Got Munchies? Ice Cream & Frozen Goodies Edition

Now that you are all increasing your fruit & veggie intake since reading my last post, it’s only fair we talk about ice-cream and other frozen desserts.

Here are the scenarios. You’re strolling down the freezer aisle and you your child sees the goods. The ice cream. Or while running errands  you “happen” to walk by the new ice cream store that opened in town. Myriads of colorful labels and flavors start infiltrating your brain. What do you do?

Ice cream is made of cream, which is essentially full fat milk plus some more fat, and sugar. Cream and other animal fats are saturated, heart-clogging fats. Ice cream’s one redeeming quality (other than being delicious) is that it has a proportionate amount of calcium to milk. While it may not be the most nutritious food, you can manage to incorporate it into a healthy diet. All ice cream is NOT created equal, and there are ways to make better choices that help cut fat, sugar and calories.

Survivor Tips for Ice Cream:

1. Flavors. The simpler, the better. Caramel swirl, mud tracks, cookies n’ cream, dolce de leche all add sugar, fat and calories. Better choices are coffee, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
2. Cup or cone. My vote is always for the cup. Cones = more sugar, fat and calories.
3. Portion. Keep it to 1 scoop if going solo, 2 scoops if sharing. And, there’s nothing wrong with ordering a kid’s cup.
4. Toppings. This is where it gets ya. Hot fudge, M&M’s, orea crumble (my fav), sprinkles, gummy bears… I think you know where this is going. Yes, they will all make your cup more unhealthy. If you must have crunch try crushed nuts or plain chocolate chips, preferably dark chocolate to get some antioxidants. Many stores now offer fresh fruit toppings (cherries in syrup do not count). Fresh bananas on vanilla ice cream tastes amazing.

It’s all a give n’ take. If you want a crazy flavor, skip the toppings or cone. And, you definitely want to lay down the law with your kids (and yourself) before going into the store. Because once you enter, all ration goes out the door. Negotiate. They can either pick 1 topping or a cone. Or, 2 topping if one is fruit. If they want 2 scoops, they need to share the second scoop with their mama or siblings.

While nothing can replace ice cream, there are some lower fat alternatives that taste good. Just as a general rule of thumb, when companies take out something tasty (fat) they usually compensate by adding in more of something else (sugar or stabilizers). So be careful; if I’ve taught you well, you will read the labels. 

Now for some good ‘ole label comparing (using my favorite frozen-yogurt and sorbet brands):




Choosing fro-yo or sorbet instead of ice cream saves you about 150 calories, 14-16 gm of fat and 9-10 gm of saturated fat per 1/2 cup. That’s a big difference. Sorbet tends to be higher in sugar (in this case by 1-5 gm) to compensate for the lack of fat. I like Sharon’s sorbet because it’s really just fruit + sugar + stabilizers. Benefits of fro-yo are its active cultures, which are the  “good bacteria” that help with digestion and its whey protein concentrate that make it higher in satiating protein. But remember, frozen yogurt and sorbet still have calories and sugar so try to stick with the survivor tips above.

Oh yea, and my thoughts on Tasti-D Light? Tastes like a bomb of chemicals melting in my mouth. I’d much rather sorbet, fro- yo or smaller cup of ice cream any day.


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