When you hear these words: vanilla, chocolate chip, chunky monkey, Neapolitan, mint chocolate chip or cookies ‘n cream – what springs to your mind? Ice cream of course! When the temperature climbs, so does our desire for the cold sweet refreshing taste of ice cream. But wait! Isn’t ice cream bad for us? Should we give it up? Maybe that’s not necessary. We have the answers you’re looking for.

… we all scream for ice cream

When it’s hot, we want something cool to eat or drink. And there is very little that sounds as good to many, as ice cream. Maybe the days of a traveling ice cream truck are long gone, but Dairy Queen, Baskin’ Robbins and a host of other ice cream places are hoppin’ busy in the summertime. On average, people in the U.S. eat 14 pounds of ice cream per year.

But you want to eat healthy – right? Here’s a few facts that you may not know about ice cream
  • Ice cream can be addicting. Just like other addictions, the more you eat, the less pleasure you get. Over time, you build up a tolerance to ice cream and need larger amounts to get some satisfaction. Web MD reported that “scientists looked at one group of teens who regularly ate ice cream and another group who didn’t. The ice cream-eaters seemed to be de-sensitized to the milkshakes -- that is, the reward centers in their brains were less active than those of the group that ate ice cream less often.”
  • Ice cream has calories! This is no surprise, although you may be surprised to know that a large vanilla shake has more calories than a large order of fries or two large hamburgers. One large shake at Baskin-Robbins has 1,070 calories and 32 grams of saturated fat. A large order of McDonald’s fries has 540 calories.
  • Light ice cream isn’t healthier than regular ice cream. Although light ice cream has 50% less fat or 33% fewer calories than regular ice cream, it isn’t necessarily a better choice. Read the labels when you’re choosing your “light” option.
  • Skip the waffle cone. Although “sugar cone” has the word sugar in it, a sugar cone has between 60 and 130 calories while a waffle cone has between 120 to 160 calories. A chocolate-dipped waffle cone at Ben and Jerry’s can be 320 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat. The best option is ice cream in a cup or bowl.
  • Avoid “brain freeze.” An ice cream headache happens when something cold hits the warm roof of your mouth. This sets off nerves that control how much blood flows to your head. The nerves cause the blood vessels to swell up and trigger the painful headache. Avoid brain freeze by slowing down when eating!
  • Be cautious with cold fruity drinks (with or without the ice cream). A fruit smoothie can be 300 calories and a chocolate cookie dough milkshake concoction may contain 720 calories with 28 grams of fat! When you’re looking for something low calorie, consider frozen desserts like sherbet, fudge bars or fruit bars.

Healthy Ice Cream Substitutes

If you’ve determined that you should probably skip the ice cream, but are looking for a tasty alternative, try these:
  • Avocado frozen yogurt
  • Avocado ice cream
  • Coconut fig ice cream
  • Coconut ice milk
  • Double dipped chocolate covered bananas
  • Fruit and yogurt cones
  • Greek frozen yogurt
  • Lemon buttermilk sorbet
  • Mixed berry yogurt popsicles
  • Quick frozen yogurt (regular yogurt that you freeze)
These are frozen concoctions you can make yourself. Type the tasty alternative words, such as “fruit and yogurt cones,” into your search engine (we like Google) and the recipes will pop right up. Give them a try!


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