Healthiest Popsicles Guide
Written by Suzanne Weaver-Goss, Certified Holistic Health Coach
On hot summer days with 5 grandchildren visiting, popsicles are a needed treat! Fruit popsicles can be healthy, refreshing snack, or they can be a vehicle for too much sugar, pesticides, and other junky ingredients.
As with many food choices, making your own will result in the very healthiest popsicles, especially since every store-bought pop comes in plastic.
However, we are all busy and sometimes it makes sense to buy fruit pops to have on hand in the summer. Read on for our picks for the healthiest popsicles you can find in a grocery store.
Healthiest Popsicles Recipe
Homemade popsicles are my favorite in the summer because there are so many fresh fruits available. We suggest you start with a non-toxic, plastic-free popsicle maker. We sell two of these in our store, both of which we use every summer. One is old-school stainless steel and the other is a pretty palette of silicone.
Next, you need to choose your fruit and puree in a blender (this is the blender we use).
I use 2 cups of fresh or frozen organic berries. You can use raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries, or a blend of them. A banana will lend natural sweetness. I also add some freshly squeezed fruit juice; orange makes the popsicles sweet, but lemon or lime can be fun, too.
I then add one additional cup of water. Other add-ins can include plain yogurt or kefir and maybe some greens (we’ve found romaine lettuce or spinach to be the mildest in flavor). If you want to add a little raw honey or maple syrup, you can, but if you’re using ripe fruit it should be sweet enough.
Once you have your blend, just pour and freeze (and drink what’s left as a delicious smoothie!). For more inspiration to make your own homemade popsicles check out this recipe book.
Healthiest Popsicles: Store-Bought Varieties
One issue with most store-bought fruit pop brands is that they don’t use organic fruit. This is particularly concerning when the fruits included in the popsicles are among this “Dirty Dozen.”
There are several other reasons that the healthiest popsicles are the ones you make at home:
- Even if they don’t have sugar in them, packaged popsicles usually contain more juice than actual whole fruit purees. The FDA considers fruit juice concentrates to be a form of added sugar. However, companies don’t have to list fruit juice concentrates as added sugar on the nutrition label if they include enough water.
- Store-bought pops–even organic ones–often also contain fillers such as guar gum and locust bean gum. These ingredients are not too worrisome, but they are processed and unneeded in homemade popsicles.
- A big concern with store-bought popsicles is the amount of plastic waste they produce!
However, every summer requires some ready-to-go fruit pops in the freezer! Below are that the brands that offer the healthiest fruit popsicles–and a bunch more that we would rather see you avoid.
Best Stuff: Healthiest Popsicles
We think these are the healthiest popiscle you can buy. Sweet Nothings pops only contain organic fruits and veggies, and no added sugar. Each fruit pop has from 4 to 7 grams of natural sugar depending on the fruits and vegetables in the blend. Sweet Nothing uses no gums or juices (besides lemon juice)
Cost per pop: $1.17
Good Stuff: Healthy Popsicles
These smoothie pops have 7 grams of sugar apiece. They have some organic apple juice concentrate and one gram of added sugar from lucuma powder (which is a superfood). Blendtopia contains added probiotics and veggies in many blends. Because these popsicles contain actual blended sfui, each pop also has 1 gram of fiber.
Cost per pop: $0.55
Deebee’s Organics SuperFruit Freezies
These pops contain 5 grams of sugar in each pop, and 0 grams of added sugar. Still, the ingredients are mostly all juice concentrates. As I mentioned above, the FDA considers juice concentrates as added sugar, but if the blend includes enough water, companies don’t have to list concentrates as added sugar. I think that’s Sneaky, but because these are organic and the sugar content is till low, I consider them Good Stuff. They have also added organic guar gum to add some bulk (which wouldn’t be necessary if they used actual fruit!).
Cost per pop: $0.60
Since we last updated this guide, GoodPop ditched the sugar in their fruit pops! These now have just 5 grams of sugar in each pop. However, because they are full of juice concentrates and not whole fruit, I we cannot call GoodPop the Best Stuff. You can buy these pops in the dry goods section of your grocery store, and then freeze them yourself, which it convenient. We also love that all of the fruit juice concentrates are organic. GoodPop is the first food brand to be Plastic Neutral Certified with 4ocean — for every pound of plastic GoodPop uses in its products, one pound of plastic will be cleaned up from the oceans. See our video at the bottom of this post to learn more about fruit juice concentrates vs whole fruit.
Cost per pop: $1.08
Sambazon pops contain all organic ingredients and include no added sugar. They use lots of actual pureed fruit, some fruit juice, a little juice concentrate, and organic guar gum and locust bean gum. I like that each pop contains only 2 grams of sugar.
Cost per pop: $0.86
Okay Stuff: Healthy Enough Popsicles
If only these were made with organic ingredients! We are designating them as Okay Stuff but the actual ingredients are all great–including lots of whole fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, the only organic ingredient here is the citric acid. It’s too bad because these pops are full of superfoods!
Cost per pop: $2.99
Bad Stuff: Unhealthy Popsicles
Generic Freezer Pops
We took this picture of these basic “fruit” pops piled high in an outside bin at the grocery store. These make me sad because they are hard to miss, marketed to kids, and really inexpensive so moms who are looking for a summer time treat are buying these for their kids. The first ingredient is water but this is followed by high fructose corn syrup and then various artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. No wonder you can get 24 of these for $1.99–they aren’t even food.
Sneaky Stuff: Greenwashed Popsicles
365 Citrus Pop-Ups
Whole Foods’ bar version of fruit popsicles are made of mostly juice and cane sugar. Worse are their Pop-Ups, which are mostly sugar and corn syrup, some 31 grams per pop, and 25 grams of added sugar, plus a variety of gums. These are devoid of any nutrition, offering 0% of recommended daily intake of all vitamins, fiber, etc.
Since we last updated this guide, we’ve moved these to Sneaky Stuff. Chloe’s various popsicle varieties are free of artificial colors and flavors, but none of the fruit is organic, and there are 11 grams of added sugar in each bar. The No Sugar Added Pop from Chloe’s is a better bet, but with concentrated grape juice as the very first ingredient, this still is only Okay Stuff–especially since grapes are a Dirty Dozen fruit. Chloe’s Oat Milk Pops have the longest list of ingredients, none of which are organic. While there are certainly worse options out there than Chloe’s, we just can’t call something with sugar Good Stuff. This feels especially true for a product like a fruit pop that really doesn’t require sugar to be tasty!
King of Pops
Found in popsicle stands across the country, these popular fruit pops do contain organic sugar–but too much of it to call these even Okay Stuff. Some flavors (like Strawberry Lime) get basically all of their sweetness from sugar rather than fruit. (Note that this new flavor is fruit-juice sweetened, making it a better option.) We found these pops in our local Whole Foods.
We also moved these to “Sneaky Stuff” because we don’t love agave as a sweetener. These contain only fruit, organic agave, and guar gum. The fruit isn’t organic but the agave is organic. The concerns about agave revolve around its naturally high fructose content. Unlike sugar which is broken down by the body to 50% fructose and 50% glucose, agave breaks down to up to 90% fructose. That is a higher fructose content than even high fructose corn syrup.
Organic Whole Fruit Frozen Juice
Even Maia, an expert label-reader, was duped by these! We found them at Costco, and she actually thought from the label (which proclaims “frozen juice!”) and a quick ingredient scan that these were truly just frozen juice. Later, after tasting one and finding it cloying, she read the label again and discovered white sugar contributed 7 grams of sugar per bar (plus another 8 grams of sugar from fruit juice concentrate).
Outshine Fruit Pops
There is some real fruit juice in these, but nothing is organic, and there is far too much sugar in both the pops and the bars. The No Sugar Added varieties should also be avoided as they contain artificial sweeteners like sorbitol–which is not recommended for children or anyone with a sensitive digestive system because it causes diarrhea–and maltodextrin.
Trader Joe’s Fruit Frenzy Bars
The main ingredients in these are water and sugar (not organic). These are the sweetest bars we reviewed, with 20 to 30 grams in each!
More about fruit juice concentrates vs whole fruit in popsicles…
I hope you have a wonderful summer full of the healthiest popsicles! Please share your favorite recipes or brands below.
To your health,
Suzanne, Certified Holistic Health Coach
Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff!
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The popsicle maker linked is not available. Do you have another one to recommend?
This is a wonderful list of pops for kids. I don’t usually buy from the stores because I usually make some pops at home for my kids.
Hi! Can you recommend a nontoxic popsicle mold please? The link you have above doesn’t work! Thank you!!
I don’t understand why non-organic popsicles would be added to the Good Stuff list. I get trying to avoid sugar but you replace with natural flavoring, citric acid and pesticides from non organic foods. If the only goal is not having refined sugar then great but if you are actually looking for a healthy, non-toxic popsicle this list is a bit misleading.
Try Paleo On the Go! Technically not a store bought I guess because you order online, but their pops are made of bone broth, banana, organic strawberries and pineapple juice. This company has really good ingredients.
Thanks for this awesome recommendation!
Just wanted to point out that the good pops have a lot of pops (Specifically the ones you pictured above) that do not have any added sugar and have a total of 8-9 grams per pop. I personally think these should be included in the good stuff as they don’t have added sugar and many of the ones you make at home would actually have more “grams” of sugar then that. (Even if it’s natural fruit or milk sugars)
Hi yes! Good Pops has expanded their line! We will update accordingly:)
You two are so wonderful! I can’t explain how much finding Gimme The Good Stuff has changed my and our family’s life! You’ve saved me so much time when searching for certain natural items to help to live the best toxic free and natural lifestyle possible! You all align so much with my values as a parent and person! Thank you, thank you! ?
Awww, thanks so much for these kind words! This is why we do what we do!
Great list. We don’t buy popsicles often, but I do like to treat my girls occasionally. Now, I know what to look for when shopping. Thanks!
Plus, I would have never thought of buying popsicles off of Amazon, but I guess they sell everything now!
I know, Jamie, it’s a new world!