Raise you hand if you don’t love ice cream. It’s one of the highlights of summer (and all year long, for some of us). Unfortunately, it’s a treat comes with a lot of nutritional baggage. As its name implies, ice cream is made with cream, which is loaded with fats and saturated fats. It’s rich in calories and sugars, and that’s what makes it so tasty. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should abstain. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices this summer.
The first and most important piece of advice is to mind your portion size. Unfortunately, no matter what frozen treat you eat, the serving size always seems too small…
The standard serving size for ice cream is just half a cup. That’s about the size of your fist. If your ice cream has 200 calories per serving and you are tempted to eat a full cup, you will be doubling your calories to 400!
As an addendum to the above, never ever eat ice cream directly from the package it came in. It’s a surefire way to over-consume.
When ordering at an ice cream stand, you’ll almost always be served a large portion. Try to stick with one scoop, or ask for the kid-size option.
Enjoy your ice cream in a bowl or cup, not a cone or other edible instrument. You’ll save 50 to 100 calories.
One way to consume less calories is to opt for low fat or non-fat ice creams. Some taste better than others, but if you do go down this road, read the ingredient list to see what ingredients have replaced the fat. In some cases, they are worse than a full fat ice cream.
If you’re planning on frozen yogurt, you should know that it may not be any lower in calories compared to regular ice cream. Although yogurt sounds healthier than ice cream, it may not have any live and active cultures – which are the main health benefits of yogurt. Read the label to make sure.
Fruit based sorbets or bars are a lower calorie choice. They barely have any saturated fat and taste great. They tend to be very high in sugar, though. Don’t get thrown by “made with real fruit”. Read the ingredient list to make sure that fruit is the first ingredient.
Ice pops are low in calories because they are mostly water, sugar, and colors. Read the ingredient list to avoid products with artificial colors, which may cause hyperactivity in some children.