No matter the time of year, ice cream always makes for a great treat. But when it’s sizzling outside during the summer, ice cream is pretty much necessary.
The great news for families that lead an organic and holistic lifestyle is that there are plenty of alternatives to the giant tubs of ice cream at the grocery store—which are chock-full of unhealthy additives like sugar and heavy cream.
If you’ve been searching for a new summer activity to do with the kids, nothing beats making your very own ice cream at home. With so many fun toppings lying around the house (like pecans, pistachios, coconut flakes, berries, and more), your family can get creative and make a treat that’s completely guilt-free.
Here are three healthy make-your-own ice cream recipes that you can do at home:
Ice Cream in a Bag
If you want to create ice cream that’s as close to the store-bought kind as possible, you can maintain the flavors and texture that you like by making your own in a bag. That’s right—no ice-cream maker needed!
In a small resealable plastic bag, combine one cup of half-and-half, two tablespoons of granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. (If you can, make sure all of these ingredients are organic!) Let out any excess air and seal the bag.
In a larger resealable plastic bag, combine three cups of ice and ⅓ cup of salt. Place the small bag inside of the larger one, and shake it vigorously for seven to 10 minutes, until the cream has hardened into ice cream—and voila!
That’s all it takes to make ice cream in a bag. All you have to do after it has hardened is transfer it into a bowl, decorate with fun toppings, and enjoy!
Banana 'Nice' Cream
If you’re vegan or have any special dietary restrictions in the house, making banana ‘nice’ cream is a dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan alternative that’s almost too good to be true. That’s why it’s called ‘nice’ cream instead of ice cream—the ingredients are nice to your body and health, meaning you can eat as much of this as you want!
Freeze one banana overnight (or multiple if you’re making enough for the whole family.) Place one frozen banana in a strong blender, add a few cubes of ice, and add ½ cup of your favorite non-dairy milk. Combine one teaspoon of cacao powder and add a dash of honey or organic maple syrup for extra sweetness.
Blend all of these ingredients together until the ‘nice’ cream forms! Lift the top of the blender and give the mixture a little stir to incorporate all of the ingredients, repeating as often as necessary.
The consistency should be creamy (like an acai bowl) but not a liquid. Top with nuts, peanut butter, sprinkles, or any other decoration. You won’t even be able to tell it’s just a banana!
Homemade Fruity Ice Cream
Another ice cream you can make from fruits that is healthy and all-natural is homemade fruity ice cream. This is the perfect healthy dessert that you can put together with the kids in five minutes without needing an ice-cream maker. (Plus the time it takes to freeze!) It’ll satisfy your family’s sweet tooth (and summer ice cream craving) without the bad stuff.
Blend one pint of whipping cream, one cup of oats, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Add in one cup of frozen fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. As above, lift the top of the blender to stir the mixture and mesh all of the ingredients.
Place the mixture in the freezer and let it firm up until the consistency meets your liking. Then, you can top if off with seeds, nuts, or more fruit and dig into your healthy treat.
Adopting an organic lifestyle presents a great example for your kids, so why not teach them a more health-minded approach to satisfying a summer craving for ice cream?