I don’t know a kid in the world who doesn’t LOVE popsicles. My kids think it’s the most important culinary invention of all time. But really, what’s better than a delicious frozen treat on a hot summer day? The problem is the ingredients found in most freezer pops aren’t safe for children. For this investigation, we scoured dozens of popsicle boxes online and in stores to determine which products are safe and which ones you’ll want to avoid. As usual, most popsicles contain massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup, toxic preservatives, mystery flavors and artificial colors, but luckily, we were able to find some great options. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you important investigations into glyphosate in oat cereals, non-toxic furniture and mattresses, and asbestos found in crayons, now join us as we cover popsicles, the sweet summer treat.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Popsicle Ingredients to Avoid
These ingredients are present in most popsicles on the market, and should definitely be avoided. The products widely available at most stores have between 10-25 grams of sugar per serving! This is due to the main ingredient, high fructose corn syrup or refined white sugar, which is usually the second ingredient on the label after water.
- High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and refined white sugar are made from genetically modified sugar beets. Refined sugars are a well-known cause of high insulin levels that feeds cancer cells.
- Artificial flavors is an umbrella term that contains hundreds of chemically-defined flavor substances with proprietary recipes. Side effects of these synthetic ingredients ranges from allergies to behavioral issues in children.
- Natural flavors is another umbrella term that hides an alarming variety of ingredients (some chemically distilled) like MSG, aspartame, and soy sauce, or ingredients extracted from animal matter.
- Artificial colors are toxic chemicals that cause allergies and hyperactivity in children, asthma, skin rashes, migraines and even affect your child’s learning ability.
- Potassium sorbate is a preservative that can cause allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea and even DNA damage.
Mamavation’s Investigation on Popsicles
Mamavation has separated brands into three categories: bad, better and best. When we evaluated ingredients, we were looking for excessive sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other GMOs, artificial colors & flavors, preservatives and undisclosed ingredients.
Popsicle Brands We Don’t Recommend
Here are the brands of popsicles that contain ingredients that are not recommended for children or pregnant women.
- Fun Pops
- Kool Pops
- Market Pantry
- Otter Pops
- Popsicle brand
- Slush Puppie
- War Heads
- Wyler’s Italian Ice
Popsicle Brands That are Better
Here are the popsicle brands that are doing better, but still have room for improvement.
- Juicy Juice
- Minute Maid
- Popsicle brand Fruit Pops
The Best Popsicles for Kids
Here are our 8 best popsicle finds with the safest ingredients. As always, organic and low sugar popsicles are at the top of the list with all-natural, no refined sugar products coming in second. We linked up the ones that are available on Amazon for a quick and easy purchase.
- Good Pop Organic Freezer Pops
- Debee’s Organic Superfruit Freezie Pops
- Ruby Rockets
- Chloe’s Pops
- Eat Pops
- Paleo Passion Pops
- Mom Pops
- Outshine No Sugar Added Popsicles
- Solero Organic Crushed Fruit Bars
10 Homemade Popsicle Recipes
We rounded up 10 popsicle recipes that have natural ingredients and are low in sugar. Ranging from your everyday flavors to new combos you may not have tried, there’s something for everyone!
- No Sugar Added Fruit Pops from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
- Pineapple Chia Seed Popsicles from Jessica Gavin
- Organic Strawberry Mint Popsicles from Inhabitat
- Fudge Popsicle from Weed em and Reap
- Kombucha Popsicles from Healy Eats Real
- Cucumber Lime Mint Paletas from A Saucy Kitchen
- Whole Fruit Tropical Popsicles from Mama Loves Food
- Banana Chai Popsicles from Healthy Sweet Eats
- Rainbow Popsicles from The First Year Blog
- 2-Ingredient Mango Coconut Popsicles from Simple Vegan Blog
What You Need to Make Popsicles at Home
We’ve gathered the necessary tools for homemade popsicles — pop molds of course! The classic molds we grew up with are still available, and there are some cool and crazy ones our there too. We’ve also found that a blender is the easiest way to whip up a well-mixed popsicle recipe, so we included our favorite mixers below that are made of glass instead of plastic.
Popsicle Molds, Stainless Steel or Silicone
- Stainless Steel Classic Popsicle Molds
- Squeezable Popsicle Molds
- Mini Pop Molds
- Silicone Popsicle Molds
- Zombies Pop Molds
Blenders with Glass Containers, No Plastic Touching Food
While I have you here, can I implore you to throw away the Vitamix and get a blender with a glass jar? Plastic is so last century, and our small kitchen appliance investigation found some sneaky truths about Tritan, the plastic that most high-end blenders use. The truth is they aren’t worth the money if they are leaching hormone-disrupting chemicals into your soups, smoothies and other foods. You’ll also save money. OR you can replace the plastic container with this stainless steel pitcher.