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15 Diet-Friendly Ice Cream Choices

Get the Scoop on Picking a Healthier Ice Cream
  -- By Leanne Beattie, Health Writer and Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! We are a society of ice cream lovers, with the average American licking her way through almost 5 gallons of the creamy confection each year, according to the Canadian Dairy Info Centre. (Only New Zealanders, at 6 gallons a year, eat more!) With their bright packaging, catchy names and convenient pint-size containers, premium (full fat) brands are readily available in your grocer’s freezer. However there are plenty of reduced-fat and even dairy-free selections to satisfy your cravings. These diet-friendly varieties make it easier to enjoy the occasional scoop while still watching your waistline.

An Ice Cream Primer
Before we figure out which brands are best, let's get the scoop on ice cream, fro-yo and all those other icy treats you know and love. <pagebreak> Nutrition Facts
A little research (and label reading) is in order if you want to keep ice cream as a regular part of your diet. Here's what you need to know. Indulge in a Better Ice Cream
So what should you look for when you want to indulge in a creamy dessert but not go overboard? SparkPeople dietitian, Becky Hand, recommends checking the nutrition label and choosing a frozen dessert that meets these guidelines per 1/2 cup serving: <pagebreak> Remember to keep portions small. A pint of ice cream is not a single serving; it's FOUR servings. If you eat an entire pint, you have to multiply the number of calories, fat grams, etc. listed on the label by four. Stick to portions the size of half a tennis ball, and always scoop your ice cream into a small bowl instead of eating it directly from the container to prevent overeating. And use a teaspoon rather than a tablespoon to take smaller bites.

If you want total control over what goes into your ice cream, consider buying your own ice cream maker. Experiment with the recipes that come in the package, adding your own fresh fruit to create a treat that tastes good and is good for you at the same time.

SparkPeople's Picks
The following frozen desserts make good choices; they most closely meet the guidelines above, but several other brands and varieties might also fit the bill, even if not listed here.

Frozen Dessert (and Serving Size) Calories Fat
Whole Fruit No Sugar Added Sorbet (1/2 cup) 60 0
Healthy Choice Fudge Bars (1 bar) 80 1
Breyers Double Churned 98% Fat Free ice cream (1/2 cup) 90 2
Dreyer’s or Edy’s Fat Free frozen yogurt (1/2 cup) 90 0
Blue Bunny Fat Free frozen yogurt (1/2 cup) 100 0
Turkey Hill Fat Free frozen yogurt  (1/2 cup) 100 0
Skinny Cow Low-Fat Fudge Bars (1 bar) 100 1
Breyers Double Churned Light ice cream (1/2 cup) 100 4
Dreyer's or Edy's Slow Churned Light ice cream(1/2 cup) 110 4
So Delicious Dairy Free Neapolitan frozen dessert (1/2 cup) 120 3.5
Haagen-Daz Sorbets (1/2 cup) 120-130 0
Good Humor Sherbet (1/2 cup) 130 1
Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches (1 sandwich) 140 1.5-2.5
Rice Dream non-dairy frozen dessert (1/2 cup) 150 6
Tofutti Premium non-dairy frozen dessert (1/2 cup) 170 9

Ice cream is by no means a health food or a vital component of a healthy diet. But it is a simple pleasure most people wouldn't want to give up. Remember these tips next time you plan to indulge to keep yourself in check.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Licensed and Registered Dietitian, Becky Hand.