Healthy summer swap out popsicle on white platter.

5 Healthy Summer Swap Outs + Recipes

Healthy Summer Swap Outs

Everyone likes to indulge just a little bit in the summer months. How can you not though? Backyard BBQs and warm nights around the campfire are always accompanied by delicious food.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but…Tasty summer snacks are a haven for health-hazardous ingredients. So how do you still enjoy the treats of summer without compromising your (or your kids’) health?

First, let’s quickly list a few common ingredients to steer clear of:

  • Sugar: The average Canadian child consumes 33 teaspoons of sugar a day. Sugar is linked to obesity, behavioural issues, learning difficulties, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and impairs brain function.
  • Artificial flavour: proprietary chemical formulas owned by flavour companies. The ingredients under the term ‘artificial flavour’ do not have to be disclosed. Can cause allergic reactions, fatigue, headaches, depression, brain damage, and chest pain.
  • Artificial colouring: synthetic chemicals derived from tar or petroleum. Increases risk of certain types of cancer and linked to learning disabilities.
  • Artificial sweetener: strong link to dementia (including Alzheimer’s), stroke, and obesity.
  • Additives/preservatives: over 10,000 approved for use in food. Many have been linked to serious health problems – including hormone disruption and cancer.

Instead of…

Now that we know some key ingredients to watch out for, let’s break down some of summer’s favourite treats (and what we can have instead).

1. Ice Cream

Contains conventional dairy, refined sugar, additives, artificial flavours, and/or artificial colours.

Try coconut milk based ice cream that’s sweetened with honey OR make your own!

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2x 400mL cans of coconut cream (BPA-free can – I use this brand)
  • ½ cup raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt
  1. Chill cans of coconut cream for 12 hours.
  2. If using an ice cream maker, follow directions from the manufacturer and disregard following instructions.
  3. If using a blender, add all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour in to an ice cube tray and freeze.
  5. Pop the frozen ice cream cubes in to a high-speed blender until smooth (I use a Vitamix).
  6. Eat immediately or scoop into a loaf pan to freeze.
  7. Will keep in freezer for about 2 weeks – just remember to let it thaw at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

2. Popsicles and Freezies

Contains sugar, artificial colour, artificial flavour, and/or preservatives.

Organic fruit puree based with no added sugar OR make your own!

Tropical Freezie Pops

  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • ½ cup 100% pure pineapple juice
  • ½ carrot juice
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pour into popsicle or freezie molds.

3. Hot Dogs and Frozen Hamburgers

Contains sugar, artificial flavour, artificial colour, and/or additives/preservatives + potential allergens like gluten, dairy, and soy.

Local chicken sausage or homemade burger (try my recipe for The Best Veggie Burger Ever!)

Hearty Homemade Bison Burger

  • 1 lb pasture-raised bison or beef, ground
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  1. Add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with clean hands until well combined.
  2. OR add all ingredients to your food processor and mix until well combined.
  3. Form into 4 patties and cook as usual.

4. Summer Party Drinks (like Mojito, Daiquiri, Margarita, and Sangria mixes)

Contains sugar, artificial sweetener, artificial colouring, artificial flavouring, and/or additives/preservatives.

Refreshing Summer Sangria (Non-Alcoholic or Alcohol version)

  • 1x 750mL bottle of natural mineral water
  • 1 cup 100% pure pomegranate or cranberry juice
  • 1 cup 100% pure pineapple juice
  • ½ cup organic fruit of choice (berries and citrus are great!)
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1x 750mL bottle organic red or white wine (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or drink dispenser. Enjoy!

5. Sports Beverages

Contains artificial flavours, artificial colours, and/or artificial sweetener + sugar which DEHYDRATES your body (yes the opposite of what it’s supposed to do).

Fun fact:

  • 1x 591mL bottle Gatorade = 34 g or 8.5 tsp sugar
  • 1x 710 mL bottle Powerade = 40 g or 10 tsp sugar

Homemade Electrolyte Drink

  • 4 cups filtered water or coconut water
  • 1/8/-1/4 cup organic lemon juice (depending on desired tartness)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup organic lime juice (depending on desired tartness)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, coconut syrup, or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp unrefined salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher or mason jar.
  2. Stir or shake well to combine.

When you start to really read and understand, the ingredients in the food you and your family eat, it can be scary. Choosing real, wholesome and unprocessed food is the safest bet. Do you have a fun and healthy summer recipe alternative? Comment below. I’d love to hear it!

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