HOW TO: Pick the healthiest ice cream

Jun 28 2011 - 9:44am

Selecting a healthier version of ice cream can be confusing with all the options in today's stores. Here's some advice from Gloria Tsang, a registered dietitian and author of the new book "Go Undiet":

Go easy on premium ice cream. "Premium" means higher fat -- typically, between 250 and 280 calories per serving compared to 180 calories for regular ice cream. That's not necessarily bad if you can keep portion size to about half a cup. But choose a lower-fat version if you need several scoops to be happy.

Don't write off low-fat products. If you tried one of these ice creams years ago and hated it, try again. New whipping technology has made many brands much creamier.

Avoid mix-ins and syrups. Extra toppings add up quickly: an ounce of chocolate syrup adds 75 calories, for example, while a blob of whipped cream might be another 45.

Skip the shakes. Large milkshakes from fast-food and chain restaurants can pack as many as 1,500 calories. They also tend to be loaded with fat, sugar and even salt.

Try ice cream alternatives. Frozen yogurt and gelato typically are made with milk instead of cream, which can save 40 to 50 calories per half cup. Most sherbet (about 105 calories per half cup) and sorbet (about 100 calories) is made of fruit puree, sugar and water; sorbet is milk-free, while sherbet has low-fat milk added. Choose one that lists fruit puree as the first or second ingredient.

Skip commercial popsicles. Water is usually the first ingredient and sugar the second -- especially in brands with cartoon characters on the box. Make popsicles at home with real fruit juice instead.

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