Better options for ice cream
A few weeks into the summer holidays and I wonder how Horseshoe Bay is faring? I say that because there's approximately two tonnes of sand in my car. If everyone else is the same, is there any sand left on the beach?
I don't really understand how it happens, I brush and rinse them off before they get in, I put towels down, I've contemplated putting them on the roof … Ah well, who needs a perfect car anyway? So long as it's cockroach-free (who remembers that column?) then I don't really mind.
I love summer, even if the heat does get a little crazy. I also love the food that comes with it!
So much of summer eating is healthy. Lots of salads, easy BBQs, sides packed with brightly coloured vegetables.
But it's also the time that lots of sweet treats creep in. Cold sugary drinks, Popsicles, ice cream …. they're all harder to avoid when the sun's out!
No one needs a lecture on why sugar is bad for them. We all know that excess sugar consumption increases visceral fat and stresses your insulin response. But we might need a reminder about just how easy it is to overdo it.
Small children should have less than five teaspoons of sugar a day. Older children less than six. Adults less than seven.
That might sound like a lot, but one single serving of strawberry yoghurt can deliver six teaspoons in one hit!
How can you tell? Check the “sugars” content on the label — 4g of “sugars” amounts to approximately one teaspoon. Look at portion sizes to make sure you're doing the math accurately!
To help you have a sweet but less sugary summer, here are some of my best tips below. It's easier than you think to make healthier decisions and there are some amazing brands out there now that will help.
• Frozen fruit
This is a non-stop favourite in our house. Try frozen banana slices — go wild and dip them in a little melted dark chocolate, then pop them back in the freezer. You can dip them in sprinkles or chopped nuts too for some extra fun.
My kids love frozen grapes but if you have small kids, chop them up first and supervise them as they can be a choking hazard. Slices of watermelon on Popsicles sticks (frozen) are also amazing and don't melt. No ice cream of juice running down their arms, yay!
• Flavoured water
Please try and skip any flavoured water with artificial colours, sweeteners or sugar alcohols. The best brands of naturally flavoured sparking water seem to be Perrier, La Croix and Waterloo.
They have some amazing options. (Grown-ups: they're also good mixers for vodka or gin FYI!) If that won't fly with your kids, try the Zevia sodas (available at Miles). They're sweetened with stevia only (so nothing artificial). They do have a “diet” taste, but none of the bitter aftertaste that sometimes comes along with stevia.
• Better ice cream
Ice cream is often lower in sugar than sorbet or sherbet, but higher in fat. If you go with a dairy option, then try and buy organic. The cashew milk options have some of the lowest sugar numbers I have seen.
However, Ben & Jerry's almond milk options are sky-high! So, keep your wits about you. The best way to handle this is to pop one scoop in a ramekin or in a cone, then it doesn't feel like a mean portion!
Miles have So Delicious almond or coconut milk ice cream sandwiches at the moment which are amazing because the portion size is nice and tiny. Just enough to be a treat though!
• Better ice pops
The problem with ice pops is that they are all sugar, so again portion size is key. I often buy the Motts juice pops (all juice, no dyes) but then just cut them in half for the kids.
Most British brands will be dye-free (as the laws are different there) but watch out for artificial dyes in American brands.
Avoid things like Yellow 5/6, Blue 1 and Red 40 which are all linked to hyperactivity. Red 40 is linked to tumour growth in lab rats and dyes in general often trigger headaches and irritability in both kids and adults.
Miles carries a great brand called Good Pops which are dye-free and smaller on the portion size. If you spot Ruby Rockets, scoop them up because they're like gold dust!
However, note that because they are all fruit and vegetables, kids who have already developed a very sweet tooth might not love them. For this reason they tend to go down best with toddlers and smaller kids.
• Go homemade!
The Chef Shop carries some amazing Popsicle moulds. We often just whiz up fruit and organic Greek yoghurt in a blender at home (sometimes a dash of honey) which works great.
My friend Emily (who's working on the Cooking in Reverse project with me) just made some amazing strawberry Popsicles. I'll pop those on social media over the weekend so make sure you check out Facebook!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram