they can grab and go!

Take Your Time: Spend a Few Extra Minutes on Your Health
While it may be tempting to grab treats from the frozen food section or hail the ice cream truck, it's much healthier - and less expensive - to make your own treats. Most commercial frozen treats contain excess sugar and food additives. You can easily avoid those extra calories and chemicals by going the DIY route. Frozen fruit treats are easy to make and delicious to eat. By spending a few extra minutes on your family's health this summer, you'll find refreshment that's equal to--or better than-- the sugar-filled version.