Photos courtesy of Katy Wilkens.
Yummy banana pops.

You Are What You Eat: Frozen fruits! Icy treats for summer weather

By Katy Wilkens, MS, RD

Frosty treats can make you feel cool on hot days. Frozen pops and sorbets are fruit-filled ways to cool off. Most need little if any added sugar, so they’re healthy and delicious.

You can buy molds or make your own using paper cups. Fill a 3-ounce paper cup, cover it with foil and poke a plastic spoon or wooden stick through the foil. You can also buy reusable plastic tubes and make your own pops.

Sorbets can be served at the start of a meal or between courses and are great along with barbecued meat on a warm summer evening. You don’t need a fancy ice cream maker, just a flat pan or ice cube tray without dividers. The secret is to stir the ingredients while they are freezing for that sorbet-like texture.

Chocolate banana pops
4 bananas, peeled and halved
2 cups melted dark chocolate chips or one package hard chocolate shell covering
2 tablespoons peanut butter or Nutella
Chopped nuts
Wooden Popsicle sticks

Peel and halve bananas. Cover plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Push sticks into each banana half. Mix chocolate and peanut butter in bowl, microwave at half power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted, stirring each time. Use a low microwave setting and don’t overcook the chocolate — it burns easily.

Dip banana into melted mixture. Use a spoon if needed to spread the coating over the banana. Sprinkle right away with chopped nuts. Chill at least half an hour before serving.

Nutrition information:
Calories: 306, Carbohydrates: 44 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Sodium: 33 mg

Watermelon or melon ice pops
3 cups watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melon
1 cup coconut water
1 fresh lime, zested and juiced
¼ cup sugar (optional)

Puree melon in food processor or blender. Mix with coconut water, lime juice and zest. Pour into molds or small paper cups with wooden sticks or plastic spoons inserted. Let chill at least 4 hours, and then wrap in plastic. Pops will last about three weeks frozen and unmolded.

Nutrition information:
With sugar: Calories: 64, Carbohydrates: 16 grams, Protein: 1 grams, Sodium: 12 mg
Without sugar: Calories: 32, Carbohydrates: 8 grams, Protein: 1 grams, Sodium: 12 mg

Easy watermelon sorbet

4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon or lime juice
Lime or lemon zest

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small pan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Add lime/lemon zest and juice. Puree watermelon. Mix with sugar mixture. Put in flat tray or ice cube tray without dividers.

Puree watermelon (in batches) and place in large bowl. Add water/sugar/lemon mixture to the watermelon puree and mix well.

Pour mixture into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Scrape with a fork, and then refreeze another hour. Scrape again and freeze one more hour; scrape and serve. Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information:
Calories: 100, Carbohydrates: 26 grams, Protein: 1 gram Sodium: 1 mg

Nectarine and mint sorbet

¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water
Large handful of fresh mint leaves
2 large nectarines, sliced
1 egg white or 1 tablespoon gin or rum

Put sugar, water and mint in a saucepan and heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool. Puree nectarines.

Add cooled mint syrup to fruit puree and blend. Add a whisked egg white to keep it from getting too icy in texture; or add alcohol to do the same thing. Pour mixture into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Scrape with a fork, and then refreeze another hour. Scrape again and freeze one more hour; scrape and serve. Makes 2-3 servings.

Nutrition information:
Calories: 246, Carbohydrates: 61 grams, Protein: 2 grams, Sodium: 21 mg

The recipes in this column are meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at]

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