Remember when choosing an ice cream meant picking between chocolate, strawberry or vanilla? Or perhaps sherbet instead of ice cream? Well, times sure have changed! The ice cream aisle in the average supermarket is now a plethora of variety not only in flavors, but in types, as well.
If you are reading this, you are one who wants to make smarter choices in the foods you eat. This E-book will be the best guide for you in choosing the right selection from the vast array of possibilities in the frozen dessert category.
In the 1980's, premium ice creams became all the rage. Soon to follow were low-fat, fat-free. light, sorbet - isn't food selection difficult enough? You bet it is! For your convenience, there are charts at the end of the E-book for each different type of ice cream. If in doubt, print your choice out and take it with you to the supermarket. Let's face it, most of us enjoy our frozen dessert of choice in the heat of summer. And we should be able to enjoy them! Well, now you can - guilt free. So, read on, learn and enjoy your summer treats - and your summer!
First, we'll go over the guidelines used in this eBook in determining what is good and what is bad in frozen desserts. The guidelines adhered to are as follows:
No more than 300 calories per cup
No more than two grams of saturated fat per cup
"Honorable Mentions" can have three or four grams of saturated fat
No limit can be set on sugar because labels only list total sugar, which includes added sugar plus the naturally occurring sugar in the milk and any fruit in the ice cream, sorbet, etc. Products made with artificial sweeteners are disqualified entirely because they need more safety testing.
A word to the wise: Labels give calories, saturated fat, calcium and other numbers for just one-half cup - slightly less than the size of a tennis ball. Since 1-cup is a more realistic serving size for most, the information enclosed will be based on 1-cup servings. If you are a "one-scooper", simply cut the numbers in half.
If you would like less to seem like more, serve your ice cream in a cone or in the small bowls people typically use for pudding. Sherbet, sorbets and most soy desserts are a decent source of calcium. They average about 200mg per cup. Some frozen yogurts such as Haagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, Mayfield and Stonyfield Farm hit 300 to 400mg. Breyers, thanks to added calcium, contains 600mg in their Calcium Rich Natural Vanilla and Dreyer's Frozen Yogurt reaches 600mg as well. (Dreyer's is called "Edy's" in the eastern United States).
To say upscale ice cream is a splurge is an understatement. A cup of Ben and Jerry's World's Best Vanilla has 500 calories and 32 grams of fat, 22 of them saturated. (Equal to 2g more than a day's worth of saturated fat). Some "gelatos", Italian for ice cream, follow suit. Once companies add fudge, truffles, caramel, brownies and toffee, you are lucky to get away with only 500 calories a cup. This new "ice cream-plus" category that will put you into plus-size clothing.
Ben and Jerry's Godive, Haagen-Dazs and Dreyer's or Edy's Dreamery line all load some of their flavors with enough extras to deliver around 600 calories a cup. Haagen-Dazs's Chocolate Peanut Butter hits 720 calories. You could dig into a Big Mac (note please, this is not recommended!) instead and save 125 calories and half a day's saturated fat. Let's move on to the breakdown of the different types of frozen desserts.
Breyers is a typical "regular" ice cream. It has less fat than the higher priced ice creams because it contains more air and less cream. Breyer's regular vanilla clocks in at 280 calories a cup and 18 grams of fat, ten of them saturated. The same applies to Dreyer's or Edy's Grand or Home made lines, Green's and Turkey Hill.
When the Oreo's, M&M's, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and other extras start dropping in, the numbers climb into the 300's. A few, like Dreyer's or Edy's Peanut Butter Twix, hit 420 calories. Think of them as a sirloin steak in a cone.
Most non-athletes should be eating a 2,000-calorie diet daily. Consuming 500 to 600 calories for a cup of ice cream is one heck of a splurge.
"Light" ice creams typically have half the fat of regulars. They are not a bad choice if low-fat ice creams leave you cold. The calories drop to about 200 for vanilla and stay in the high 200's for the fancier flavors.
The real savings may not show up until a future check-up, when your doctor is impressed with your youthful arteries. Lights rarely have more than six grams of saturated fat per cup and some have only three or four grams - enough for that "Honorable Mention". Among the best choices are:
Breyer's All Natural Light Natural Vanilla
Breyer's Light French Vanilla
Breyer's Light Vanilla-Chocolate-Strawberry
Dreyer's or Edy's Grand Light Cookies 'N Cream
The first tidbit to take not of regarding frozen yogurt is to never assume it is low in calories. Due to extras and less air, Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs's frozen yogurts typically start with calories in the mid-300's and end in the mid-400's. Saturated fat ranges from three to eight grams per cup. This is nowhere near the companies' ice creams, but doesn't qualify as diet food, either.
Ben & Jerry's Phish Food or Haagen-Dazs's Chocolate-Chocolate Chip can run you 460 calories a cup and eight grams of saturated fat. That is equal to Breyers Natural Strawberry ice cream plus 200 calories. However, Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs are the exceptions. Most "regular" frozen yogurts have slightly more sugar than light ice creams. Breyers Natural Vanilla, for example, has 240 calories and six grams of fat, just three of them saturated, which gets it an "Honorable Mention".
The majority of frozen yogurts are not regular. They are either low fat or fat-free, which knocks the calories down to the mid-200's and the saturated fat into the "Honorable Mention" category. Among the best choices are:
Cascadian Farm Chocolate
Edy's Fat Free Coffee Fudge Sundae
Turkey Hill Fat Free Mint Cookies 'N Cream
It is difficult to find a true, low fat ice cream these days but a few brands have some excellent choices. Healthy Choice's entire line, from the Happy Together and Double Karma to the Chocolate Cherry Mambo and Dulce de Leche are excellent choices.
Starbuck's fabulous Low Fat Latte line, while a bit high in fat,are better than most. They fell only 40 calories short of an "Honorable Mention".
If you can do without the creaminess of sherbet, go with sorbet. The best are made with water, fruit puree and sugar. You do have to watch the claims of the manufacturer, however. For example, Dreyer's or Edy's says its Whole Fruit Boysenberry is "loaded with fruit, not fat". While it is true it contains no fat, it is not true that it is loaded with fruit. It contains more corn syrup and sugar than boysenberries.
Sorbets' calories typically range from about 150 to the mid-200s. Just beware of te saturated fat content (check those labels!) in the coconut sorbets. Dreyer's or Edy's Whole Fruit Coconut, for example, has six grams of fat (five of them saturated). That is thanks to the coconut.
If you wish to avoid dairy foods, or must for health reasons, try a frozen dessert made from soy or rice. Many of them (for reasons unknown!) taste as good as ice cream.
They are also low in saturated fat (exceptions: Soy Delicious Purely Decadent Chocolate Obsession and Peanut Butter Zigzag hit six grams per cup).
The jury is still out as to whether or not soy truly does aid in protecting you from prostate cancer, osteoporosis, breast cancer or menopausal symptoms so do not fall for that claim just yet. In addition, there is not much calcium as there is in ice cream or frozen yogurt. Plus, the term "non dairy" does not qualify as "diet".
Soybeans contain unsaturated fat that can pump up the calories. The unsaturated fat can give the soy products 100 more calories than a regular ice cream like Dreyer's or Edy's. A cup of Premium Tofutti, for example, ranges from the mid-300's to the mid-400's in calories. So do the Soy Delicious Purely Decadents. Other brands, such as Soy Dream and (non-Decadent) Soy Delicious stay between 250 and 300 calories. Rice Dream Supreme delivers 300 to 400 per cup. To reach, say, 200 caloires, you have to go to Low Fat Tofutti.
Among the best choices are:
Soy Delicious Fruit Sweetened Raspberry
Carob Peppermint (think frozen Peppermint Patties)
Sweet Nothings Chocolate
Soy Dream Strawberry Swirl
Now you can enjoy them during summer time and all the time!