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NUTRITION ED: Cooling Down With Nutritious, Homemade Popcicles

Summers in southeast Texas are a given: H-O-T! How many of us have heard our local meteorologists say, “record hot temperatures,” lately? With higher temps comes an even greater need for hydration. Did you know it’s not just water that can keep us hydrated? Foods, especially produce, can be equally as hydrating!

Ensuring that your family is properly hydrated can be a daunting task, but there is an easy way to step up to the challenge – simply make it tasty! With this as inspiration, the Nutrition Education team at the Houston Food Bank developed a few tasty and hydrating summer popsicles; made with real ingredients. And what’s more satisfying than popsicles on a 100°F day?

With seasonal produce in mind, our first popsicle creation is a dairy-free option that features a delicious peach and cantaloupe combination.

Seasonal fruit of peaches and cantaloupe.

With peaches and cantaloupe at the peak of their produce season, they are delicious, juicy and sweet – but even better – inexpensive!  On a hydration level, peaches are 88% water with cantaloupe coming in as 90% water. (Almost as high as watermelon with a 91% water content.)

To make this easy and delicious recipe, simply chop up the ingredients and add to a blender.

You might notice we’ve added unsweetened coconut water to the recipe instead of regular water. Coconut water provides the same amount of hydration with the added benefit of potassium and calcium. Not to mention a hint of nutty flavor.  *If you are not a fan of coconut, are allergic or if coconut water isn’t readily available, regular water can be substituted.

Next, simply blend the ingredients until smooth without any visible chunks.

Choose your favorite popsicle mold, fill it, and place in the freezer to harden for 4 to 6 hours. If you do not have access to popsicle molds, you can use small muffin baking tins, paper or plastic cups or ice cube trays. Just be sure to use popsicle sticks or straws and insert after the popsicles are partially frozen.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Our second option is for all the chocolate lovers. Inspired by one of the most hydrating vegetables (no it’s not cucumber), zucchini squash, this recipe is refreshing and rich in flavor! Zucchini are versatile and very hydrating with 96% water content (just barely beating out the cucumber at 95% water). This popsicle has everything: chocolate milk, zucchini, banana and cocoa powder.

This recipe includes 1% chocolate milk. Ensure that you are using a low-fat choice. The only difference in nutrients, when comparing whole milk vs. low-fat milk, is the fat content. Don’t worry! You will not be sacrificing calcium or other vitamins and minerals when choosing the lower fat diary options. These popsicles will be uber chocolatey thanks to the addition of the cocoa powder.

As with the other recipe, simply add ingredients and blend until smooth.

Choose your mold option, fill it, and place in the freezer to harden for 4 to 6 hours.

Thanks to Houston weather, you can enjoy these refreshing treats all the way to Labor Day!  Yum!

2018-08-02T20:21:52+00:00