Over the years I’ve discovered there are very few things I can’t safely pack for my son’s lunch.
Cool sushi? No problem. Hot pasta? Easy. Even chilly ice cream isn’t all that hard.
I can pack anything, that is, with one exception. Frozen pops. I just haven’t found a way to pack them without also needing to pack a straw so my son can slurp them up by lunch.
The difference between pops and ice cream? It’s all in the thermos.
When I’ve packed ice cream (OK, not really ice cream, but a pureed-frozen-fruit-soft-serve-ice-cream-like product), I pop the empty thermos into the freezer for at least an hour. Then I add the “ice cream” and pack it with an ice pack wedged up against the side. By lunch? Still chilled ice cream.
Frozen pops just don’t work that way. Which is too bad, because they can be a great way to turn healthy snacks into tempting treats for kids.
And that is the beauty of summer vacation. More lunches are had at home. And that means healthy frozen pops can make their way onto the menu.
I have two rules when it comes to making frozen pops for my son. First, I don’t get fancy. Whatever fruits and juices are on-hand will be delicious.
Second, I don’t spend a lot of money. I have a bunch of dollar store pop molds. You can spend more on fancy ones, but why? The kids don’t care.
Aside from pop molds, the only equipment you need is a blender. Add a mix of solid fruit and liquids, then puree until smooth. Pour into the molds, freeze and be happy.
So where to start? Here are 10 of my favorite combinations. You’ll notice that bananas make frequent appearances. That’s because they give the frozen pops a great, smooth texture.
1. Leftover fruit salad. Seriously. Don’t overthink this. Whatever is left, dump it and the juices into the blender and puree. It will be delicious.
2. Banana, pineapple chunks and coconut milk. Pina colada for kids, anyone?
3. Raspberries, banana, cocoa powder and a touch of honey.
4. Banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, a splash of milk and a touch of honey. That’s right… A peanut butter cup on a stick.
5. Cherries, bananas, a dash of vanilla extract and a super-tiny pinch of salt.
6. Applesauce and raspberries. This is OMG good. And it’s even better with cocoa powder.
7. Mango, peach juice and orange segments.
8. Kiwis, bananas and strawberries.
9. Watermelon, lemon juice and honey.
10. Grapes, grape juice and banana.