Snow cones come in two basic varieties: First, there’s the shaved iced concoction that’s popular at summertime fairs and festivals. You typically make them by scooping ice chips into a paper cone and then pouring a sugary syrup over the top for flavor. Some people also take the term literally and scoop wintertime snow into a bowl, cup or paper cone to create a true “snow” cone. Both varieties typically depend on some kind of topping for flavor. What you put into that flavoring determines how healthy the snow cone will be. However, it's also possible to make healthy snow cone-like treats without using ice or snow.
Juice and Gelatin Cones
If you want to avoid the prepackaged sugary syrup toppings, there are ways to make a healthier cone. You can try pouring thawed but undiluted orange juice concentrate over the snow or ice. You can also mix your favorite fruit-flavored gelatin mix with water and pour it over your icy base instead of letting it gel. If you want to avoid sugar, use a sugar-free gelatin mix.
Berry Snow Cones
Another option is to create a syrup from fresh or frozen berries. Using a blender or food processor, puree the fruit and add a minimum amount of sugar or another sweetener like agave syrup or a sugar substitute. The sweeter the fruit, the less sweetener you have to add. You can also add a small amount of unsweetened fruit juice to the mix. Pour the berry mixture over a cone or cup of shaved ice.
Juice Snow Cones
For another twist on the traditional snow cone, instead of pouring a syrup over the top, create flavored ice shavings instead. Take any unsweetened juice or nectar that you enjoy, add a bit of sugar or other sweetener if you feel it needs it, and then pour the mixture into ice cube trays. Put the trays into the freezer for at least two hours or until the juice is frozen firm. Once the juice is hard, run the cubes through a snow-cone maker or ice shaver and spoon the shavings into cones or cups. The flavor is packed inside.
Melon Snow Cone
You can also take the "snow" out of the snow cone and use fresh melon to make a snow cone-like treat. Any variety of melon, such as a ripe watermelon or honeydew, will do. Cut the melon in half and use an ice cream scoop to carve out a large ball. Put the melon ball on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and set it in the freezer for no more than an hour. After it's chilled, roll the ball in low-fat vanilla yogurt and some coconut. Garnish with a few sprinkles for color.
Fresh Banana Snow Cone
Another snow cone-like option is to use frozen bananas instead of the ice. Once your bananas are frozen, run them through an ice shaver or snow cone machine. Scoop the banana shavings into your snow cone cup. Top with chopped nuts to add texture to this creamy treat.