Who doesn't love an ice cream on a hot summer's day? But if you're trying to eat healthier, it can be a rather 'expensive' choice in terms of calories, fat and sugar. Well, I'm pleased to tell you, that doesn't have to be the case!
Like many other foods, some ice creams have undergone a nutrition makeover, transforming from high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie indulgences, into high-protein, high-fibre, all natural and lower-calorie treats. There's also an array of plant-based options to choose from now, for those wanting to go dairy-free.
While traditional ice creams provided nothing more than a hefty dose of sugar and saturated fat to our diet, these new products on the market offer something different – ingredients that might actually be good for you! Here's my pick of the best alternatives.
This super low-calorie ice cream pumps up the protein while slashing the sugar content, to offer a 'guilt-free' ice cream treat. It also has added fibre for an additional nutrition plus! Despite its reduced sugar and fat levels, this tastes so delicious you'd never know. If you're the type of person who doesn't stop until you hit the bottom of the tub, this one's for you. They also offer dairy-free options for anyone choosing plant-based too!
This product aims to offer a lower-calorie and sugar option, without compromising on taste. Despite its low sugar level compared to traditional varieties, this ice cream doesn't include artificial sweeteners to help boost the sweetness, instead opting for natural ones. The biggest selling point is that Oppo ice cream uses only naturally-derived ingredients and swaps traditional ingredients, such as caramel, for natural ones such as fruit that add sweetness as well as nutrients. They also offer vegan options for those choosing plant-based!
Marketed as 'Britain's first carbon negative ice cream', this brand is all about sustainability. They offer a range of different products, from plant-based ice creams to lower-calorie versions of your favourites. If you're watching the calories, opt for one of their lower-calorie choices. Avoiding animal products? Then choose from one of the many vegan plant-based options. This product is great for anyone wanting to help the planet, while also giving themselves a tasty treat!
While not the lowest in calories, this product is plant-based, all natural and contains fibre for good measure – so it has a lot of other stuff going for it! Currently the brand only offers one flavour of ice cream in a tub, and a couple in lolly form. But if you're looking for a cooling ice cream this summer that's plant-based and all natural, then give this one a try!
This very refreshing ice lolly is over 60% pure strawberries, making it a lower calorie and healthier choice than those made with more free sugars. In fact all of the fruit lollies in this range are made with at least 50% fruit and then a little added cream or fruit juice, plus some sugar. The ingredients list is super short for this brand, so a great choice for those preferring a more natural choice.
If you want to indulge but not go the full hog, this lighter Ben & Jerry's range is a great choice. It's not super low-calorie and does contain a fair amount of sugar, but it's definitely a healthier option than traditional B&J's. At half the calories, it's definitely the safer bet if you're prone to sinking the whole tub! And all for the same great taste.
While there are some great choices out there for ice creams with a bit more nutritional benefit, if you still fancy a good old-fashioned '99', that's absolutely fine. As you know, we're all about balance here at Nutracheck. The most important thing is to track your choice in your diary using the app or website. You'll find all the classic favourites in our food database, as well as new scoops on the block – so there's no excuse not to keep tracking!
Nutritionist Emma White (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.