Focus on Frozen Treats

Blueberry raspberry popsicles sitting next to a bowl of fresh berries

There’s so much to do in summer, it can sometimes be hard to remember to stay hydrated. But water is critically important to our health: More than half of the human body is comprised of water, and it’s needed for critical functions like digestion.

As we go through our day, we need to replace the fluid we lose. Depending on age, body size, level of activity and weather, young kids need about five cups of water each day, and adults need eight or more.

With a bit of planning, it’s easy to whip up cool summer treats to keep us healthy, happy and hydrated. We talked with three experts, dietitians Alison Precourt at The University of Vermont Medical Center and Anne McIlhenny at UVM Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, New York, and Leah Pryor, executive chef and co-founder of the UVM Medical Center Culinary Medicine Program.

1. Make Popsicles: Bliss on a Stick

Almost anything is popsicle-able, and kids and adults alike love popsicles. All you need is a blender, plastic molds and a few hours to allow for freezing.

  1. Select a base liquid like milk, juice, yogurt or even herbal tea.
  2. Blend in fruit like berries, peaches or watermelon.
  3. Elevate your pop with lime zest, coconut, vanill, or a touch of basil or ginger.
  4. When you’re ready to pour your pops, try embedding an edible flower like nasturtium, marigold or violet into the mold. Popsicles may be small, but they can pack a powerhouse of nutrients.

2. Try a Smoothie: Think Outside the Pops

Can’t wait for your bliss-on-a-stick to freeze? Have a frosty fruit milkshake instead! As with popsicles, any form of liquid can be the base for a smoothie recipe. Fruit adds sweetness and fiber, and natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey pair well. Or, try skipping the sweetener and adding a few chocolate chips instead! Blending frozen fruit with liquid results in a thicker smoothie. Experiment with adjusting the ratio of liquid to frozen fruit – with less liquid and more fruit, you can even create your own sorbet or sherbet!

3. Be as Cool as a Cucumber: Everyday Dishes Containing Water

Everyday foods can also contain a great deal of water. Cucumbers are 95% water; tomatoes, celery and baby greens are also quite hydrating. Build your own flavor profile with crunchy combos and a yogurt and herb dip, or create your own hydrating salads; dress them with a pinch of salt, spice and lemon juice or vinegar.

The best way to identify fruit with high water content is to think about how messy it is to eat! Watermelon, melons and citrus are examples of hydrating fruits that make a great fruit salad. Sneak in extra liquids with ice cream, gelatin dessert and cold soups, all of which turn into liquid in your body.

4. Enjoy a Healthy Mocktail

Making mocktails can be fun for kids as well as adults. Pure frozen watermelon, limes and sugar make a virgin granita where the flavor really pops. Citrus juice and herbal tea may be blended with frozen fruit or ice – garnish with mint or strawberry slices! Kombucha, a fermented tea, is another great base for mocktails. There are many locally made varieties and interesting flavors of kombucha. Try thinning kombucha with seltzer before adding other flavors (and remember that kombucha is bubbly so it doesn’t freeze or whip).

5. Try These Meal Prep Hacks

All three of our experts agree that keeping frozen fruit in the freezer is the best way to make sure you’re ready to make popsicle and smoothie recipes. If you’re going out for the day, try flushing a simple thermos with ice or cold water before loading it up with frozen treats to go. Frozen fruit also doubles as pearls of ice – pack frozen fruit in a thermos with fresh fruit like orange sections or watermelon chunks and you’re chillin’!

Frozen treats keep us cool and hydrated. When we give our bodies enough fluids, life is easier. Easy summer living? We’ll take it.

These popsicle and smoothie recipes courtesy of Leah Pryor, Executive Chef and Co-Founder of UVM Medical Center’s Culinary Medicine Program.

Carrot Cantaloupe Smoothie or Popsicles

Servings: 4 smoothies or 6 popsicles.


  • 1 cup frozen carrots
  • 1 cup frozen cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes


  1. Place all ingredients into blender, and pulse to incorporate ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Drink immediately, or pour into popsicle molds.

Hibiscus Cooler

Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons hibiscus
  • 2 tablespoons nettles
  • 1 pinch lemon verbena
  • Lime juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup


  1. Add hibiscus, nettles and lemon verbena to 1 quart of just-boiled water.
  2. Brew for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  3. Add a squeeze of lime juice, a pinch of salt and maple syrup.
  4. Serve cold.

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