When the sun shines and temperatures rise, many of us head to the freezer for a cool frozen treat. We love our ice cream. In 2007 each Canadian consumed an average 8.7 litres of the frozen guilty pleasure.
Ice cream is made from heavy cream and some not-so-good-for-you ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup, fudge, and cookie pieces. These tasty additions boost the saturated fat content of some brands of ice cream to more than 10 grams per half cup serving. A number of ice cream products astonishingly contain up to 360 calories, 220 of which are derived from fat!
The good news is that manufacturers have focused their efforts on new healthy recipes and production methods that have created frozen treat options that taste great and won’t compromise your healthy eating habits.
There are so many new health-conscious frozen desserts on the market that a trip to the freezer aisle of your local grocery store can be a confusing experience. From reduced fat, light, low-fat, and nonfat ice creams to frozen yogourts and sorbets, you need to be a frozen treat detective to deduce the best options for you and your family.
New blends of low-fat ice cream generally contain all the taste with half the fat. With varieties that range from light and fat-free classic favourites such as vanilla bean, neapolitan, and chocolate, to more decadent flavours such as cookies and cream, cappuccino chocolate chunk, and chocolate fudge brownie, there’s certainly no shortage of ice cream treats at your local grocery store.
Some companies have created low-fat 100-calorie dessert bars in fudge, caramel, and vanilla flavours. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream sandwiches are also widely available.
Other guilt-free dessert options include vanilla and chocolate sundae cups that contain 0.5 grams of fat and 120 calories per 130 mL (about 1/2 cup) serving.
Frozen yogourt has never tasted better thanks to fabulous flavour combinations such as mixed berry, mint chocolate, cappuccino, and maple walnut. Frozen yogourt still has a rich, creamy texture but contains much less fat—sometimes up to 60 percent less—than regular ice cream.
When comparing frozen yogourt to regular ice cream, there’s no question which product comes out on top. The majority of frozen yogourt has less than 4 grams of fat per 230 gram (8 ounce) serving. Your body will certainly thank you for choosing a less guilty frozen treat.
The case for alternatives
Some of the tastiest frozen treats don’t even contain dairy. Sorbets, which come in flavours such as orange and raspberry, are gluten-, lactose-, cholesterol-, and fat-free. These are especially good options for those on restricted gluten-free, vegan, or low-cholesterol diet plans.
Soy and rice ice creams are another frozen dessert alternative low in saturated fat. Frozen dessert sandwiches similar to ice cream sandwiches but made with tofu are also available in vanilla, strawberry, chocolate peanut butter, and key lime pie flavours. They are milk-, lactose-, and dairy-free and contain no trans fats.
When choosing nondairy products, be sure to check the nutrition labels. Just because a dessert is fat-free or nondairy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s low in calories.
Frozen fruit never disappoints, especially when you’re craving something sweet and juicy. A few tried-and-true favourites are frozen yogourt fruit bars and frozen fruit juice bars. These yummy bars are available in low-fat and fat-free flavours such as strawberry, peach, kiwi, pomegranate, raspberry, and blueberry.
Gelato is also available for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Fat-free and less than 100 calories per half cup serving, flavours such as lemon and mango will tickle your tastebuds and keep you cool in the summer heat.
Celebrate summer with a delectable frozen dessert treat; with the new healthier options available, there’s something for every palate!
Fat or no fat?
|Frozen product||Milk fat content|
|Nonfat (fat-free) ice cream||up to 0.4%|
|Low-fat ice cream||up to 2.5%|
|Light ice cream||5 to 7.5%|
|Ice milk||3 to 5%|
|Ice cream||10 to 16%|
|Sorbet (sherbet)||up to 5%|
How long do frozen treats keep in the freezer? Packaged ice creams and yogourts typically have a shelf life of one year. However, don’t store frozen treats in your freezer for longer than a month. The products are still safe to eat, but their quality and texture may change significantly.
Low fat or reduced fat does not necessarily mean reduced sugar content. Diabetics or people on calorie-restricted diets can choose from many sugar-free options. But always check the label; these products may contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or maltitol.