The following post is a guest post from Breana! Enjoy!
Summer is a time of abandon. Kids run wild day and night, riding bikes, having water-balloon fights, frequenting the public pool, and generally running amok. And families enjoy the warm weather with cookouts and parties throughout the long summer months. Unfortunately, the bountiful foods we use to celebrate summer (fresh fruits and veggies, potato salad and pie, sodas, chips, burgers, etc.) can do a fair amount of damage to both wallet and waistline. But don’t despair! You can keep your diet and your budget on track with simple summer treats and a do-it-yourself attitude. Here are a few you can try without fuss.
- Popsicles. They’re both easy and delicious. You don’t need any special equipment (ice cube trays or small paper cups with toothpicks or popsicle sticks will do the trick), although you can certainly look online or in local discount stores for freezer-safe popsicle trays or novelty ice cube trays. Then you just add fruit or vegetable juice (choose light juices for less sugar), lemonade, or iced tea.
- Smoothie pops. While they are a little more work, these tasty treats are well worth the effort. You can go super healthy by using fruit, juice, and ice, or add in some soymilk or yogurt to make it creamy. So blend up your favorite smoothie and freeze it like a popsicle for a healthy, creamy treat filled with all the fruit you love.
- Fudgesicles. If what you crave is chocolate, but you’re worried about the calorie count of the frozen options at the store, you can make your own healthier pops by picking up a pack of sugar-free pudding mix. Just whip it up (with some skim milk), pour it into trays, and freeze it up. It’s just as good as store-bought, only less expensive and lighter on the hips.
- Frozen fruit. This one is really easy. Just get some fresh berries, or cut up freezer-friendly fruits like bananas, mango, and papaya, stick in some toothpicks, and freeze. As for cutting the cost on fresh fruit (which can get a bit pricey), check out the delicious offerings at your local farmers market. They often have a better price than the market anyway, but if you buy a lot, you can usually haggle. Then eat as is, or dip your frozen fruit in chocolate or caramel sauce (you can usually find light options), or even yogurt or honey.
- Ice cream. Okay, this is not the healthiest option out there. It does, after all, require the use of cream (skim milk just won’t give you the right consistency). But if you’re going to buy it anyway, you might as well save a little money and make your own. It’s easier than you think (and it’s a great way to tear the kids away from the one-eyed nanny for a little while). As for equipment, all you need is a large and a small ziplock bag (large for ice and rock salt, small for ice cream mixture). So look online for one of the many DIY ice cream recipes (you might even find some healthier options).
Breana Orland is a writer for College Grants. Breana also gives advice on the pursuit of higher education and career options for young adults.