During a period of scorching weather, it’s tempting to run straight to the nearest corner shop – or your own freezer – in search of a chocolate covered cone or tub of your favourite ice cream to cool you down.
There’s no denying ice creams and fruit-flavoured lollies are refreshing, but if you’re not careful it’s easy to over-indulge in these treats, which can be very high in sugar or fat (or both).
It’s better to munch and sip your way through the day with icy drinks and nutritious snacks, so here are six healthier alternatives to ice cream that will quench your thirst and help you cool down.
1. Homemade ice lollies
Shop-bought ice lollies tend to packed with refined sugar and sometimes E numbers, but you can make your own delicious and nutritious versions at home using fruit, yoghurt and sugar-free flavourings. All you need is a set of reusable moulds and a freezer – and kids will love them too.
It’s fun to experiment with combinations of chopped or blended fruit. How about mango, banana and orange with a splash of lime? Or mixed berries and yoghurt for a creamy concoction?
For a super low-calorie version, steep a couple of raspberry tea bags in boiling water, leave to cool, then freeze for at lest four hours or overnight.
2. Frozen fruit
Whether you freeze your own or buy ready-made bags from the supermarket, frozen fruit comes in very handy during a heatweave.
Add a handful of berries to your breakfast cereal, use strawberries as ice cubes (and munch them after to add to your five-a-day) or freeze slices of melon with a wooden stick inserted to create your own real fruit ice pops.
3. Crunchy salads
Can’t bear the thought of going anywhere near an oven right now? Then it’s time to get creative with satisfying salads.
A viral sensation on TikTok, the green goddess salad (iamafoodblog.com) uses a combination of crunch cabbage, cucumber, spring onions and chives with a delicious tangy dressing.
To beef up a chopped salad for dinner, try adding pulses like chickpeas or kidney beans, or low-GI grains like quinoa.
4. Veggie snacks
Slices of veggies like cucumber, carrot and celery – or crudités, to give them their posh culinary name – are perfect for grazing (and taking your mind off the sweltering temperature).
Chop up a big batch and keep them in the fridge ready for whenever you feel peckish. For something a bit heartier, dip into hummus or yoghurt sprinkled with seeds – both are a good source of protein and vitamins.
Originating in Spain, Gazpacho is a delicious soup served cold with croutons and and diced vegetables. A classic version is often tomatoes, pepper, red onion, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar and – importantly- leftover white bread, blitzed up like a soup and chilled.
Or try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe (gordonramsay.com), which uses Gazpacho ice cubes to keep the soup extra cold while you eat it.
Another great way to use frozen fruit is to whip up a super-cool and healthy smoothie.
Tropical fruits like kiwi, mango and pineapple blended with ice cubes will create a light, refreshing drink, while adding banana, yoghurt or avocado makes a more filling smoothie, ideal for fuelling your mornings.
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