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Healthier Summer Treats for Kids

Updated on March 26, 2019
Kristina Hearn profile image

Kristina is a caregiver to two children, and a volunteer. She enjoys writing, cooking, green living, gardening, & sharing experiences!


When it's 90-some degrees at the start of a hot Iowa summer, I feel like I'm melting. The temperature could always be worse (hello relatives in Kansas!) but mid-nineties is hot enough for me. My kids and I make some attempts to cool off, like playing around at the splash pad, but it's still just so hot, hot, hot. It gets me thinking about chilly treat ideas to help beat the heat (and if the treats are healthier than a hot fudge sundae, that's a double win). Believe me, my kids don't need any more energy from loads of sugar...they have enough already!

When I asked my mom to describe her favorite childhood summertime treats, she reminisced about going for ice cream at the Tastee Freeze with her family. I also went there as a child, and it's so nostalgic to hear it mentioned again (note to self: must bring my kids there!) Another favorite of hers (and mine too!) are banana splits, a classic summer dessert. Bananas, cherries, fudge, pineapple, and whipped cream; what's not to love? I'm a total fan of classic summer treats like ice cream and popsicles, but here are five additional suggestions for cool treats with a healthier spin!

1. Banana Ice Cream

Bananas can be a surprising substitute for real ice cream! We were gifted a Yonanas Banana Ice Cream Maker, but you can still easily make banana ice cream without the machine. Simply peel a banana and freeze it. Then when you're ready for a treat, take it out and simply let it thaw until you're able to mash it with a fork (but it should still be cold and slightly frozen). Yum! Just remember to peel the banana before you freeze it. I made this mistake once and it was a mess to try to peel the banana while frozen. My kids currently think banana ice cream is the same as real ice cream, but I know they will catch on to me someday!


2. Paletas

According to the Paleta Girls website, "Paletas are Mexican fresh-fruit ices, traditionally made with all natural ingredients." There are a large variety of paleta recipes on the internet. Last summer, I made cucumber paletas for my kids. I had so many cucumbers harvested from my garden and needed ways to use them (even after giving a bunch away!) I came across a pineapple, cucumber, and lime paleta recipe, and we made them everyday until the cucumbers were gone. If cucumbers aren't your thing, no worries! There are many, many different combinations of fresh fruit paletas that you can discover and try.


3. Healthy "Orange Julius"

I love a real Orange Julius, but know they are loaded with sugar. Check out this recipe for a healthier alternative, shared from the blog Happy Go Lucky.

Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie

This drink is so refreshing, and a great pick-me-up in the late afternoon when the heat has you dragging!

Freepik | Source

4. Watermelon Slices

To me, nothing says summer like a big, juicy, watermelon! Biting into a slice, feeling the juice drip through your fingers, and tasting the cold, refreshing sweet flavor just reminds me of picnics, lightning bugs, and fireworks. It just screams summertime! Don't just enjoy this treat sporadically at picnics and BBQ's. Pull the watermelon slices out of the fridge anytime you want a nice cool treat. My kids love it! I know some people who love their watermelon with salt, but we just stick with the unsalted version.

Freepik | Source

5. Ice Milk

Ice milk is a nice alternative to ice cream. For several summers, my mother has been making ice milk in her ice cream machine. It's much lighter and not creamy like ice cream, but it has a delicious vanilla flavor and it's a perfect way to cool off. Here's a recipe, via that has directions on making ice milk with or without an ice cream machine.

Simple Vanilla Ice Milk

I would decrease the amount of sugar in this recipe because I don't like it overly sweet, but according to the reviews, many people like it as is!

What are your favorite healthier summertime treats? What is your favorite summer treat from your childhood? I always need new ideas for my kids and would love to hear yours! Happy snacking, and stay cool!


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    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      14 months ago from Iowa

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Mitara! I hope you enjoy!

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      15 months ago from South Africa

      These are such lovely ideas, will definitely be trying it all

      Thank you for sharing

    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      3 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for your comment! If you decide to make some, I hope they like them. They are so refreshing! And thinking about them, i'm getting thirsty too! :)

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      3 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      The paletas recipe is making me SO thirsty! My kids love cucumber, I wonder what they would think of this.

    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      3 years ago from Iowa

      Awesome! Thank you for reading and for your comment!

    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      3 years ago from Iowa

      It sure tastes like the real thing! Thanks for your comment!

    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      3 years ago from Iowa

      I agree! I do like dipped cones as well and never think to get one. Frozen blueberries and cherries sound amazing!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      My favorite is a vanilla ice-cream cone, double dipped in chocolate, or a plain old vanilla malt. Anything is good with chocolate and caramel and nuts. But for a healthier choice,I love frozen blueberries and cherries.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Even I think that banana ice cream is real ice cream. I'm sure that all these treats are delicious. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Jason mackenzie profile image

      Jason Mackenzie 

      4 years ago from Perth WA 6000

      Yummy! I would make these for my kiddos! Thanks for sharing this article :)

    • Kristina Hearn profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristina Hearn 

      4 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks Dani! I agree, frozen grapes are great!

    • profile image

      Dani Sikes 

      4 years ago

      I love frozen grapes! Such a healthy cold treat for a hot day.

      Thanks for the ideas, Nina! Great ideas :)


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