Nothing makes my heart sink faster than the distant music of the ice cream truck, slowly making its way from the front of our neighborhood to my street. It’s not because of the psychotic clown music or even because one of the trucks plays Christmas music. Over and over again. It’s also not because I’ve watched a lot of crime television and believe all ice cream truck drivers have, um, duct tape and rope in their coolers. Although that has much to do with it.
It’s really because, even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the goods sold out of that ice cream truck are petroleum and thus toxic to every person who ingests them, I’m still the mom who says “no” each and every time to the ice cream truck. (Thank the Lord one of my neighbors has jumped aboard the synthetic dye-free train. I love to be able to say, “See. Those kids aren’t eating food dye either! We want to feed our bodies healthy treats.”
My kids have moved past the wistful stare and weak hand wave – mostly because they know I keep our freezer stocked with dye-free deliciousness. Sure, it’s not exactly the same as buying dye-filled corn syrup and hormone-filled dairy off a rusting musical truck stocked with possible weapons – but it can be!
Typically our stash includes homemade juice pops in molds; we love any 100% strongly flavored juice such as Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Limeade or Strawberry Kiwi or Blackberry Splash. If you don’t have molds, you can use ice cube trays. Kids love little frozen squares of fun! I have also had the kids try push up pops by Whole Fruit (available in bulk at the warehouse store BJs if you have it) and some ice pops by The Power of Fruit brand (which I can find at our local chain supermarket Publix). All that said, this year I’m thinking about trying out some homemade frozen treats. Here are a couple contenders if I actually decide to create something more than what gets poured out of a juice bottle.
All Natural, No Dye, Rainbow Snow Cones!
This post from the website Super Healthy Kids is super colorful and super cute. Made with store bought snow cone cups, these look like the “real” things (the real things being, ironically, almost completely fake). If you think your kids won’t go for using fruit and vegetable juices, just make the juices when they’re out of sight. No kid will be able to resist squeezing out their own colorful creations once that squeeze bottle calls his name!
This idea comes from a website called iLunchBox, which I hadn’t heard of until I started my dye-free frozen dessert hunt. Sounds delicious – and the site is full of really helpful “here’s how to be healthier” tips. Best of all, the site was founded by a fed up mom who wanted easier and better school lunch options for her four children.
What you’ll need for the pops: Watermelon, lime, mint, agave syrup or honey if needed. Mix it in a blender until reduced to liquid. Pour into molds and freeze. iLunchBox suggests substituting any favorite very ripe melon; use lemon or orange juice instead of lime to change things up.
For more ideas visit http://ilunchbox.com.
Ice Pop Molds
Often found at big box and drugstores during the summer months, ice pop molds can somehow be tough to find if you’re actually on a mission to buy them. A quick Google search will bring up several cool options from about 10 to 20 bucks. Be sure to include “BPA free” in your search terms.
So, if you beat me to it, please let me know how your homemade dye-free frozen treats turn out. Or if you have a recipe you want to share with the Mamas, we’d love to see that, too.
Blast some super annoying music from your garage while the kids eat their homemade treats and no one will feel like they’re missing anything – except maybe some petroleum!
Brooke Bernard is filled with both happy anticipation and overwhelming anxiety about entertaining her children for 8 straight weeks this summer. She’s researching “adult” ice pop recipes, too.