I love summers in Ontario. We have so many beautiful lakes and forests to explore. When the weather gets warm I want to spend as much time outside as I can! One of my favourite parts of summer is eating cool treats, such as ice cream, gelato, freezies and popsicles. Most popsicles you buy in stores are basically just water, sugar and flavouring. It’s so easy to make healthier popsicles at home, you don’t even need to buy plastic popsicle molds! These low FODMAP Strawberry Lemon Chia Popsicles are made with just five ingredients and are so simple to make.
If you already have some plastic popsicle molds at home, great! But if not, you don’t need to go running out to the store to buy some. You can use small paper cups, aluminium foil or plastic wrap, and popsicle sticks or stirring sticks. Espresso cups or shot glasses could even be used in place of the paper cups. To make the popsicles, start by blending the ingredients and cutting the popsicle/stirring sticks in half. Then simply fill the cups about 80% to the top, cover with foil or wrap, and poke the sticks through the centre of the foil/wrap. Voila! Homemade popsicle molds. Stick them in the freezer for 3+ hours until frozen solid and then enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier, these popsicles are more nutritious and have less sugar than most store-bought popsicles. They taste lightly sweet and have great flavour from the strawberries and lemon juice. Strawberries are naturally sweet and are packed with nutrition, including vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. The Ontario strawberries are absolutely amazing right now! If you live in Ontario I highly recommend visiting your local farmer’s market and buying some local strawberries.
Strawberries are low FODMAP at 1 cup (140 grams). I generally recommend during the low FODMAP diet to stick to just one serving of fruit per meal/snack. Eating too many servings of fruit in a sitting (even low FODMAP fruit) can trigger digestive issues in some people. Kate Scarlata has a helpful blog post on why portion size is so important on the low FODMAP diet.
In my strawberry lemonade recipe, I use lemon tea to add extra lemon flavour. You can use lemon tea in this recipe or just keep it simple and use water. Lemon flavoured teas are sugar-free and calorie-free but still add a punch of flavour. If you are currently in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, you will need to be careful to choose a low FODMAP tea. Rooibos (red) tea, white tea, and green tea are all low FODMAP. Avoid any untested ingredients. Click to read my blog post on the FODMAP content of teas. If you are not on the low FODMAP diet, then please just ignore all of my notes about FODMAPs!
You will notice that there is still some added sugar in this recipe (one tablespoon per four popsicles). Sugar is important not just for flavour but for texture as well. If no sugar is added, or an artificial sweetener is subbed in, the popsicles will be very hard and difficult to bite. Sugar helps to improve the texture and stops the popsicles from being as hard as ice cubes. However, I learned that sugar is not the only thing that can help to soften popsicles. When chia seeds are mixed with water they form a gel (which makes them great for making chia seed pudding). I experimented with adding chia seeds to my popsicles and they helped to improve the texture! Plus chia seeds are packed with nutrients, including healthy fats, fibre and protein.
I have to admit that the original idea for strawberry chia popsicles is not mine. A few weeks ago, I saw a stand at a local farmer’s market selling strawberry chia popsicles and loved the combination! I went straight to work on making my own version by adapting my Strawberry Lemonade recipe.
If you have never had chia seeds this is a fun way to try them! If you don’t want to buy a big bag of seeds buy a small amount from your local bulk store. Here in London, Ontario Bulk Barn always has chia seeds and frequently has sales. Chia seeds are low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons or less per serving. If you are trying them for the first time I generally recommend to start with a small serving (~1 teaspoon) and slowly increase. Chia seeds are very high fibre and if you go straight from eating none to 2 tablespoons your tummy might not be very happy. It’s also very important to drink plenty of fluids when you eat any high fibre food, including chia seeds.
The past few weeks I have made dozens of popsicles while recipe testing! I am very happy with how this recipe has turned out and have been enjoying the popsicles in my lush backyard.
My friend and fellow Canadian FODMAP dietitian Audrey checked this recipe to make sure it is low FODMAP and safe for elimination. We often review each other’s recipes! We also work together to help run the free Facebook Support Group Low FODMAP Canadians. She has some great blog posts and low FODMAP recipes on her website, IBS Nutrition, check it out!
To all of my fellow Canadians, Happy Canada Day and 150th! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I am so grateful I get to live in this great country.