We rarely buy soda. It’s expensive and doesn’t serve any real nutritional purposes. That said, once in a while, Cedar will ask for some. He doesn’t eat fast food, doesn’t much like cake or cookies and usually drinks water, juice or milk, so I don’t feel terrible if he has an occasional soda. Also, soda gives us a good excuse to make soda popsicles.
Soda popsicles are a rare treat at my house. One, because as noted above, we don’t normally buy soda. Two, usually I err on the side of making 100% healthy ice pops, because the kids go through them like mad and I don’t want them licking down soda anymore than I want them drinking it. However, if you use soda in small amounts, you can make some super amazing sparkling pops for a special treat or party.
Why add soda pop to popsicles?
- Soda in an ice pop adds a nice bubbly flavor. You can actually taste the carbonation, which results in a really nice, light and airy pop. Bonus, ice pops made with soda tend to pop right out of their molds easily.
- Soda can accent the right ingredients nicely.
- Fun for kids – and adults. If you normally make 100% healthy ice pops, the occasional treat ice pop can keep kids’ sweet tooth happy without doing as much damage as say, an entire bottle of soda or some other high calorie treat.
- Soda pop ice pops are perfect birthday party fare.
How bad is the soda aspect?
Soda is not a healthy drink for kids and most drink way too much of it. In the case of ice pops you use very little soda as compared to other ingredients. For example, the other day we made a batch of homemade ice pops with soda (recipe below) and we used less than one can of soda, combined with other, more nutritionally sound ingredients, and ended up with about 8 ice pops. One can of soda per 8-10 treats is not bad.
You can make ice pops with soda a bit better for kids by skipping name brand soda. For my son, I stick to soda choices like Santa Cruz Organic Sparkling Soda, which is USDA organic, has zero artificial ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. Cedar also likes Hansen’s Cane Soda, made with cane sugar not high fructose corn syrup and no preservatives. Basically if you’re going to buy soda for a treat look for a version without high fructose corn syrup and with no artificial colors or flavors. For example, real root beer is clear, not brown.
Make sure it’s really a treat. Even though I let Cedar have less toxic soda, I still rarely buy it. It’s a treat, not a diet staple.
Working with soda in ice pops
Soda expands. Make sure you one, leave an open can in the fridge for a while, before making your pops so the bubbles die down a bit, or two, if you want the extra carbonation and a bubbly texture, mix up a batch of soda pops but don’t fill the popsicle molds all the way up. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top.
Sparkling pink grapefruit & citrus strawberry popsicles
Cedar wanted to name these “Grapefruit Gratitude Pops” – no clue how he came up with that, but I thought a more descriptive name might be good.
In any case, Cedar was browsing through Ice Pop Joy the other night. I guess he was inspired because he said he wanted to make ice pops. Cedar is not a kid who likes to cook. That said, I jumped at the chance to get him in the kitchen and said, “Sure, but we’ll have to base the pops on stuff we have in the house, because I’m not going to the store.” He started looking around the kitchen and gathered up some option ideas. On hand we had OJ, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen cherries, apricots, carrots, tofu, milk plus some other ice pop type ingredients. We also had a can of grapefruit soda.
After thinking it over, Cedar grabbed the blender, gathered some ingredients, got out some molds and created the best ice pops ever!
I’m not kidding. Though very simple, these grapefruit ice pops are AMAZING. Cedar’s about as creative as I am in the kitchen (sadly, not much) so I actually can’t believe he came up with such yummy pops. The best way I can explain them is to say they taste like that sparkling fruit punch parents make for kid birthday parties, only these pop are a little healthier.
In a blender, combine 3/4 of on 12 oz. can of Hansen’s Grapefruit Soda with about 1 cup of organic orange juice and a cup of frozen or fresh organic strawberries. Blend, pour into molds and freeze. Eat and fall in love.
These have a bubbly punch of grapefruit flavor but the OJ and berry taste really come through as well. They smell amazing too and are the perfect ice pop texture – not too hard, not too soft. I think they’d be perfect for a birthday party or on a hot summer day, although it’s winter right now and they’re still great. They’re seriously one of the best treat ice pops I’ve ever had.
Organic root beer float popsicles
These root beer float popsicles are ultimate treat ice pops, not an ice pop staple. When I make them, the kids go INSANE and only want these, not any other pops. That said, because I think most food kids eat should be nutritionally sound, I only make these about two or three times a year.
Open one can of Santa Cruz Organic Sparkling Root Beer and leave it in the fridge for a few hours, so the fizz dies down. Later, combine the can of root beer with one to two scoops of organic vanilla ice cream (we use Alden’s), plus 1 cup of 1% organic milk. Blend, pour into molds and freeze. I can’t remember how many pops this makes, but it’s somewhere in the 8-10 category. Kids and adults love these, and they really do taste just like root beer float on a stick, but just make them once in a while. They’re not the healthiest ice pop choice.
Do you ever make ice pops with soda?
Images © Jennifer Chait