When you’re eating right and exercising, is there anything worse than hearing the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck as it loops around your neighborhood?
Despite your best efforts to remain healthy, sometimes you can’t fight a sugar craving. It’s like the universe is trying to derail your efforts and good decisions.
But as you guys know, I’m a firm believer in finding a healthy balance.
When you get just one small taste of “the good stuff” (aka sugar!), your brain releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that raise your energy levels and flood your body with feel-good sensations.
These feelings make us overeat the sweet stuff, creating more sugar cravings, and make it hard to stay on track. Let this cycle snowball even further and you’ll literally become addicted to sugar.
This is why you can’t have just one bite of that ice cream sandwich, or one spoonful of that pint from the grocery store.
Today we’re going to talk about three of my favorite ice cream treats currently on the market.
Unlike traditional ice cream, these sweets are free of overly processed sugars, chemicals, and fake additives. They’re also low in calories so the occasional craving won’t ruin all your hard work.
If you think healthy ice cream sounds about as possible as seeing a unicorn, get ready to be amazed!
Healthy Ice Cream with Halo Top
I have to admit that I came across Halo Top thanks to Instagram.
When fitness models and athletes started gushing about finally being able to eat ice cream without feeling guilty, I knew I had to learn more.
Touted as “healthy ice cream”, Halo Top is made with only natural ingredients and is low in calories, high in protein, and low in sugar—but tastes just like traditional, fattier ice creams.
Take a look at their comparisons to other not-so-healthy yet popular alternatives:
As you can see, Halo Top is a fraction of what you’d be eating with traditional ice creams.
It can have as much as double the protein, 25% fewer carbs, an eighth of the fat, and almost 60–75% fewer calories than other pints on the shelf.
And those three digit numbers you see on the front side of the carton are the calorie amounts for the entire pint, not just one serving.
So even if you decided to demolish the whole thing, you’d still be looking at one serving size of a normal, high-fat ice cream. Now, I don’t recommend polishing off pints here, but if it happened once in awhile, you wouldn’t hate Halo Top the next day.
How is this even possible?
Halo Top uses organic stevia and erythritol to sweeten their tasty treats.
We talked about stevia in this article, so without going over too much again, let’s just say that stevia can help lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and helps diabetics. When used in ice cream, it’s a great natural sweetener.
Erythritol, on the other hand, is a new sweetener currently gaining popularity in the states.
What is erythritol?
Erythritol is technically a sugar alcohol.
No, it doesn’t contain the same alcohol as the kind we drink. The alcohol in erythritol is like the kind that’s found in fruits like grapes and even some fermented foods.
While it’s new to the US, it’s been used in other countries such as Japan for quite some time now.
According to the makers of Halo Top, “Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating,” which are some of the chief complaints most of us experience after eating ice cream sweetened with real or artificial sugar.
Even though more research is still needed on erythritol, a study published in PLOS ONE noted that “it doesn’t appear to be toxic to humans. Erythritol is generally recognized as safe, but consuming it in large amounts may cause some side effects.”
So don’t go overboard with your Halo Top. From experience, this is certainly easier said than done since they have a smorgasbord of delicious flavors that are each better than the next.
On top of that, though these two sugar-alternatives are actually sweeter than regular ol’ sugar, they don’t jack up the calorie or sugar count. So for less calories, you actually get more to satisfy your sugar craving without the spike of insulin—which is clearly a better bang for your buck.
Now the key with Halo Top is to leave it on the counter for about 10–30 minutes (depending on your preference) so it has a chance to soften up.
Because Halo Top doesn’t use artificial preservatives, you’ll notice that it freezes over more than typical ice creams. So it’s best to be patient and actually let your treat thaw before enjoying it. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!
Another sweet snack that’s miles better when thawed: ARCTIC ZERO pints.
These delicious desserts range from 150–300 calories per pint.
If you pick up a pint that’s 150 calories, a serving size is a whopping 35 calories, making it the perfect indulgence for anyone watching their daily calorie intake.
ARCTIC ZERO is also fat free, lactose and gluten free, certified Kosher, and GMO free. It even ranks as a low glycemic food.
The creators of ARCTIC ZERO claim their treats are “perfect zero-guilt pleasure” and are crafted with premium ingredients that don’t include artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors.
So let’s take a look at what’s inside these guys:
- Whey protein concentrate.We talked about the benefits of whey in this article.
- Plant-based stabilizers to keep the consistency creamy (instead of artificial stabilizers)
- Monk fruit concentrate, a natural, low glycemic sweetener that’s packed with antioxidants, as mentioned on their site.
- Added cane sugar for extra sweetness. Per their site, it’s “GMO-free organic cane sugar [that’s] sun-sweetened in Florida.”
- Dash of sea salt
- Plant-based natural flavors
- Triple filtered and purified water
- GMO-free fiber, specifically: “Chicory root, known for its prebiotic and blood-sugar-stabilizing properties, [which] is a soluble fiber that comes from a native Mediterranean plant. Sugarcane fiber is an insoluble fiber and helps to aid in digestion.”
ARCTIC ZERO also has a plethora of tasty flavors to choose from.
I’d say that the biggest difference between Halo Top and ARCTIC ZERO is the texture.
Halo Top is much smoother and richer-tasting than ARCTIC ZERO. However, ARCTIC ZERO is like a slightly creamier version of Italian ice, even though the taste is all ice cream. You can’t go wrong with either.
So Delicious Dairy Free Treats
The last frozen dessert on our list will make you sing if you’re a vegan or following a dairy-free diet. Although you’ll probably love the taste of this treat even if you’re not!
While their calorie counts aren’t as low as the first two treats on our list, they still come in at less than half the calories, fat, and sugar of traditional ice creams.
Here’s how a pint of their Mocha Almond Fudge breaks down:
You’ll notice that the ingredients in this pint are all made from pronounceable and whole ingredients, like almonds, coconut oil, and even coffee.
The sweetness comes by way of organic dried cane syrup and fudge sauce, which is made from a combination of cane sugar, water, organic cocoa, tapioca starch, and natural flavor.
In addition, the So Delicious dessert line has continuously expanded so you can now get ice cream made from:
- Cashew milk
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
With so many options, those with allergies or dietary limitations will still be able to enjoy that ice creamy goodness whenever they want.
So Delicious carries a line of pints, but they also have ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars—made from the same dairy-free alternatives as the pints—which are genius for anyone struggling with portion control.
As with anything in life, moderation is still key here.
Yes, you can technically eat an entire pint with less guilt, but that doesn’t mean you should. This post was not a free pass to the all-you-can-eat healthy ice cream buffet.
For me, these little indulgences are nice to keep in the freezer for when those sugar cravings strike unexpectedly. Remember, just because they’re healthier doesn’t mean it’s any easier to practice self-control.
Luckily, since the ingredients in these treats are not overly processed chemicals or full of sugar, you won’t have as many cravings to battle as you would if you splurged on more conventional ice creams.
Have you tried any of the sweet treats on my list? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments!