Summertime means ice cream time and what better way to keep cool than with an ice cream snack?

The problem of course: How to make it healthy?

“Ice cream, especially store bought, is usually high in both fat and sugar,” observes Wesley Delbridge, registered dietician and nutritionist and director of food and nutrition for the Chandler (Arizona) Unified School District. “Fat and sugar put you at greater risk for weight gain, chronic diseases, and overall poor health.”

But there are alternatives.

yogurt banana split

Frozen yogurt is a more beneficial choice in regard to nutrition because you can buy it in low-fat varieties,” Delbridge says. “Yogurts are lower in sugar content and sometimes have natural probiotics that promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

“Freezing your favorite yogurt, instead of buying a frozen yogurt from the ice cream aisle, would be more beneficial as the store-bought frozen yogurts are processed and intended to taste sweet, like ice cream.”

The “king” of all ice cream treats is the sundae and the ultimate sundae is the banana split.

Whoever concocted the original banana split deserves a medal for combining all that gooey goodness in a fruity and chilled cacophony of taste. There is some debate whether the first banana split was served in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, or Wilmington, Ohio, but we’re leaning toward Latrobe and a 23-year-old aspiring druggist named David Evans Strickler.

While not to be confused with true health food, Delbridge has a way to spin Strickler’s summer treat into a snack that’s diabolically delectable and relatively guilt-free.

He suggests splitting a whole banana and topping with one cup of vanilla Greek or low-fat yogurt that has been frozen. Top it with a quarter cup of strawberries, a quarter cup of blueberries and one-third cup of granola, drizzle two tablespoons of honey and sprinkle a quarter teaspoon of cocoa powder.

At the expense of a few more calories, Delbridge offers other tips for variety. Use a bit of fruit syrup or jelly instead of honey for extra fruit flavor or add a dab or two or peanut butter. For a dairy-free version, try using frozen bananas instead of the yogurt.

healthy banana split

Natalie Monson of superhealthykids.com also suggests natural peanut butter, crushed chocolate chips, sweetened coconut, and walnuts as toppings.

If frozen yogurt is not your thing, here’s a link to some healthier homemade ice cream recipes in an array of gourmet flavors. David Evans Strickler would be proud.

Do you have a favorite ice cream snack or a twist to make your sundaes special? Please share with us and be sure to look for more Snack of the Week suggestions and information on healthy eating at Learning Liftoff’s food pages.


Featured Image – keepon i / CC by 2.0

 

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