The last few months of the summer tend to bring the hottest temperatures – and the strongest cravings for summer’s best cold treats like popsicles, ice cream sundaes, bars and cakes, creamy shakes, and decadent frappes and iced coffee drinks.
As we’re all too aware, these treats spell disaster for weight loss results and can sabotage the hard work of following a strict nutrition plan coupled with fitness center workout sessions. The good news is that you don’t have to deprive yourself completely of these sweet, cold summer treats: you just need to hack them. By making some simple changes to their ingredients, you can enjoy satisfying treats without the guilt or the calories.
Ice Cream: Creamy, Lower-Calorie Substitutions
The average ice cream is loaded with full-fat dairy. To boost the nutrition and reduce the calorie count while keeping that creamy texture, make your own ice cream in a blender using healthier substitutes. You can play it safe with Greek yogurt or almond milk, or get adventurous and try using frozen bananas or even avocado, which is loaded with heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats.
Instead of counteracting a healthier ice cream base with high-calorie mix-ins, opt for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, Stevia, and others. Instead of sugary, high-fat chocolate, add some cocoa powder or a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips. Other healthy add-ins include natural peanut or nut butters, raw nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, and fresh or dried fruit.
Popsicles: Go with 100% Fruit and Fruit Juice
Popsicles tend to be a lower-calorie option for something ice-cold and sweet, but they’re also loaded with sugar. Boost your nutrition by choosing fruit bars that are made only from fruit juice. Sure, they will still be sugary, but at least the sugars will be the natural sugars found in fruit and not the refined variety. These options will give you more vitamins (and fiber if they contain fruit chunks).
Better year, make your own popsicles at home using popsicle molds, real fruit juice, and real fruit.
Iced Drinks: Avoid the Cream & Sugar
Iced coffee drinks and shakes are another calorie-laden culprit we’re drawn to in the hotter months. Instead of ordering a calorie and sugar-bomb from a coffee shop, blend your own iced drinks at home, adding natural sweeteners and low-calorie creamers. If you need to grab something on the go, make better choices, such as a low-fat iced latte without whipped topping, caramel, or chocolate drizzle.
Instead of a shake, why not a protein-enriched smoothie? Utilize the same ingredients you might use in a healthy homemade ice cream, and throw some spinach in there while you’re at it (you won’t taste it one bit).
When the dog days of summer have you reaching for cold, sweet treats, use these hacks to avoid sabotaging your health goals and commitment to the fitness gym. Make healthier substitutions that taste amazing, and you won’t have to deprive yourself of either results or the satisfaction of a refreshing snack on a hot summer’s day.