When I say I use my ice cube tray almost as often as I use a knife and fork, I mean it! This is one household item that made eating healthy (and not eating too much) way, way easier than anything else I’ve tried. Keep reading to find out just how awesome it really is.
Why You Should Use Ice Cube Trays for More Than Water
For many people, one of the hardest parts about eating healthy is portion control. On the one hand, it seems our culture has gotten used to bigger and bigger meal sizes. It’s hard to keep a clear perspective on how much your body actually needs!
Then on the other hand, there’s the convenience factor. Making all your own healthy meals and snacks and drinks (not to mention your family’s, too) is a whole lot of work! So what can you do?
Luckily, the world is full of very clever people. And we’ve combined a bunch of the coolest ways to use one everyday household item as a nutrition hack: an ice cube tray! You can transform it into a tool for monitoring your portions and making food prep faster than ever.
Now, before we go on, I want to stress how important it is to make sure your tray is made of safe material. Along with being BPA-free, you want to make sure you have the right grade of plastic. Avoid buying Polystyrene or PVC plastics, and try to stick to HDPE, LDPE, or PP. Look here for a handy guide to understanding symbols on plastic materials.
Top 9 Ice Cube Tray Hacks
Get together your favorite herbs, wash them and chop them, and then freeze them into cubes along with some vegetable broth. Then, the next time you whip up some hearty soup, grab a couple cubes and melt them right in for an awesome (and instant) added taste. You can also freeze in some spices, there’s so much room for creativity!
I enjoy morning smoothies, but I sometimes don’t even have time to make them (sad, I know). So, I make a few batches in advance, and freeze them in 2 or 3 separate ice cube trays. That way, I don’t even have to think first thing in the morning, I just empty a tray into the blender, and I can run right out the door! This also works great if you have a bunch of bananas that are about to go bad.
Puree a selection of fruits of your choice (I like using strawberries, mangoes, and bananas the best) and freeze them into cubes. You can make individual fruit pops, or mix a bunch of fruits together (yum). You can mix these into a plain, dairy-free yogurt for natural flavor, or just eat them as-is! These are a much better alternative to more sugary options.
Instant Measuring Cup
Here’s a trick: each cube is about the same as 1 ounce. If you need to measure out nuts or dried fruit for your trail mix snack, grab an ice cube tray and count how many cubes you use. Easy peasy!
I’ve been there. At the end of a pleasant evening, there’s a few extra ounces of wine that nobody wants to drink. You don’t have to let it go to waste, though. Pour it into your ice cube tray, and easily add it to the next recipe you make that calls for some red or white. Problem solved!
Never cooked with wine before? Check out this Vegan Eggplant Soup How-to:
Let’s face it, there’s no dessert recipe that comes with the right portions for just one person. And I don’t know about you, but if I make 24 cookies, you best believe I’m eating 24 of them. No matter how healthy your recipe is, you don’t want to overdo it and ruin your appetite for the awesome dinner you’re planning.
So once you make your dough, spoon it into the cubes and freeze it. The next time you have a hankering for something sweet, you can make just one (ahem, or just 2).
DIY Flavored Water
There are many reasons you should drink lots of water throughout the day. But many people just don’t like the taste of it! Here’s how to use an ice cube tray to flavor your water (instead of using sugary, chemical-laden syrups and powders to do the trick). Simply squeeze the juice of a fresh orange, lime, or grapefruit into the tray, and freeze. Then pop an ice cube into a tall glass of water and enjoy!
Boost your next smoothie naturally by freezing coconut milk (for added magnesium, dietary fiber, and potassium) or almond milk (for calcium and Vitamin A) and then popping 1 or 2 cubes into your blender.
Never has eating vegetables been so convenient. Puree and freeze literally any veggie or combination of veggies, and use them in everything. Add them to your smoothie, sneak them into a batch of brownies, stir them into soups, mix them up with a gluten-free pasta dish. This is a great trick for anyone who knows they need to get more vitamins, but can’t otherwise make the habit. Easily add a variety of nutrients to your diet, only depending on what kinds of veggies you use!
Have you tried any of these before? Which one’s your favorite?
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