3 FUN & HEALTHY RECIPES FOR THE 4th OF JULY
A creamsicle might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy foods–but this homemade red-white-and-blue version, made with fresh berries, coconut milk and a little sugar-free coconut-milk ice cream and honey, is as healthy as a yummy, kid-friendly dessert can get. The recipe was created for a child with dairy sensitivities; if you prefer, use low-fat dairy milk and ice cream, which will also reduce the sugar content a bit.
Recipe adapted from kaylaaimee.com.
Used with permission.
– 1/2 cup raspberries
– 1/2 cup strawberries
– 1/2 cup blueberries
– 1/2 cup blackberries
– 1 cup + 2 TBS sugar-free coconut-milk ice cream
– 1/4 cup vanilla coconut milk
– 4 tsp honey
Simmer and stir raspberries, strawberries and 2 teaspoons honey until juicy. Pour into blender, add 1 tablespoon ice cream and blend.
Distribute mixture into 6 dixie cups, filling each to about the 1/3 mark. Place in freezer for 45 minutes.
Blend 1 cup ice cream, 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon honey. Pour over red layer in cups to about the 2/3 mark. Return to freezer for additional 45 minutes.
Repeat Step 1 using blueberries and blackberries. Pour over white layer to fill cups. Place an ice-pop stick in the center of each cup and return to freezer for three hours.
To remove creamsicles, push down on top of cups with thumb; they should pop right out.
COCONUT FRUIT POPSICLES
Another tasty red-white-and-blue frozen dessert, gleaned from weelicious.com, is so easy the kids can help! This one uses coconut water–a different product from coconut milk that is 94% water, fairly low in calories and has lots of nutrients. Simply pour coconut water over cut up strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in popsicle molds (or use dixie cups and sticks instead) and freeze for six hours. Assign your kids the task of portioning out the berries into the cups.
COCONUT FRUIT ICE
One last red-white-and-blue idea for the Fourth: Freeze a variety of berries in coconut water in an ice cube tray and add a few ice cubes to a glass of water when they’re ready, and you’ll have a healthy, refreshing (and beautiful!) drink–minus the concentrated sugar of pure fruit juice or the added sugar of fruit-flavored beverages.
Healthy Eating Notes: With its creamy texture and slight natural sweetness, coconut milk might taste like something that ought to be bad for you. According to Dr. Josh Axe on his Food Is Medicine website, it’s anything but! Coconut milk is a great source of B vitamins and potassium, and its nutrients help build up the body’s immune defenses and prevent disease.
Even those who warn against the use of coconut oil for cooking agree that moderate consumption of coconut milk, especially a low fat variety, can have beneficial antiviral and antibacterial effects. (See bbcgoodfood.com).
And what could be healthier (and more refreshing) than fresh, sweet, locally grown berries? Strawberries and blueberries are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C that strengthen the immune system and help keep memory sharp as we age, and raspberries contain a compound with anti-cancer properties. All berries are great sources of fiber, important for a healthy digestive system, and new research suggests they may also be good for your heart and bones. Check out eatingwell.com and besthealthmag.ca if you need more convincing.
Or just pull out the fruit and get started on one of these patriotic yummies. Your kids will be glad you did–and so will you!
Have a rip-roarin’ 4th of July–
Barbara Jean the Story Queen
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.
What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things.
I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!
On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)
My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!
I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.
Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.
Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”
To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website. To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!