The Scoop on Healthy Ice Cream Choices

ice creamWith the weather getting warmer, ice cream is going to sound better and better. The real question is if you can include ice cream (or something similar) to your diet and still maintain a healthy diet? Well, read on to find out all of your choices and see if any can fit into your healthy ice cream dreams.

What’s the Difference?

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the freezer section of your local grocery store, no doubt you’ve seen that there are many choices when it comes to ice cream. What’s the difference?

  • Frozen yogurt. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, yogurt that has been frozen via a process similar to soft serve ice cream. It’s lower in calories and fat, but not all frozen yogurt is made with active culture, which is one of the benefits of yogurt. Look for a seal that touts “live and active cultures” if you’re looking for the real thing.
  • Gelato. The only difference between this and regular ice cream is the amount of air in it. Ice cream has more air, which means gelato is denser.
  • Ice milk. This is ice cream made with milk that is lower in fat. It’s not as creamy, but it doesn’t have all the calories either.
  • Italian Ice. This is a mix of juice, sugar and water with a flakey texture. They’re fat free and have minimal additives.
  • Sherbet. This is fruit-based but does have milk, gelatin or egg whites in it to thicken it.
  • Slow-churned ice cream. This is light ice cream that undergoes a special process to make it creamier and more like the full-fat version.
  • Soft serve. This is soft ice cream that has more air than regular ice cream. It makes the texture lighter and also makes this lower in fat and calories, but be warned this type of ice cream often contains more fillers and additives.
  • Sorbet. This is softer than sherbet, and is basically fruit and sugar that has been frozen.

Nutrition Facts

You will need to refine your label reading skills in order to really understand what it is you’re getting if you want to include ice cream in your diet. Ice cream does have calcium, but don’t count on it as your primary source. Ice cream has about half the calcium as a serving of milk, which is often lower in fat and calories. Also be on the lookout for added artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners are often used in place of sugar to save on calories but can cause stomach issues if you eat too much.

It’s OK to have a little ice cream when it’s hot outside, you just need to make sure you’re a savvy ice cream consumer!

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Île Saint-Louis, Paris by Umesh Gopinath is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.