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Get the real scoop: how eating ice cream can be healthy for you

healthy ice cream coneIce cream. Who wants ice cream? Who doesn’t love ice cream? Well there are a few of you out there who don’t consume 23 pounds of ice cream per year. Even though ice cream doesn’t love me, I do still love it. I wish it wasn’t a one-way relationship. So what is the real scoop on ice cream – can you indulge in it and eat healthier at the same time? Is there such a thing as healthy ice cream?

What makes ice cream so loveable?

Smooth, creamy ice cream tastes so delicious, especially in the hot dog days of summer, but really any time of year. It comes in 1,000 different flavors according to one article, but I think our options are limitless.

Ice cream evolved from other frozen desserts, including a treat resembling today’s sherbet. According to this article, ice cream was born in the 16th century and the first flavor was not vanilla, but of fruit and nut persuasion. In 2015, U.S. companies made more than 898 million gallons of regular ice cream, which is the most popular category of frozen dessert, not surprisingly (International Dairy Foods Association).

The basic ingredients for ice cream include milk, cream and sugar. Some recipes call for eggs or egg yolks, vanilla or salt. And of course, you can go crazy after that, adding your flavors of choice.

But today’s packaged ice cream often contains so many other ingredients that aren’t good for you, and don’t necessarily even add to the deliciousness of this originally simple treat.

At first, we start with the basic ingredients for a popular vanilla brand. Not too shabby.

blue bunny healthy ice cream ingredients

 

 

 

Then we add a few other ingredients. Not as good.

prairie farms ice cream ingredients

 

Start adding simple flavors, such as chocolate, and it goes downhill quickly.

 

When shopping for ice cream, look for the brands with minimal ingredients and without corn syrup (high or low fructose). Also avoid all artificial sweeteners including Splenda and aspartame. If you can’t pronounce any ingredients, just avoid it.

Meanwhile, when wanting to make ice cream into an outing, do a little research to find out what that local shop uses in its ice cream. Make your outing a chance to support local producers who use wholesome, non-GMO ingredients.

Ice cream intolerance…does healthy ice cream exist?

Where there is a will, there is a way. If ice cream causes tummy troubles, headaches or skin issues, you’ll have to do some extra homework.

Experiment with different brands. Start by choosing ones without corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients.

If you’re dairy intolerant, try a coconut or rice milk version of ice cream. Still be sure to check for other not-so-good ingredients.

Better yet, have some fun and make your own healthy ice cream. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You’ll know exactly what it’s made of. And you can even get some healthy ingredients from it.

So here’s the fun stuff. I’ve made the banana ice cream recipe below. The kids and husband loved it.

Experiment with these and report back with your opinions. No ice cream maker needed! It’s summertime, hot and sticky – the perfect time for ice cream done easily!

So you see, it is possible to indulge in healthy ice cream. Just find a version that works for you, and enjoy!

Want more about healthier desserts? Check out my blog “Discover the truth about dark chocolate vs milk chocolate”.

 

*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. 

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Switch to healthy snacks

If your home is stocked with the “normal” snacks, it’s time to clean out and restock with healthy snacks. Getting in the habit of grabbing healthy snacks will help make choosing healthier meals more habitual, too.

Identifying the usual unhealthy snacks

According to this article on insidermonkey.com, a 2015 study done by Produce for Better Health Foundation revealed these top 10 snacks consumed by Americans:

  1. candy
  2. fruit
  3. gum
  4. chips
  5. breath mints/strips
  6. ice cream
  7. nuts
  8. cookies
  9. bars
  10. crackers

Though we don’t think of gum and mints as a snack, some of the ingredients do flow into our digestive system. And unless you go out of your way to find brands without, you are probably ingesting aspartame or other artificial sweeteners being studied as potential contributors to cancer.

So think twice about chewing gum or letting your kids chew gum as often, if at all. Maybe this will also help reduce any extra coffee intake after you brush your teeth in the morning!

Converting to healthy snacks

If we could convert our usual go-tos to healthy snacks, the top 10 list of snacks consumed by Americans might look like this:

  1. fruit
  2. veggies
  3. carrots
  4. home-made (paleo even better) chips or crackers
  5. organic mint
  6. organic yogurt
  7. organic raw nuts
  8. paleo cookies
  9. organic bars
  10. raw veggies

Our new list is not ranked based on healthiness, but is showing how healthy snacks can replace not-so-healthy snacks and still sooth our cravings. Also, if we substitute veggies for more than one craving, we are more likely to reach the ideal 50% of veggies in our diets.

Let’s expand.

  1. Fruit can satisfy chewy, crunchy, tart or sweet just as well as candy. Think clementines, dates, apples, grapes, pears and berries.
  2. If fruit is your #2, that’s a great start. But switch to raw or steamed vegetables and you’re choosing even smarter. Peppers and cucumbers are sweet!
  3. Crunching on raw carrots helps clean food out of your teeth and can sooth the need to chew. Great for the car ride!chips healthy snacks
  4. Bake your own sweet potato, root, apple or plantain chips – your choices are endless.
  5. Buy more organic breath mints (you may have to look online) or chew on a sprig of mint or parsley from your spice garden.
  6. Have fun adding healthy toppings to organic yogurt or making healthier versions of popsicles, organic ice cream or even paleo or dairy-free ice cream. Find tons of recipes online.
  7. Nuts are fantastic! Buy organic, raw nuts for the most health benefits. Definitely avoid added sugars or salt.
  8. Organic or paleo cookies will help you avoid additives and food dyes while satisfying the taste for chewy deliciousness.
  9. Make your own bars or trail mix using organic dried fruit, raw nuts and raw seeds.
  10. Raw veggies make delicious crunchy dippers. Try peppers, snap peas, cucumber slices, carrots, zucchini slices and more with nut butters, organic hummus or healthy cheeses. Steam veggies first for easier digestion.

Start by replacing your own #1 unhealthy snack with a healthy one and replace another one each week. Or go cold turkey and clean out your cupboards pronto. Whichever way works best for you, your body will surely thank you for feeding it healthy snacks!

 

*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.