Given those long, hot summer days it’s no wonder that July is known as National Ice Cream Month. Ice cream is a refreshing treat on those hot summer days. Did you know that ice cream has been around in America since the 1700’s and the first ice cream parlor opened in New York in 1776? Next to cookies, ice cream is the biggest selling treat in the U.S. and the U. S. is the second largest consumer of ice cream just behind New Zealand.
The only downfall to ice cream? The calories that can quickly add up if not careful. Here are some suggestions on how to indulge in your favorite treat but save calories and fat. 1. Portion control is key. For example, 1 ½ cups of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream has 810 calories and 42 grams of fat versus just having a ½ cup serving which saves you 540 calories and 28 grams of fat! A normal size portion for ice cream is ½ cup so try to stick to that limit.
2. Choose your toppings wisely. The more additional toppings the more the calories and fat start to add up.
3. Have your ice cream in a dish instead of in a cone or waffle cone which can also save calories.
4. Read ice cream labels carefully. There are many different forms of ice cream out there including gelato, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice milk to name a few. Frozen yogurt typically has slightly less fat than regular ice cream but calorie-wise they are comparable. The one benefit of frozen yogurt is that it contains live bacterial cultures which are good for your gut. There are also plenty of low-fat or sugar-free ice cream versions but be cautious as they typically have something else added to them, like fat or sugar, to make them taste as good as the regular version.
5. Go for prepackaged ice cream choices that are portion-controlled already for you which takes out the guessing of how many calories you are eating and limits how much you consume.
With simple changes anyone can make ice cream an enjoyable summer treat without all the extra calories and fat. Try one of these healthier ice cream treats from allrecipes.com
Banana Honey Yogurt Ice
Makes 6 servings
4 bananas, sliced
1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients into a blender. Puree until smooth, then pour into a freezer-safe container. Freeze until nearly solid, then scrape back into blender, and pureed again until smooth. Return to freeze, and freeze until solid.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 147 calories, 4.4 g fat, 3.4 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber, 28 mg sodium
Instant Mango Frozen Yogurt
Makes 6 servings
4 ½ cups diced frozen mango, not thawed
1 ½ cups nonfat plain Green yogurt
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar or brown sugar
Combine mango, yogurt, and sugar in a food processor. Process until smooth and freeze.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 142 calories, 0.5 g fat, 4.1 g protein, 32.7 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber, 50 mg sodium