When summer rolls around, I start looking for the colorful inflatable air dancers—a sure sign of a snow cone stand. For some people, snow cones are nostalgic, a reminder of riding in the back of a pickup as a kid with sunburnt skin and a bright red tongue, evidence of a cherry snow cone. For other people, snow cones are messy, sugary and a waste of quarters. If you’re not a fan of snow cones, here’s eight reasons why you should have one this summer:
1. There is a flavor for every taste bud.
Personally, I’m a pickle person. I enjoy dill pickle-flavored snow cones, sprinkled with sour salt. But I equally enjoy sweet flavors, including wedding cake, silver fox and caramel cheesecake. Whatever your taste buds like, you can be sure there’s a snow cone for you. (If you don’t want to be a whole cup of a flavor you’ve never had, ask for a sampling).
2. They are not all full of sugar.
It is true, unfortunately. Snow cones that are not sugar free contain 41 grams of sugar. According to livestrong.com, “One snow cone with 2 oz. of syrup contains 41 percent of the maximum daily amount of sugar for women and 27 percent for men.” The good news is that you can buy snow cones sugar free! If you’re counting calories this summer, you don’t have to sacrifice snow cones. The shaved ice in a sugar-free snow cone will have a different texture and slightly less-sweet taste, but it’s worth the reduced sugar.
3. They can actually be healthy for you.
Did you know that ice can burn calories? It is a slow process, but it happens nonetheless. Fitness Coach Ben Cohn said the process of your body warming up to the cold temperature of ice requires energy. According to livestrong.com, “Warming ice up to body temperature burns roughly 1 calorie per ounce. This means that you would lose 1 pound by eating 1.5 tons of ice.” That’s not all! Personal trainer Bill Phillips said that “eating ice can help reduce portions. If you eat ice before meals…you will eat less at that meal.” I enjoy eating snow cones the most after an intense workout or day in the sun.
4. They won’t break the bank.
In reality, snow cones are not any more expensive than the average snack. In some cases, they are relatively more affordable. For example, in excluding tax, a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s costs $1.19, while a mini master blast from Sonic costs $3.39. I can purchase a small snow cone (12 oz.) in Duncan and Lawton, Okla., for $1.50. Some snow cone businesses do not even charge tax.
5. You can make them at home.
Snow cone machines vary in price from $30-$400 or more. You can purchase a snow cone machine for your own kitchen from Wal-Mart; the Nostalgia Electrics Vintage Snow Cone Maker costs $32.97. After purchasing a snow cone machine, you can either buy or make your own syrup. According to livestrong.com, you can “make your own snow cone topping by pouring thawed, undiluted orange juice concentrate over shaved ice, suggests Cooks.com. Another lower-calorie alternative is to sprinkle a fruit-flavored gelatin mix over your ice. For a healthy snow cone, blend low-calorie fruit or berries, such as strawberries, and use the puree as a syrup.”
6. They might make you feel like a kid again.
I have countless memories of eating snow cones with my three older sisters. We would get a snow cone on every occasion, whether we were fishing at the lake or shopping with our mom. Even if you don’t have memories of sipping snow cones as a kid, you can make memories now with your younger siblings or children. I know very few kids who don’t enjoy snow cones.
7. You can eat your favorite color.
When I try a new flavor, I’m always excited to discover what color it will be. My favorite color is pink, so if I want a pink snow cone specifically, I can choose from cotton candy, Barbie, pink lemonade, bubblegum and many more! Most snow cone stands will allow you to mix flavors, so you can create colorful snow cones, such as rainbow, which is a combination of banana, cherry and blue coconut.
8. You can pick a snow cone that matches your personality or interests.
The snow cone stand in my hometown features flavors such as Finding Nemo, Batman, Charlie Brown and even local school mascots! You can surprise your friends with snow cone-flavor names that fit their personality.