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Everyone loves a cool treat on a hot summer day, but we’re also looking for ways to cut the sugar content and calories as we serve them to our families. There are lots of ways to find a happy medium in the summer frozen dessert category between those heavy, sugary and fattening treats and lower calorie, healthier choices.

Begin to think healthier as you shop and prepare treats. You can choose low fat milk, non sugar products such as puddings, low-cal ice creams and sherbets. You can choose to use sorbet rather than the heavier ice creams. Or, you might want to use yogurt as a base for a drink or popsicle rather than ice cream. The addition of frozen fruits to milk and adding a few ice cubes to a blender full of milk and fruit will produce a thickened drink much like a milkshake. Adding nuts or coconut or cereal as a coating will add some nutrition too.

Once you decide on a mixture you want to create and freeze, think of ways you can supplement the health factor. Can you add protein powder, peanut butter, or chopped fruit to the milk, ice cream or yogurt blend? Can you use real fruit juices as a popsicle base and minimize the sugar content?

Serving cups or kabobs of frozen fruit chunks is a very satisfying and fun frozen treat for both children and adults. Simply chop such tasty summer fruits as peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, bananas and kiwi, place in small paper or plastic cups or skewer carefully and freeze on waxed paper. They’re ready in no time. Another fun treat can be put together by the kids: Dip banana chunks in yogurt, roll in dry cereal and freeze. They’re bite-sized fun.

Purchasing plastic popsicle molds may be the smartest purchase you make the entire summer. There are endless blends of fruits, juices, yogurts and ice creams to freeze and dole out on hot summer afternoons. Homemade versions will be infinitely healthier than the store-bought ones. Most of them are quickly made in a blender and then poured into the molds. Here are a few recipes to get you started, then use your own creativity to blend the perfect recipe for your “children of all ages.”

Healthy Smoothie:  Blend together two bananas, one pint strawberries, 32 oz any flavor low fat ice cream, one cup peanut butter and one cup milk.

Creamy Raspberry Popsicles:  Add one cup milk to one 1 oz. package vanilla non-sugar instant pudding, add blended puree made of one cup raspberries, two cups raspberry sherbet or sorbet, and two cups low fat whipped topping. Pour into molds and freeze.

Fun Frozen Sandwiches:  Spread frozen yogurt between two graham crackers and refreeze. Easy and yummy.

Ask Granny’s feature of the week…. enjoy!