Of all the sounds that evoke summertime, none is more cherished than the oncoming jingle of an ice cream truck. If you happen to be watching your bikini bod this summer, though, trips to Mr. Softee might not be the wisest choice at snack time.
And if you’re among the estimated thirty to fifty million adults worldwide who suffer from lactose intolerance, that bowl of Ben and Jerry’s may have you sending out digestive SOS signals later on.
Once upon a time, I was one of many thousands of women (and men) who could be found lined up outside my nearest Tasti-D-Lite on summer weekends, waiting for a healthy version of everyone’s favorite summer treat. What I didn’t realize at the time is that conventional frozen yogurt often contains high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to weight gain and metabolic interference, and added lactase, which is no fun for those of us with sensitive bellies.
I also didn’t realize that there was a truly all natural frozen treat right at my fingertips: all it demanded was a touch of kitchen imagination, and a banana or two. Readers, prepare to have your mind blown.
Simply take two or three bananas (estimate one and a half per person), chop them, and throw them in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware. Place them in a freezer overnight. In the morning, place the bananas in your food processor, cover it, and turn it on.
It’ll make some frightening noise at first—that’s normal—but if you let the motor run for three minutes or so (stopping once or twice to scrape the bowl down), you ought to return to a bowl full of smooth, fluffy, and creamy “ice cream” that is nothing more than a bowl of fruit—pure and simple.
Trust me: if you’re into the Pinkberry or Red Mango, this recipe is calling your name. It’s free of preservatives or additives, free of all common allergens, including dairy, and mind-blowingly delicious.
Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which help regulate fluids (which is especially important in the summer, when we’re all prone to dehydration). It’s also inexpensive and kid friendly, which means that you can actually feel virtuous about feeding your kids ice cream as an afternoon treat.
Best of all? You won’t be sacrificing taste or pleasure in order to stay healthy.
There’s nothing more delightful than being reminded that Mother Nature provides us with simple alternatives to nearly all of our favorite indulgences. If you’ve made it this far without springing to your kitchen to freeze bananas, what are you waiting for?
Give this chilly summer treat a try, and do it with a clear conscience: This is one splurge that your body will thank you for!
Gena Hamshaw is a certified clinical nutritionist with an emphasis on plant-based nutrition. She writes about body image, green living, and a plant-based lifestyle on her popular blog, ChoosingRaw.com.