How to Choose Healthy Frozen Snacks and Desserts

Three Parts:Purchasing Healthier Frozen Treats from the StoreMaking Healthier Frozen Desserts at HomePreparing Nutritious Frozen Dessert Recipes

Many frozen treats and snacks are not the healthiest or most nutritious food. They're typically higher in sugar, fat and lacking in beneficial nutrients (like vitamins, minerals or antioxidants).[1] However, with careful selection you can enjoy sweet frozen treats that fit well into a healthy eating plan. Start reading labels at the grocery store, monitoring your portions and even consider making items from scratch. That way, you can enjoy a frozen dessert or snack without busting your calorie budget.

Part 1
Purchasing Healthier Frozen Treats from the Store

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    Read the nutrition fact panel. In the case that you want to get some help from the store, choose a fairly healthy and nutritious pre-made frozen treat. To make sure you're choosing something smart, read the nutrition fact panel.
    • One of the first things you want to look at on the nutrition panel is the total calories. This is listed right at the top. Make sure whatever your buying falls into an appropriate calorie level for you.[2]
    • Also look at the total sugar or carbohydrate content. This is found mid way down the nutrition fact panel. If you're diabetic or want to follow a reduced-sugar diet, this number should be low.
    • Also consider the total fat. This is listed near the top. Choose frozen treats that have no trans-fat and less than 2-3 grams of saturated fat per serving.
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    Read the ingredient list. In addition the nutrition fact panel, take a look at the ingredient list. This will provide you with information on what was used to make the dessert.
    • The ingredient list is where you'll find out if there is added sugar, trans fat, preservatives, artificial colors or additives.
    • If you are looking to avoid certain types of ingredients, you need to review this list. Note that the first ingredient listed is the one in the highest quantity.
    • For example, if you want to avoid added sugars, review the ingredient list for items like: sucrose, sugar in the raw, organic cane juice, corn syrup or corn syrup solids.
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    Look out for specific ingredients. When you are reviewing the ingredient label, there are things you should specifically be on the look out for. Some ingredients are not considered healthy or nutritious and should be avoided in your frozen treats.
    • Look for trans-fats in the ingredient list. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils mean there are trans-fats in the product. Stay away from these unhealthy sources of fat.[3]
    • Avoided highly processed forms of sugar like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or sucrose. In addition, try to stay away from artificial sugars like aspartame and saccharin.[4]
    • Some frozen treats, especially kid-friendly treats, will have a variety of dyes and coloring agents. Avoid these ingredients as well as they are more processed.
    • In general, try to pick frozen treats with ingredient lists that are fairly short and the ingredients listed are natural and not processed additives.
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    Consider purchasing portion-controlled items. Another way that buying store bought items can help keep your frozen treats a bit healthier is if you can purchase more portion controlled options.
    • Many food manufacturers are making smaller, portion-controlled treats. This makes it easier to stick to a smaller serving.
    • If you purchase a gallon of ice cream or a whole cake, it's easy to go back for seconds or serve yourself a big portion.
    • However, purchasing items like individually frozen popsicles or ice cream cups, can keep you to a pre-specified, small portion.
    • Look for these types of items at the store. Avoid purchasing large quantities or frozen treats that are multiple servings.

Part 2
Making Healthier Frozen Desserts at Home

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    Make desserts at home. One way to make sure your frozen treat is a little bit better for you, is by making items at home. You'll have full control over every ingredient.
    • When it comes to eating healthy or choosing nutritious foods, one of the tips you can take is start making more foods from scratch and at home.
    • When you make foods from home, you can control how much added sugar, fats or salt that are in the food. So instead of adding a lot of high fat or high sugar foods to your frozen treats, you can pick better options.[5]
    • Think about a few of your top favorite frozen desserts. Look up healthy or low-calorie versions of these recipes and online and try out a few at home.
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    Use healthier ingredients. When you're preparing frozen items at home, keep your desserts healthy and more nutritious by being picky about what ingredients you use.
    • Just because you make something from home, doesn't automatically mean it'll be healthy. You need to make sure you're also choosing healthy ingredients.[6]
    • If your frozen dessert recipe calls for flour (like in a crust for a frozen pie), use 100% whole wheat flour. It's higher in fiber and protein.
    • Choose low-fat dairy products for items like milkshakes, ice cream or popsicles. The lower fat content will lower the total calorie count.
    • Use fruit products that don't have added sugar. Choose fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice or unsweetened dried fruit.
    • Cut down on the total sugar you use in recipes or consider using a no-calorie sweetener.
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    Measure portions. When you're making and eating your homemade frozen treats, measure out your portions. Whether you're being accurate with ingredients or serving yourself, portion control is essential.
    • Keeping portions in control essentially keeps the total calories, fat and sugar in control as well.
    • For example, if a popsicle recipe says to add in 2 tablespoons of honey, but you squirted it in without measuring, you may add much more than that. This mistake will cause your frozen treat to be higher in calories and sugar.
    • In addition, after you've made your homemade sweet treats, measure out the appropriate portion of your treat.
    • In general, for ice creams or sorbets, the serving size is a 1/2 cup. One popsicle or one small slice of a frozen cake is also one serving.
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    Make desserts with fruit or vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables are naturally nutritious foods. Making your frozen desserts based off of these foods, you'll be boosting the overall nutrient content.
    • Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, but high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.[7][8]
    • Instead of basing your frozen treats off of dairy products or sugar, use fruit. It's naturally sweet which allows you to minimize how much sugar you add to your desserts.
    • Also, when blended, fruit can have a smooth and creamy texture which can help take the place of dairy products.

Part 3
Preparing Nutritious Frozen Dessert Recipes

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    Make your own homemade blueberry sorbet. Get in some vitamins and antioxidants in your dessert by making your own homemade sorbet. Using fruit as the base of this sweet treat makes this a healthy and nutritious indulgence.[9]
    • In the bowl of a food process or blender, dump in about 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries.
    • Also add in a squeeze of lemon juice, small pinch of salt, 1/4 cup of coconut milk and a small drizzle of honey or agave syrup.
    • Blend or puree the mixture on high until the ingredients are smooth without any chunks.
    • Taste your sorbet for sweetness. If it needs a little more sweet, add in more honey or agave syrup. Remove from the food processor and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Serve cold!
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    Freeze a batch of homemade strawberry and beet popsicles. Frozen treats are not only for fruits and dairy products. In fact, many desserts, like popsicles, are a great place to add in some pureed vegetables for an extra hit of nutrition.[10]
    • In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries, 1/2 cup of cooked red beets (do not buy pickled beets - just plain), 3/4 cup of 100% apple juice and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
    • Puree the popsicle ingredients until they are completely smooth and combined. Taste the mixture for sweetness. Add a little more fruit juice if you want it sweeter.
    • Carefully pour the popsicle mixture into silicone or plastic popsicle molds. Freeze for about 3-4 hours or until they're completely firm. Serve cold!
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    Try frozen banana ice cream. If you're a big fan of ice cream, you might enjoy this healthy twist. Using a frozen banana makes for a creamy and rich-tasting frozen treat.[11]
    • To start, cut 1 large, very ripe banana into 1/2" slices. Place in a freezer safe bag and freeze overnight.
    • Place the frozen banana pieces into a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy and feels like a frozen yogurt type texture. This will take several minutes to achieve.
    • Once the banana is creamy, you can add any type of "mix-ins" that you'd like. You can add dark chocolate chips, sliced strawberries or a drizzle of peanut butter.
    • Scrape out the ice cream and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze the ice cream for at least 30 minutes or until it's solid. Serve cold!
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    Make chocolate covered banana pops. Another fun and easy homemade treat are frozen banana pops. Covered in nutrient-rich dark chocolate, these are the perfect cold snack.[12]
    • To start, peel 4 large bananas and cut them in half. Carefully insert a wooden popsicle stick about half way up into the banana.
    • Place the banana pops onto a sheet tray and freeze for about 1 hour.
    • While the bananas are freezing, melt about 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips in a deep bowl.
    • Carefully dip each banana pop in the melted chocolate. Try to cover the entire banana.
    • Lay the dipped bananas back on the sheet tray. You can sprinkle on additional toppings like: chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes. Return pops to the freezer for another hour. Serve cold!


  • Using lighter ingredients can help keep the calorie level low on frozen treats. Try swapping different ingredients in your favorite desserts.
  • If you make homemade desserts, make each portion small and individual. This will help you stick to a small serving.
  • Indulge in sweet treats in moderation. You don't have to avoid them completely, but make sure you're wise about how often you indulge.

Article Info

Categories: Desserts and Sweets