Summertime means a lot of things - the beach, sunscreen, trips to the park, and one of my favorites - ice cream! What kid doesn't love ice cream? I'm already dreading the day when my daughter learns the joy of the ice cream truck and I have to start shelling out dollars left and right and join the ranks of parents who are furious that the ice cream truck always seems to come around at 5:30pm (what is up with that?)
In the meantime while I still have the upper hand, I try to keep things healthy and fun for my daughter, and I can only pray that these good habits last down the road. And while it's ok for baby to have a lick or two of ice cream, here are a few better ideas (and most big kids won't even know the difference either!)
Baby's first frozen treat! As bananas are one of the first fruits that babies often try, this is an instant win almost always. It's super easy, super delicious, and super healthy (though you don't have to tell your kids that part!)
Take 3 or 4 bananas, peel them and cut them into chunks. Store in the freezer overnight. This first step is very important. The first time I tried this I must have been too excited, and I put the whole banana (peels and all) in the freezer. My husband had a heck of a time trying to cut the peels off later - oops!! After a night in the freezer, simply put frozen bananas into a food processor for a minute or so. The outcome will look a little bit like that ridiculously expensive space-aged ice cream that you can purchase at ball parks and amusement parks (I won't name names, but you know what I'm talking about). It's fine to eat like this, or, use a big spoon and with a couple of stirs it becomes a creamy banana goodness. Banana Cream! Yum! My daughter loves this, and so do I!
For an extra treat for older kids, squirt in a little chocolate syrup swirl or even a glob of strawberry jam.
Blueberries & Milk
Another summer favorite is blueberries and milk. I know it might sound a little weird, but don't knock it until you try it! As before, take some blueberries and freeze overnight. (For younger kids, cut the blueberries up into smaller bites before freezing.) All you do next is put the blueberries in their serving dishes and drizzle with milk, using a little less than you would for a bowl of cereal. The milk will instantly freeze to the frozen blueberries, creating a delicious berry cream treat! For extra sweetness, sprinkle sugar on top. Mmm.
Real Ice Cream
Once in awhile you just have to have the real deal. My husband and I have learned the benefits (and rewards) of making your own at home! A good ice cream maker is within the $50-$100 range, and if you're a fan like I am the investment will totally be worth it. Simply follow the directions that your ice cream maker comes with, and then get creative! For example, my husband and I made a delicious strawberry flavored ice cream by following the maker's direction for a simple vanilla, and by adding 2 packets of strawberry flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast. The result was delicious and packed full of vitamins!
Summer treats don't have to be bad for you. Get creative and enjoy!
Got a summer treat to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org