The very best popsicles are the ones you make yourself because then you have 100% control over the ingredients. Popsicles are fast, easy and inexpensive to make, and a really delicious home-made fruity yogurt popsicle recipe is provided at the end of this article.
The popsicles you buy in your grocery store are a kind of highly processed food, and reliance on processed rather than whole, natural foods is what gets us into weight trouble. For example, the typical popsicle ingredients list includes lots of hard-to-pronounce chemicals. This is okay occasionally and in small doses, but mostly you want to avoid having too many highly processed foods with chemicals and other substances added to them. That said, we all have the need for off-the-shelf snacks once in a while, and the purpose of this article is to help you sort out the best, most readily available popsicle choices.
There are lots of low-fat/low-calorie popsicles products, but beware because the majority of these popsicles are sweetened with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. Even a little bit of sugar can trigger food cravings, turn you into a crazy person with food, and lead to a binge. For example, eating just one seemingly harmless popsicle made with sugar can turn into an out-of-control eating episode where you end up eating the whole box and more. So definitely pass on any popsicle made with sugar, no matter how tempting it might be to induldge in low-calorie or low-fat choice.
Instead, always look for the phrase "no sugar added" on the popsicle product cover. Many popsicle manufacturers have two variations of the same product -- one that's made with caloric sweeteners and one that isn't. This is why you shouldn't make a decision based on brand name alone. Always take the time to look for the sugar-free product. The next thing you want to do is take a scan of the ingredients list to see what substance or substances are used to artificially sweeten the product. My personal preference is to seek out the ones made with sucralose (splenda) and to avoid the ones made with aspartame. In my opinion, the splenda product is a less objectionable choice because there are less unwanted side-effect problems assocated with it -- especially for kids who are getting a lot of aspartame in other diet products or diet drinks.
My two "faves" are Klondike and Edy's, but I wouldn't rule out the Fudgsicle/Popsicle products, which are both made with aspartame, if that's all you can find.
1. Klondike Slima-a-Bear 100 Calorie Bars - NO SUGAR ADDED (sweetened with sucralose)
2.Edy's NO SUGAR ADDED Fruit bars (sweetened with sucralose).
3. Fudgsicle NO SUGAR ADDED (sweetened with aspartame)
4. SUGAR FREE Popsicle (sweetened with aspartame)
Karen Bentley's Recipe for Fruity Yogurt Pops
(From the Sugar-Free Miracle Diet Cookbook - Snack Collection)
2 cups plain, sugar-free Greek yogurt (low-fat is okay, but be sure there's no sugar in it. Most low-fat products are made with caloric sweeteners.)
2 cups frozen berries (mixed or dark berries are best because they have the most flavor)
1/2 cup sucralose (Splenda) or non-caloric sweetener of your choice
2 teaspoons sugar-free vanilla
Get your popsicle molds and sticks ready. Or, alternatively, use 8 four-ounce paper cups as molds with large toothpicks. Put the frozen fruit and sucralose in a food processor and process for 1 or 2 minutes until the berries have a granular consistency. Stop the processor. Add vanilla and yogurt. Process again until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved, about 1 minute. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze. Eat. Enjoy.
Karen Bentley is an award-winning fitness educator, a sugarfree eating expert, and the creator of the Sugar-Free Miracle Diet System. For more information go to www.sugarfreemiracle.com and www.karenbentley.com