Without the structure of school meals and snacks, it’s easy for your kid’s summer to turn into a smorgasbord of sugary snacks. Of course, some of that is part of the fun of the season, but if your kids are constantly asking for sugary snacks, it’s helpful to be prepared with some healthier treats. That’s where fruit comes in.
Don’t worry. We’re not going to try to talk you into convincing your child that an apple is the same thing as a cookie. Instead, use the natural sweetness or creamy texture of certain fruits to create healthier versions of their favorite sweets. It’s a great way to sneak in nutrients while keeping sugar intake to a reasonable level. Plus, making a fruit sweetened dessert is a fun indoors activity to take a break from the heat.
Here are some of the most versatile fruits to use in sweet treats:
Dates // Sugar-dense with a caramel-like flavor, dates are a delicious way to sweeten smoothies, milkshakes, and ice cream. They’re also packed with minerals to help replace what’s lost in sweat. This creamy coconut cashew milkshake is sweetened with dates. Or, take advantage of date’s sticky texture by blending them with nuts to create a crust for raw desserts, like these macha mint chocolate cups.
Bananas // Potassium-rich bananas are one of the best fruits for summer, especially if your kid has been outside sweating in the heat all day. Bananas can help replace potassium, and as a naturally sugar-rich fruit, replenish glucose stores lost from activity. With their creamy texture, bananas are best used in frozen desserts. Blend frozen bananas in the food processor with cocoa powder, almond butter, a bit of coconut milk and a pinch of sea salt to make an easy, homemade chocolate ice cream.
Berries // Add a burst of tart flavor with fresh or frozen berries, the most antioxidant rich fruits. Simmer frozen berries with a bit of lemon juice and chia seeds to make a jam for topping ice cream or yogurt. Or, freeze them in a layer of yogurt or chocolate to make fruity frozen yogurt bark or chocolate bark.
Coconut Milk // Surprised to learn coconut is a fruit? Compared to other fruits, it’s low in sugar, but rich in healthy fats that give it a creamy texture and make coconut a delicious and healthy dairy swap. Whip coconut cream with sweetener to make a dairy-free whipped cream to serve with fresh sliced watermelon, or use it to make this Mexican chocolate pudding.
Avocado // Similar to coconut, avocado is rich in fats and low in sugar. It’s also a great source of potassium, one of the minerals lost in sweat. You might not think of using avocado for sweet desserts, but it has a mild taste that lets other flavors shine through, like the chocolate in these avocado fudgesicles.
When you taste these avocado fudgesicles, you’ll be shocked by how much they taste like your childhood memories. Creamy avocado and coconut milk give it texture, while anti-inflammatory and heart healthy cocoa powder gives it a rich, chocolate flavor. Feel free to adjust the sweetness with more or less honey.
Yields 6 popsicles
- 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 2/3 cup Earth Fare Cocoa Powder
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup Earth Fare Coconut Milk
- 1 teaspoon Earth Fare Vanilla Extract
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- Optional for serving: shredded coconut, melted dark chocolate, chopped nuts, freeze-dried berries
- Place avocado, cocoa powder, honey, coconut milk, vanilla and salt in a food processor. Blend until well combined and creamy, scraping down sides as needed.
- Divide avocado cream evenly into popsicle molds. Secure cap and freeze upright for at least 5 hours until frozen.
- When ready to eat, run under hot water to loosen mold. If desired, drizzle with melted dark chocolate, shredded coconut, chopped nuts and crushed freeze-dried berries, or enjoy as is.