Unlike most popsicles, these peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie pops use whole fruit with no added sugar. One very popular “health” strategy is to replace white sugar with honey or maple syrup. However, the truth is these sweeteners, unlike whole fruit, do count towards your added sugar intake. Many Americans are consuming far beyond the recommended limit for added sugars; try this recipe if you are looking to cut back!
It’s a little weird to share a recipe for popsicles in the middle of January, right? This may not be the first snack folks in my area think of when it is cold out.
On the other hand, it’s quite warm in some parts of the world right now. For people in those areas, a cooling treat may sound just right.
In my area of the northeast U.S., there is not a lot of local fresh produce available at the moment. The appearance of fresh, local asparagus will be one of the first signs that spring is upon us. We won’t see fresh local berries until late spring or early summer.
Pantry and freezer staples typically make a larger part of my diet in the winter. The ingredients used in these popsicles are things I usually have on hand.
When I buy bananas (definitely never local), it seems like a few always turn black before I use them. Slightly green bananas are my favorite for eating fresh. I’m more likely to let them overripen once they become completely yellow.
Instead of throwing the black bananas out or making copious amounts of banana bread, I freeze them. I peel them, break them into chunks, and store them in small freezer baggies in the freezer. That way, they are ready to pop into recipes whenever I want them.
Here’s how I fit this treat into my diet
I talk a lot about how I’ve maintained my 70-pound weight loss. However, it’s not because I expect anyone to copy what I do exactly. While I was losing weight, I found reading about the strategies that others used to lose and maintain to be extremely helpful.
Even now, as a dietitian, I still learn new practical healthy lifestyle tips from others. The education on nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle; it also has to be applied. We are all different; exploring the approaches that work for others can help us figure out what may work for us.
In other words, we can learn about various options, take what may help us, and leave the rest. An important question we should ask ourselves is, “how would this work for me?” This is a great topic to explore in regards to not only foods and diet, but also other lifestyle modifications.
Following my advice, I know that for me, this treat works as a hyper-palatable carb/fat combo. I have difficulty stopping at just one.
Additionally, each pop only contains 3 grams of protein. I would not expect this snack to be nearly as filling as a higher protein snack with similar calories. (A 5.3-ounce cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt is one example.)
I am putting these peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie pops at level 1. However, I’d encourage you to remain mindful of the portion size.
Honestly, I wouldn’t consider this healthy treat to be my best option if I still had a weight loss goal. I wouldn’t avoid them, but I would be especially aware of my propensity to overeat them. And I’d consider that I won’t feel better later for eating the whole batch versus savoring one or two.
Keeping an eye on the big picture instead of the nitty-gritty
You may have noticed that I don’t provide a full nutritional breakdown of each recipe that I provide. Though I do talk about specifics in some cases (e.g., liver and vitamin A), I’d rather encourage looking at the big picture.
If the following describes what you are doing consistently with your diet, you are likely covering your nutrient needs. (By “nutrient needs,” I mean essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, plus other non-essential but beneficial nutrients.) In general, there isn’t a need to obsess over individual nutrients if you have the basics covered.
- Contains an appropriate amount of calories for healthy weight management
- Contains adequate protein in each meal (at least 20 grams if you eat three meals per day on a 2,000-calorie diet; 25-30 grams is even better) and some fat
- Includes a variety of foods from the different food groups (that said, meats and vegetables can cover the nutrients in grains)
- Focuses on minimally processed foods with limited ultra-processed foods, refined grains, and added sugars
Some folks will do better with more protein than I have listed above. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient; there is no need to be afraid of it. In fact, I recommend making getting adequate protein a priority in meal planning.
The 20 grams is a round number that ensures folks meet the RDA. Those with no medical contraindications may benefit from higher.
It’s easy to ensure that your meals contain adequate protein without calculating the exact number of grams
In creating meals for this site, I’ve made sure to follow the targets above. Many meals on this site contain at least 4 ounces of meat, poultry, or seafood, along with other foods. If your recipe uses a 1-pound package of meat for four servings, you’re likely fine for protein.
I also have some vegetarian recipes that use a few eggs or a 5.3-ounce yogurt cup per serving. When paired with other foods in the recipe, I know that these meals will also contain enough protein.
For omnivores, legumes can be counted as a vegetable, though they do provide additional protein to the meal. For vegans, I would consider legumes to be the best whole food protein source. Lean animal-based proteins often provide more grams of protein (per calorie) than legumes.
Nuts and seeds are healthy foods, but they count more as fats rather than proteins. You would have to eat an extraordinarily large amount of calories in almonds to match the protein in a lean chicken breast, for example.
Without doing any math, I can tell you that these peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie pops are not very high in protein. There is only ⅛-cup of milk per serving, and that is the only major source of protein in the recipe. It’s relatively easy to see whether protein has been prioritized in the meals and snacks you are eating, no tracking needed.
I do provide the calorie information, but maybe not for all the reasons you think
Each recipe on this site comes with a calorie count. I know that some health professionals don’t like talking about calories with clients.
Some folks can make dietary changes that result in weight loss without tracking calories. However, a calorie deficit was still created, even though the person did not explicitly count calories.
It’s no secret that I did go the calorie tracking route to lose weight. However, I do not feel that everyone with a weight loss goal must do things my way.
I would recommend being cautious of any health provider who promotes that the way they lost weight is the only way. This does not respect client preferences nor individual medical needs.
For those who want to lose weight, it is important to understand that it is accomplished through a calorie deficit. There are many paths that you can take to get there; tracking is just one way.
Understanding this can actually open the door to more options rather than fewer. It may help you to refine your diet even better to meet your goals.
Here is an example of how that might work...
Say I am trying to lose weight with a low-carb or ketogenic diet. I love how unrestricted I feel on this diet. I am eating pounds of cheese or cups of nuts daily, completely diet-compliant foods.
Unfortunately (and not surprising to us in the know), I am not losing weight. If I am educated that I am consuming possibly thousands of excess calories in these foods, I can make diet adjustments. Plus the door is opened that other ways may work if low-carb/keto loses appeal for me.
On the other hand, say I am advised to switch from cheese and nuts to meats, poultry, and fish without explanation. I will probably begin to lose weight because these higher protein foods tend to be more satiating.
Yes, a calorie deficit may be created without tracking. But if I do not understand this, I may end up believing my results were due to a specific “magical” combination of foods. If I get tired of adhering to keto, I may throw in the towel on my weight loss goals altogether.
Instead, say I understand that keto helped me to create a calorie deficit by focusing on high-protein foods that left me feeling satisfied. Since I understand why things worked or didn’t work, I can tweak my diet to best fit my goals.
I may be able to add in some foods that aren’t keto-friendly, if I wish, and still meet my goals. Or I can decide it’s best not to, but at least I’ll know there isn’t just one way.
I have a lot more to say on this topic, but I think that’s enough for today. How about I get off the soapbox and we get into the kitchen?
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Smoothie Pops – No Added Sugar!
- 2 medium ripe bananas, broken into chunks (I used frozen bananas)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (choose a variety that has no added sugar)
- 1 cup milk, 2%
- 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
- Put all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze for several hours (or overnight). Wasn't that easy?
FYI, this snack is super kid-friendly. My son absolutely loves these, maybe even more than the mango watermelon pineapple pops.
As always, snap a pic and tag me @SummerYuleRDN on your social media if you make these peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie pops. I want to see them!