Foods to Keep You Cool

A few tasty treats to keep you away from the Haagen Dazs

By Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I always start the season excited about warmer weather, longer days, backyard barbecues, and trips to the beach. Then, I go for my first long run in the 80 degree humidity and promptly declare that I hate the summer.

This native New Englander can’t handle the heat, but I do my best to beat it with tasty frozen treats. And, after all that sweating, they’re pretty easy to justify. Right? Maybe not.

A pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food has 1120 calories. Other flavors and brands can be even worse. (Admit it, you’ve eaten a whole pint at least once and scoffed at the label that indicates the container actually has 4 servings). Depending on your size and speed, that could be about the equivalent of a 10 mile run! Those ice cream cones the size of your head that they scoop up at your local dairy stand probably don’t come in much shy of 600 calories. Again, that’s a lot of miles!

So, save your ice cream for special occasions and lean towards these tasty frozen treats after any run. They are cold, sweet, refreshing, and don’t undo your hard work on the roads.

frozen bananaFrozen bananas: What runner doesn’t love bananas? Peel ‘em, cut them in half, insert a Popsicle stick into the end of each half and freeze flat in the freezer. They’ll be frozen through in about 2 hours. Delicious! For an added indulgence, melt some dark chocolate and coat your banana pop. Lay it flat on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, then freeze. Even more delicious, and a single serving (1/2 a banana coated with dark chocolate, won’t top 120 calories).

Frozen fruit kabobs: We all love melon in the summer, but who has the energy for chopping it up after a long run in the heat? Use a recovery day to chop a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and any other melons you desire into bite size chunks. Arrange the chunks on wooden skewers in any order you choose. Lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. They’ll be frozen solid in 2 hours. At that point you can take them off the cookie sheet and store in large Ziploc bags to save room in your freezer. These are great grab and go frozen treats any day of the week. Mix grapes or hulled strawberries onto your kabobs for some added variety.

Homemade popsicles: Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Pour it into popsicle molds and freeze; it will make as delicious a popsicle as it does a smoothie. If you don’t have a smoothie recipe you already love, try this. Add 2 bananas, 1 cup of berries, 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt, and a tablespoon or two of honey to your blender and blend away. Once smooth, pour into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for about 3 hours. This recipe gives you some protein from the yogurt and some antioxidants from the berries, so it’s nutritious and delicious. Enjoy!

Skip trolling the frozen desserts aisle of your grocery store this summer. Save your waist and your wallet by shopping in the produce and dairy sections to whip up some tasty frozen treats of your own.

Kathy Ireland is The Level’s resident nutritionist. You should listen to her advice. This was originally published in the July/August 2013 issue of Level Renner, available as a free download now. Get your free subscription today if you haven’t already!

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