National Ice Cream Day the Healthy Way

Did you know that President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month in 1984…or that the average American consumes approximately 48 pints of ice cream per year? Now that’s a lot of ice cream!

Today is National Ice Cream Day, and many of us would agree that the summer months (or life in general) would not be the same without this delicious and creamy frozen dessert. However, indulging too frequently in this beloved tasty treat can wreck havoc on the waistline. The good news is that there are now low-fat versions of just about any ice cream flavor you desire on the market…and they taste great! Ice cream manufacturers have become very creative in finding new churning technologies that allow them to cut calories and fat while maintaining the same ingredients found in full-fat ice creams. Women’s Health magazine conducted a taste test of some of the healthier frozen desserts in the freezer section, and deemed the following brands as the tastiest of them all: Breyer’s ½ the Fat Ice Cream, Blue Bunny Frozen Yogurt, Turkey Hill Light Ice Cream, Edy’s Slow Churned Light Ice Cream, Dreyer’s Slow Churned Yogurt Blends, Dannon Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt, Smart Ones Ice Cream Sundaes, and Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches.

The most important thing to remember about indulging in these frozen goodies is portion control and moderation. Here are a few “grazing” guidelines that will help you enjoy these yummy treats while watching your waistline:

  • Look for a label containing around 120 calories, 4 grams of fat or less, 3 grams or less of saturated fat, and 15 grams of sugar or less per serving.
  • Purchase the single-serving ice cream containers so that you aren’t tempted to spoon out more.
  • Try the single-serving ice cream bars and sandwiches that are already perfectly portioned.
  • Remember that the standard serving for a scoop of ice cream is ½ cup, or about the size of a tennis ball. Portion out this amount of ice cream into a small bowl, and then put the container away…for good!
  • It is perfectly OK to indulge in the full-fat ice cream every once in awhile…just make sure to stick with one scoop and savor every bite! Sometimes denying yourself of the “real thing” can backfire and you might eat more of the substitute.
  • If you go to a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, put the toppings in a bowl first and then top them off with a smaller amount of froyo. Stick to mostly fruit toppings and just a little of the sweet stuff. If you spend more than about $4, you are likely filling your bowl too full!

So now that you have the scoop on summertime’s most fabulous frozen delight, go ahead and visit the ice cream section the next time you are grocery shopping and find a healthy treat to cool off your friends and family while celebrating National Ice Cream Month!

Photo Credit: “Strawberry Ice Cream with Strawberries 01” by Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa - sxc.hu. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

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Tags: × Dakota Howe × Healthy Eating × Ice Cream

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