The sun is out, vacation mode is kicking in, and summertime is officially here. And, of course, summer comes the best beat-the-heat treat: ice cream.
No matter what the season, I’ve always been an ice cream fanatic. But when the days get longer and hotter, it’s hard to resist those tasty, cool treats at any point of the day. After visiting my local ice cream store a few too many times at the end of the school year, I began to feel a little guilty about my constant obsession. The long runs, outdoor biking, and leg-burning hikes I enjoy in the warm months turned into compensations for last night’s indulgences. So how do you feed the need while also maintaining your healthy lifestyle over the summer? Have no fear; there are many simple alternative ingredients to all your tasty treats that help you indulge without the bulge.
- Non-Fat/Greek Yogurt
Whether it’s a quick trip to your local froyo shop or a new recipe at home, it’s easy to swap those empty calories for a protein-filled, delicious treat. Yogurt has the same creamy texture as ice cream, so your frozen treat will have the illusion of ice cream with none of the guilt.
Try these simple recipes and products for some froyo inspiration:
- Greek Frozen Yogurt
- Chobani Flip — This Chobani product is simple, small, and perfectly rich. My personal favorite of their 12 flavors is the Key Lime Pie Crumble, which has key lime low-fat yogurt, graham crackers, and white chocolate. Stock your fridge for those late-night cravings.
- Yogurt and Fruit Parfait — Another fast and simple recipe that applies at any point of the day. All you need is fresh fruit, non-fat yogurt, and granola. This treat always fulfills that ice cream craving but is protein-packed and gets you ready for the day.
I’ve always been a fan of mixing together whatever ingredients I can find in my fridge to make a nutritious, flavorful smoothie. Different ingredients give you a variety of possible results — check out these recipes for whatever you’re craving.
- Banana Ginger — Combine a banana, 3/4 cup of non-fat yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, blend and enjoy.
- Peanut Butter, Banana, and Flax — Lots of protein and lots of delicious peanut butter.
- Spinach, Avocado, and Apple and a Creamy Green Smoothie — Start your morning with some greens. Avocado makes this treat creamy and as satisfying as ice cream, but with none of the guilt
- Mixed Berries–a delicious, refreshing way to cool off this summer! You can mix it up by adding some other fruits you may have in your fridge and experiment with the blender so you get that perfect taste!
- Coconut Milk
Coconuts are rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6. They also have lots of iron, calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. And for all you lactose-intolerants who still crave dairy-filled ice cream, coconut milk is lactose-free. Try these recipes with coconut milk to indulge in the creamy taste while also getting some great vitamins and minerals:
- Berry Popsicles
Cool off with these simple recipes that are packed with berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are not only refreshing in the summer, but they are all rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. Mix them with yogurt and throw ‘em in the freezer and you’ve got a great, healthy alternative to store-bought popsicles:
- Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and were used by the Mayans and Aztecs back in the day. They are considered one of the main superfoods today and are packed with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Put them in your smoothies or make them into delicious puddings as an ice cream alternative.
Try these Chia Seed Pudding Recipes for a wide variety of ways to stay healthy and hydrated this summer.