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Aug. 20, ’13

No one wants to deny their children a treat, especially if it’s an icy cold treat on a sweltering day. However, one glance at the freezer section of a local grocery or corner store is enough to scare away anybody concerned about their children’s health. Ice pops are loaded with added refined sugars, not to mention a rainbow of artificial colors, dyes that can rob children of their innocent sweet calmness and their ability to focus.

So, while creating my version of ice pops that you will be delighted to offer your children without any nutritional qualms, there were several criteria that I deemed essential to meet. Taste, of course, came first. On the heels of taste came nutritional value. Third, the pops had to be easy and quick to make or that dash to the store would be too tempting. Another perk that I wanted to include was that making the ice pops could do double duty as a fun and interesting activity for those kids who would later enjoy them.

Pureeing fruits with some water and a hint of sweetness is a great way to provide refreshment as well as get your children to increase their consumption of fruit.

Mangos are naturally low in fat and an excellent source of vitamin C. They contain potent antioxidants and are deliciously sweet on their own. If ripe, they puree easily, lending a natural orange-yellow color to the sweet treat. I also wanted the ice pops to have some texture so I included some halved cherries. Although strawberries would also be a great choice, I didn’t want those children who suffer from an allergy to the berries to do without.


 Mango and Cherry Ice Pops


2 mangos, cubed

1 cup water

1/4 cup agave or raw organic cane sugar

2 cups cherries, pitted and halved


1. Puree the mangos, water and agave in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal “S” blade attachment.

2. Drop about 1/4 of a cup of cherries into each of 8 x 6 oz ice pop molds.

3. Pour the pureed mango mixture into the molds, filling 95% full. Top each mold with the pop stick cover.

4. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until completely frozen.

Makes 8 servings.




The lemon ice pops are a great oral motor exercise for children with sensory issues. Just sour enough and just sweet enough to provide the right sensory awakening and still be loved. I kept the pops smooth because any added texture here might have been pushing it too much for some. As one mother remarked “I’m not sure who’s getting treated, me or him. His calm demeanor while he eats it, after he eats it, and the added benefit of assisting with his speech development is very simple and rewarding.”


Lemon Ice Pops


3 cups  water

3/4 cup raw organic cane sugar

1 lemon, zested

3/4 cup  freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-5 lemons)


1. In a saucepan set over medium to high heat, bring the water, sugar and lemon zest to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat; let cool slightly. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

2. Stir the lemon juice into the water mixture (adding lemon juice while the water is still hot will result in a cooked lemon taste, and dull the freshness of the lemonade).

3 .Pour the lemonade mixture into 8 x 4 oz ice pop molds, filling 95% full. Top each mold with the pop stick cover.

4. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until completely frozen.

Makes 8 servings.


Sensory Tip

Allowing your children to help make the ice pops is a wonderful way to share time together in the kitchen. But it can be so much more than simply standing side by side, squeezing lemon juice and sharing a few giggles. As we all know, the more our entire sensory system is integrated together, the easier we learn, since learning is a function of the whole nervous system. Learning engages the body, the mind and all of our emotions. The largest sensory system and one that plays a vital role in human behavior is the tactile system. Tactile receptors are located in our skin, providing us with information about our environment. That is to say, the system will let us know if something we touch is itchy, hot, wet or fuzzy. It provides all of us with tactile discrimination. To help jumpstart this system or even keep it working optimally, it’s important for children to partake in what’s called proprioception activity. And this is exactly where those 4 or 5 lemons come into play.

The surface of a lemon is multi-faceted. It can be both smooth and textured at the same time. It can be hard or slightly squishy. Light or heavy. Let your kitchen helpers roll the lemons that are going to be juiced on the work surface. This will reap both tactile and culinary rewards. Rolling a lemon back and forth against a surface engages a child’s tactile senses, feeling the outer skin and its bumpiness and how the lemon may slightly adapt to being softer. The activity will stimulate the nerve endings in the child’s hand, those that are involved in motor development, spatial