Ice Cream: 6 Tips to Slimming Down Summer’s Special Treat

Ice cream is a special summer treat for family outings.  For many of us, summer is the time we went to the local ice cream shop for a special treat on a hot summer day.  We did this as kids, and now with your own kids, you may be repeating family traditions.  Tradition is wonderful, but if your waistline has expanded, it may be time to go for a slimmed down version of this treat.   In fact, if not careful, you can easily end up with an ice cream calorie equivalent of a whole day’s worth of calories!

Here are six tips to carry on with your ice cream tradition without increasing your waistline:

  • Avoid premium ice creams altogether:  A single 6 oz. scoop of premium ice cream can cost you 500 calories.  Oberweis chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate marshmallow, chocolate almond, butter pecan, butter brickle, chocolate caramel crunch, cookie dough, and strawberry cheesecake flavors can all claim that calorie content!
  • Eat like a little kid:  Calories and fat will always follow portion sizes, so you can either have a bite of someone else’s treat, or get yourself a kids scoop.  A kids scoop is roughly 2.5-3 oz., so you can assume the calories are slashed 50% from the adult version, translating to much more calorie and fat control. 
  • Exercise caution with low-fat ice cream options:  Don’t assume because the ice cream is low-fat that it is fine to have a double scoop!  The Oberweis single scoop low-fat flavors range in calories from vanilla at 250 calories to chocolate marshmallow at 300 calories.  Do the math and you can see how you might still get into a calorie bind by having a double scoop.
  • Avoid the final touches:  Dipping your DQ vanilla cone in chocolate will add anywhere from 100-200 calories to your treat, depending on the size of cone you opt for.  Adding  the candy pieces, whipped cream, and nuts will also give you some additional “energy” to the tune of at least 100 calories.
  • Go for cold alternatives:  Most ice cream franchises have healthier lower fat and calorie options for consumers.  Better options include sorbet, low-fat frozen yogurt, and sherbet.  Single scoop servings of these frosty alternatives may also be significantly lower in calories.  A 4 oz. serving of sorbet can run your calorie tab 80-150 calories.  Many frozen yogurt flavors are 150 calories or less per 4 oz. serving.  While sherbet is virtually fat-free, the calories can start adding up as a 4-6 oz. single scoop of orange sherbet can run as high as 260 calories.  If slashing fat is the objective, sherbet is a good way to go, but the calorie tab may run higher than anticipated.
  • Go to the supermarket instead:  There are so many frozen treats at your supermarket to take advantage of if you are trying to stay slim this summer.  Spend a few minutes looking at the nutrition fact labels and pick a product that suit your palate and nutritional goal.  There are many ice cream-like products hitting the mainstream and specialty grocery stores all the time that are both tasty and fit into anyone’s eating lifestyle.

What do you opt for at the ice cream store?  Can you share the nutrition information of your favorite frozen treat?