Popsicles = Health Food on a Stick

As a lactose intolerant gal, ice cream and frozen yogurt are sadly off limits. Boooo! Store made sorbet and popsicles are non-dairy options, but the ingredients are full of high fructose corn syrup, food colouring and other unpleasant unhealthy additives.

Healthy girl’s solution? Make your own! Gourmet, home-made popsicles have become my newest obsession       (they kinda bring me back to those university bartending days in Montreal). You will need a blender and a popsicle mold. I love the super cute Tovolo molds and picked some up at Home Sense for $9.99!

Here are some popsicle recipes that:

A) You can feel good about consuming

B) Company will be impressed by the flavours and think you’re a bonafide Martha Stewart

C) Children will not realize are actually “healthy” and will be tricked into eating vitamin rich treats

Folks, we call that a WIN-WIN! Here are 3 recipes to try..

Strawberry-Basil Balsamic Pops

STRAWBERRY-BASIL BALSAMIC

3 cups fresh hulled or thawed frozen strawberries

2 Tbsp chopped basil

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 juiced lemon

Place strawberries in a glass or plastic bowl with basil. Top with sugar, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Toss and let marinate for 1 hour.  In blender, puree strawberry-vinegar mixture until smooth.  Mix well and pour into ice-pop molds. Insert sticks and freeze for about 8 hours. (Vinegar punches up the flavor without adding fat, while the strawberries loads these icy treats with all the vitamin C you need in a day.)

 

KEY LIME PIE POPS

2 cups sweetened vanilla almond milk

2 Tbsp sugar

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice  ( about 4 large limes)

2 teaspoons lime zest

pinch of salt

3 cups coarsely crushed graham crackers

Put the almond milk, lime juice, lime zest, and salt in a bowl and whisk. Divide the mixture between the molds, put in sticks and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. Spread the graham cracker pieces on a large plate. Remove pops and press each side into the graham crackers, coating completely. ( You can also blend the graham crackers into the liquid mixture and freeze the chunks. Dee-lish!) 

BANANA SPLIT POPS

2 ripe bananas

3 tbsp all natural peanut butter ( or almond butter)

1 cup dark chocolate almond milk

1 cup coconut milk ( Thai Kitchen brand is good!)

1/2 cup fresh finely chopped strawberries

Place the bananas, chocolate almond milk, peanut butter and coconut milk in blender and mix on high speed. Gently stir in the finely chopped strawberries. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds.  Put in the sticks and freeze until solid!

If you’re feeling extra naughty, try freezing sangria in those tasty popsicle molds for an adults-only treat!!

Healthy Snacks for the Work Day

Keeping your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to keep your metabolism revved up, your weight in check and your body healthy.

For office workers, the dreaded hunger pangs that usually happen around 10 am and 4 pm can cause desperate runs to vending machines and drive-thru windows. We’ve all been there: That oh-my-god-I-could-eat-my-arm feeling takes over and you grab whatever’s in sight. Don’t let those conference room donuts put you on a sugar roller coaster.  With some simple planning ( and the use of the office fridge or small cooler bag), those Starbucks scones and vending machine candy bars will be WAY easier to resist.

businesswoman_eating_donut_outside

Here are some energizing workday snacks that will keep your blood sugar levels steady. Your body will thank you!

1) Apples and Almond Butter: If you’re hungry, this little combo will satisfy with its mix of protein and fiber. Apples are also a rich source of flavonoids and polyphenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Choose a “raw” almond butter as roasted nuts are far more fattening ( the heat during roasting changes the properties of the nut’s fat content.)

2) Celery: Celery is a refreshing source of fiber, vitamin C and B-vitamins. It has a diuretic effect, due to its balance of the electrolytes potassium and sodium, which helps to flush out excess fluid from the body. Celery also has anti-inflammatory properties. Try it with hummus ( protein!) for a more substantial snack.

3) Avocado and Salmon salad:  This is a personal fave! Half an avocado contains 3.4 grams of fibre which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body, helping you feel full for longer. Avocados also contain oleic acid – a fat that activates the part of your brain that signals satiety. Instead of mayo, use an avocado to mush up a can of wild caught boneless salmon. Put that in a tupperware and you won’t be hungry all day! Takes 2 minutes. Feel free to add salt, pepper and tomatoes for added flavour.

4) Dried Figs: Dried figs are an amazing blood purifier and help dissolve mucus and toxins from our system. Make sure you choose brands that don’t add sugars or additives. Figs have a fairly high amount of sugar, so really limit portion size to only a few.

5) Raw Macadamia Nuts: These nuts areperfect to keep on hand in a ziplock your car, your purse and when travelling on planes ( don’t get me started on the evils of airline food!) Macadamia nuts in particular are high in palmitoleic acid, also known as omega- 7, a monounsaturated fatty acid that works to lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease. Studies show that palmitoleic acid may also effect your body’s metabolism, curbing your appetite and helping you burn fat faster!

6) Hard Boiled Eggs: The verdict is out. While egg yolks are high in cholesterol, eating the yellow yolk actually increases HDL – the heart-protective, “good” cholesterol. In fact, eggs are considered the “gold standard” for protein quality because their amino acids are the most digestible to humans. However, even though egg yolks are a healthy food, they haven’t been cleared for unlimited consumption: Mayo Clinic recommends consuming no more than four eggs per week.

So what have we learned here? All of these snacks have an almost net zero effect on the body’s glycemic index ( except the dried figs, but we only need a few to get their blood purifying benefits). When choosing snacks, go for high protein and don’t be afraid of healthy fats – fats keep you fueled up and feeling full!

Leave the rice cakes at home (High carb and low fat is so 90’s people! We’ve come a long way since then). Here’s to your snacking success!