We all know it: the happy, sing-song tune of the ice cream truck as it rolls through the neighborhood. Just like the sight of a robin is the first sign of spring, the ice cream truck song is often the first sound of summer. When we hear it, we know temperatures are rising and vacation isn’t too far away.
However, the sight of children crowding around the ice cream truck, waiting for their summer treat looks different now than it did even just a few years ago. According to a 2007 study at Indiana University and Ohio State University that surveyed the body mass indexes of 5,380 elementary school children, kids’ BMIs grew twice as rapidly over the summer months than it did over the winter months. While we know that BMI is just one indicator of healthy living, we also know that it is a good indicator of weight problems like obesity.
You’d think that kids would actually lose weight in the summer months because it is easier for them to be outside. However, kids can eat more sugary treats during the summer months when their meals may not be as regulated as they are during the school year, and they spend more time than ever being inactive while watching television or playing video games. Add to that the fact that children in low-income neighborhoods may not have safe access to parks or other outdoor spaces to play and you have a dangerous summer situation.
This is why the Food Bank for New York City has created an anti-ice cream truck with slogans on it such as “eat an orange instead of a slice of pizza” and “your body is 60% water, not 60% soda” as part of its Change One Thing campaign. The idea is that if kids replace one soda with a glass of water or one slice of pizza with a piece of fruit, they’ll be able to start making a difference.
It’s a noble effort, but how are you supposed to beat the summer heat without ice cream? Here are four ideas that will not only cool you down, but will up your intake of nutrients, as well.
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Making smoothies has never been easier, and you don’t even need fresh fruit to do it. Frozen fruit is great for making smoothies because it’s already cold so you don’t even have to add ice. Also, the possibilities are endless when it comes to fruit combinations, so you’ll never get bored. Choose a liquid like orange juice, cranberry juice, or milk and add that to the blender first. Then, pick two or three different kinds of fruit and add those. If it’s not frozen, add some ice cubes. Pour it into a cool glass or cute mason jar, add a straw, and enjoy!
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Just as easily as you can make smoothies, you can make popsicles. Add your ingredients to the blender just like you would for a smoothie, then pour them into a popsicle mold and add your popsicle stick. These are super healthy, even colder than a smoothie, and have less sugar than store-bought popsicles.
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If you are not a fan of blended fruit, or if you just want a refreshing drink, try infused water. People don’t make this often because it is a little more difficult than grabbing a soda from the fridge, but it isn’t that hard. Get a pitcher, add some fruit, fill it with water, and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. You can choose any kind of fruit you want. My favorite is cucumbers and lemon slices, but you can use berries, watermelon, kiwi — the possibilities are endless! Your water will taste like fruit and you’ll be getting some of those great vitamins and antioxidants, too.
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Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
If you love infused water, you’ll love using frozen fruit as ice cubes. Instead of ice, which is just frozen water and can water your drink down as it melts, use frozen fruit as your ice cubes. It will keep your drink cold, add some fruit flavor to your beverage, and you have a tasty treat when you’re done sipping on your drink. For an adult version of this, freeze grapes and add them to your glass of white wine.
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