6 Healthy Frozen Desserts

They're cool, refreshing, and easy to make

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blueberry popsicles in metal tray with ice and blueberries Photo: Getty Images

Ice cream and ice pops are summer pleasures, but they can be packed with added sugars and fat. Instead, try these six easy recipes to help you cool off. Fruit is the main ingredient, so they provide disease-fighting fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants with every bite, says Rachele Dependahl, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 90 percent of Americans don’t eat the 1½ to 2 cups of fruit they should have each day. These treats will help you reach your quota. Store leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container.

More on Healthy Eating

1. Spiced Watermelon Wedges
Slice a small watermelon into 2-inch rounds. Quarter the rounds into wedges. Spear each with a 6-inch bamboo skewer and place on a baking sheet. Squeeze half a lime over the wedges, then sprinkle each with chili powder to taste. Freeze until firm, 2 to 4 hours. Makes 16 servings.

2. Greek Yogurt ‘Brittle’
Spoon 1 cup of vanilla low-fat Greek yogurt onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Shape into a ½-inch thick circle. Place ½ cup mixed berries sliced into bite-sized pieces on top. Sprinkle ½ cup granola around the edge of the circle. Gently pat the fruit and granola into the yogurt. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours, then break into chunks as you would with peanut brittle. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

3. Chocolate-Banana Bites
Peel six very ripe bananas and slice into 1-inch chunks. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Transfer the chunks to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and stir in ½ cup mini chocolate chips. With a spoon, drop cookie-sized scoops onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

4. Berry-Spinach Ice Pops
In a blender, add 1 cup frozen cherries or blueberries, 1 cup milk, ½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and a large handful of spinach. Blend until smooth; pour into ice pop molds. Freeze until solid, about 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

5. ‘Grapesicle’ Skewers
Rinse red and green seedless grapes and pat dry. On 10-inch bamboo skewers, slide a grape an inch or two from the bottom. Then alternate red and green grapes. Place skewers in a single layer in a freezer-proof bag or container. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. One skewer equals a serving.

6. Strawberry-Banana ‘Ice Cream’
Slice six very ripe bananas into 1-inch chunks and place on a baking sheet. Spread 1 cup halved strawberries on another sheet. Freeze both until solid, about 2 hours. Transfer the fruit to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor. Makes 8 half-cup servings.

Find a Healthy Treat at the Store

Don’t feel like making your own frozen dessert? Use these tips from CR nutritionist Amy Keating to pick a healthier treat from the supermarket freezer case.

Keep calories in check. Aim for roughly 100 or fewer, whether that’s a small cone or a half-serving of premium ice cream. This will help you keep added sugars and saturated fat lower, too.

Scan ingredients lists. Products with labels touting more protein, fewer calories, and less sugar often have additives or sugar substitutes, such as sorbitol or stevia. It’s better to have a smaller serving of the “real” thing.

Don’t be misled by “made with fruit juice” claims. These products may have added sugars. Plus, fruit juice is high in natural sugars, and your body processes them, liquid or frozen, in the same way it does added ones.

Get what you’re craving. If you really want chocolate, strawberry sorbet won’t satisfy; you’ll just feel deprived.

Top Blenders & Food Processors From CR's Tests

You need a high-speed blender or food processor to make some of these frozen treats. Here are a few top performers from CR’s tests.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the September 2021 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.

Sharon Liao

Sharon Liao

Sharon Liao is a writer and editor specializing in health, nutrition, and fitness. She lives in Redondo Beach, Calif.