Summer Just Got More Fun with Low-Sugar Treats

June 21, 2018
Strawberry coconut energy bites
Photo Credit: James Stefiuk

By Heather Reid

Swimming, road trips, catching fireflies, playing in the park—no matter what your family’s fave summer activities are, there are usually treats involved. No doubt you want your family to enjoy something sweet without the sugar rush (and crash), so we tapped registered dietician nutritionist and family nutrition consultant Laura Hoover for her best strategies to find that balance.

“Sugar is everywhere, and summer can be a particular challenge,” says Hoover, author of Mom’s Sugar Solution: 150 Low-Sugar Recipes for Your Kids’ Favorite Foods, Sweet Treats, and More. “But there are options for everything. I like to think of myself as a sugar consultant rather than a sugar cop.”

Mom's Sugar Solution

Introducing healthy alternatives early on can help create a foundation for improved nutrition in the long term for families, she says. “Talk about moderation versus restrictions and have that dialogue,” she says. “We have such a short time to feed our kids before they are eating without us.”

It’s also important to know your kids as individuals and what approach works for them. “Some kids need rules, some need more flexibility,” Hoover notes. “We can find a balance between what they need and what they want. It’s up to grownups to present a variety of foods that make them feel good for a long time while also teaching them how to make choices on their own.”

Start with these three recipes from her book—they bring all the indulgent flavor, minus the sugar bomb.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is a classic treat, but unfortunately the store-bought versions are loaded with sugar. This all natural version uses much less sugar, allowing the earthy taste of hazelnuts and the rich taste of cocoa powder to shine through. Spread it on whole-grain toast for a satisfying snack without the guilt. Calories: 120 |…

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Rocket Pops

These red, white, and blue pops have serious patriotic flair and are totally free of the artificial dyes that color the store-bought version. They look best when you make them in a rocket shaped ice-pop mold, but they’ll still look gorgeous in a classic-style ice-pop mold. The layering and freezing process takes a little extra…

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Strawberry Coconut Energy Bites

Freeze-dried fruit has nearly the same nutritional profile as fresh fruit, but with more ease and convenience. This recipe takes advantage of freeze-dried strawberries to create a bright, naturally sweet coating for these energy bites, without needing any artificial colors. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.…

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BIO: Heather Reid is a Chicago-based writer, blogger and avid cook. She writes about baking bread and other adventures at

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