Summer is finally here and nothing compares to your favourite ice cream on a hot day. However, if you're watching what you eat, there’s no need to go without or feel guilty when you can treat yourself to a homemade ice cream - with a fraction of the calories and additives of commercially bought ice cream. Get the kids involved and make it a family affair to fill the freezer with healthy ice cream and icy poles this season.
Delicious Ice Cream with a Healthy Twist
There’s homemade ice cream, then there’s nice cream. You can make your own nice cream by blending frozen bananas at high speed to a smooth, creamy consistency that’s similar to ice cream. It’s the perfect, healthy option to ice cream because there’s no added sugar, flavours or additives.
Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
Fresh fruit and ice cream are a match made in summertime heaven. With no cream, strawberry banana ice cream is ideal for a vegan or anyone with a lactose intolerance. The recipe is perfect for using up any bananas that the kids won’t eat because they’re past their prime. If you’ve been strawberry picking, store the excess fruit in the freezer and take it out when you’re ready to make ice cream.
Chop ripe bananas into pieces that are a few centimetres wide. Hull and chop the strawberries in half. Place all of the fruit onto a tray covered with baking paper. Place the tray in the freezer for around two hours.
Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer and place the fruit into a high powered food processor. (tip: let the fruit defrost slightly if you’re struggling to remove it from the paper).
Start the food processor and watch the frozen fruit crumble then combine until smooth. Keep processing until you have a very smooth, soft serve appearance.
Now, you can either eat your ‘soft serve’ by spooning it into bowls straight from the food processor or freeze it for a firmer texture. Transfer the mixture into a metal pan and freeze for 3 or 4 hours. Once it’s frozen, take it out of the freezer and leave to stand on the bench for 5-10 minutes before scooping.
If your fruit bowl is brimming with ripe bananas, store them in an airtight bag or container in the freezer after peeling and chopping. When you’re ready to use them, try a few different flavoured nice cream recipes.
Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream
If you’re someone who can’t go past the choc mint flavour combo, try this recipe. It allows you to indulge without too many empty calories.
2 overripe frozen bananas.
⅛ pure peppermint extract, or as desired.
2-3 Tbsp chocolate chips.
Pinch spirulina or natural green food colouring (optional).
½ cup coconut cream (optional).
Peel and chop the bananas then freeze on a tray or in an airtight bag. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you prefer to keep your chocolate chips whole, add them in at the end to fold through.
Chocolate Ice Cream
If you’ve used all the ripe bananas in the house or you’re looking to mix things up a bit, this recipe swaps bananas for sweet potato!
1 large sweet potato.
400ml can lite coconut milk .
280g dark chocolate chips.
2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
½ teaspoon fine sea salt.
¼ cup light brown sugar.
Scrub the skin of the sweet potato then pierce it with a fork several times. Place in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool.
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 40 second bursts on 50% power. Stir after each burst until melted and smooth.
Remove the skin from the potato and measure ¾ cup potato flesh. Place the potato, melted chocolate and canned coconut milk in a blender or food processor. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until mixed and smooth. Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to cool. Place the mixture in an ice cream maker and churn following the manufacturer's directions.
Blueberry Yoghurt Swirl Icy Pole
Kids love nothing more than an icy pole on a hot day. Rather than buying ones from the shop loaded with sugar and colour, try these as a much healthier option.
Blend blueberries in a food processor on high speed until almost liquid. Pour blueberry puree into a large bowl and stir through the agave or honey. Add the yoghurt and gently swirl together. Taste and add more sweetener if required. Pour into icy pole moulds and freeze until hard.
Fruit Salad Ice Blocks
If your kids love fruit salad, then this treat is sure to be a hit.
Tip: most fruit will work, so use whatever you have in the fridge.
Wash and chop fruit, then gently squeeze in as much fruit as possible into large icy pole moulds - making sure you press the fruit against the sides. Fill in empty spaces with smaller pieces of fruit. Fill the moulds with apple juice leaving a small space at the top for the juice to expand as it freezes. Place a pop stick in the middle of each mould between the layers of fruit and freeze for at least four hours. Remove from the moulds by running under hot water.
Fruit Icy Poles
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into icy pole moulds and freeze for at least 4 hours or until frozen.
Substitute blueberries for any kind of berry.
Why Make Your Own Ice Cream and Icy Poles?
Buying ice cream is quicker and easier than making your own but making your own has plenty of upsides that you can’t get with shop bought. Homemade ice cream means you have complete control over what goes into your sweet treat and what stays out. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, you can choose a natural fruit, honey sweetener or just use a little less sugar than the recipe suggests. Making your own means you aren’t eating any artificial colours, flavours or additives that you may prefer to do without in your diet