The Good and Bad of Summer’s Frozen Desserts

Chocolate Swirl Ice CreamWho doesn’t crave a frozen treat during the hot summer months? Summer ice cream treats are an American tradition! But do you know what you’re really eating? Most frozen treats are laden with saturated fat and packed with calories, so next time you go to unwrap that popsicle, check out the nutritional information – you may be very surprised! So, how do you satisfy your craving without ruining your diet?

Know Your Fat Facts,
Look Before You Lick.

Check out the label to see exactly how much fat you’re eating with every scoop. Keep in mind that most ice creams have 18 to 21 grams of fat per 1/2 cup, that’s a baby scoop at the most! And sadly that could be half the fat that you should have in one day depending on how active you are, so ice cream is a treat that should be savored on special occasions.

Make Better Choices

Ok – it’s not a special occasion and your local ice cream truck just rolled up. The hauntingly beautiful jingle song is calling out to you along with all the kids in your neighborhood – quick, do you choose the Choco-Taco or the Real Fruit Bar? Which one is the better option? I think most of us know the answer to that one! But what if you don’t like fruit bars? There are plenty of other low-fat options, from sherbets to sorbets, and ices available at your local grocery store. Once you’ve got the fat facts down, you’ll be more tempted to reach for the healthier choice in your own freezer, even when you hear the ice cream truck outside.

Ice Cream Vs. Frozen Yogurt

Is frozen yogurt always the better choice? Again, be a slender sleuth and check the label. Most frozen yogurts won’t save you a ton on calories but you will save loads of fat. So what about all that sugar? If it’s an occasional treat, no worries, but if you are in the habit of cracking open your freezer 3 to 4 times a week, consider making your frozen treat yourself by starting with plain, non-fat yogurt. You can control the amount of sugar while choosing the sweetener. Rule out the long list of preservatives and additives like high fructose corn syrup. Instead, add something that is sweet but that also has nutritional value like fresh berries, fruit juice, or applesauce. By mixing it yourself, you can make it special with non-fat extracts, instant coffee, and/or one low-fat crumbled cookie of your choice.

Portion Control Patrol

My husband, whose metabolism is always in hyper-drive, has no concept of portion control. I bust him on a regular basis – positioned in front of the TV with a pint of ice cream scooping it directly from the carton into his mouth. Ice cream goes down so smoothly, but a moment on the lips could cause expanding hips! Well, at least for me! Since ice cream goes down so easily, it’s so hard to tell the difference between one half a cup and a whole cup, unless you measure before you start! Make it even easier for yourself and buy a small bowl that only measures one cup.

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  • Snack time doesn’t mean that you have to load up on fat and calories. My friend Leslie, a New York City nutritionist, has great ideas for afternoon snacks.
  • Want to invent your own exotic frozen yogurt flavor? Why not try adding a handful of goji berries or sprinkling in some lavender buds and vanilla extract?

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