Can you believe there’s only one month left of summer? Neither can we! That’s why the team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry is soaking up everything summer has to offer before the colder weather begins to set in, including our favorite summer foods and drinks. We’re sure your kids are enjoying all the popsicles and ice cream too.
But while we love the warmer months as much as the patients at our Naperville pediatric dentistry office, the summer season also typically means a break from routine. Maybe you let your kids stay up a little later than usual or maybe you give them the OK to have that second scoop of ice cream. While this is no big deal in moderation, many summer treats contain a lot more sugar than you might think and can be harmful for your kids’ teeth.
To make sure your kids enjoy the rest of their summer vacation without suffering the effects of too much sugar (like hyperactivity, energy crashes or cavities), here’s a list of sugary summer faves and what to give your kids instead.
- Ice Cream & Gelato
This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but ice cream (and its “healthier” cousin gelato) packs quite a sugary punch. One scoop of regular vanilla ice cream has about 14 grams of sugar, which is equal to nearly four teaspoons! Now imagine how much sugar is in your triple chocolate peanut butter cup fudge brownie ice cream…
We get that summer isn’t really summer without ice cream. So what if we told you that you could still give your kids their favorite summer treat without the unhealthy added sugar? With a few simple ingredients (mainly ripe or overripe bananas), you can make your own DIY ice cream that tastes so close to the real thing, your kids won’t even know the difference.
Here are a few cool flavors to try (and bonus, they’re all naturally gluten free and vegan!):
- Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt is thought to be a healthy alternative for ice cream, but that’s not exactly true. While frozen yogurt typically contains less fat and calories than ice cream, the stuff you get at the grocery store or your favorite fro-yo shop is actually jam-packed full of sugar. In just half a cup of frozen yogurt, you’ll get around 24 grams of sugar — almost double the sugar content of that plain vanilla ice cream we talked about earlier. So before you let your kids dive into fro-yo heaven, piling on all those extra toppings and syrupy sauces, consider making your own frozen yogurt at home instead.
Frozen yogurt is incredibly easy to make. All you need is your favorite frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries, mango, you name it) and plain yogurt — just make sure both are unsweetened. Then throw it all into a blender until smooth and serve it up with a spoon. Not only will your kids end up eating less sugar, they’ll get the added benefit of healthy probiotics that don’t usually survive the freezing process with big brands. There are so many different flavor combinations to try, so we can guarantee you’ll find a recipe to please even the pickiest eaters.
Tip: Want to make your DIY fro-yo vegan? Blend your frozen fruit up with your favorite non-dairy milk and freeze for a few hours before serving. Need a little more sweetness? Use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
Who doesn’t love a frosty popsicle on a hot summer day? Popsicles are one of the most fun and easiest treats to enjoy when you need to cool down from the summer heat. Unfortunately, the big brand popsicles you know and love are full of artificial dyes and added sugars, which isn’t the best thing for your kiddos’ teeth. The good news is that it’s so simple to make healthy, 100% natural popsicles at home using whole food ingredients like real fruit, almond milk or raw cocoa.
No matter what flavor of popsicle you’re craving, there’s an easy way to give it a low-sugar, healthy upgrade. Watermelon fans, try this refreshing blend of strawberry, watermelon and lime. Chocoholics, whip up a batch of these vegan fudgesicles that have no added sugar. Whichever recipe you choose, just add all ingredients into a blender or food processor, blend until smooth, and then pour into popsicle molds to freeze. These healthy popsicles are so delicious that your kids will be asking for them all year round.