If you crave ice cream, you might need to enrich your diet with the nutrients it contains, or you might simply want a cold, sweet treat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume foods like ice cream that are high in sugar and fat only occasionally. Investigate ice cream alternatives to fulfill your craving without compromising your health.
Craving ice cream might mean that you need additional calcium in your diet. Choose one half cup of low-fat frozen yogurt, low-fat milk, or low-fat ricotta cheese with a drizzle of honey to satisfy your urge, and you'll gain the calcium without consuming excessive calories and fat. It might seem counter-intuitive, but a bowl of steamed leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, is also an excellent source of calcium, and could satisfy your craving, too.
Your ice cream craving might be about the sugar. If so, a frozen fruit puree could satisfy you while helping you meet your daily USDA recommended requirement for fruits. Keep a supply of frozen fruits, such as bananas, mangoes and strawberries, handy, to puree in the blender when you need a fix. Alternatively, try a fruit-juice sweetened nonfat yogurt, or one of the many nonfat "dessert" varieties on the market; these are designed to replicate the creamy sweetness of indulgences like ice cream without the health detriments.
Ice cream is a high-fat treat, containing 7 grams in just one-half cup. Additionally, more than half of the fat in ice cream is saturated, known as "bad fat" because it contributes to problems such as hypertension. Nut butters are equally high in fat, but contain more unsaturated, or "good fat," as well as plenty of protein. Spread a piece of whole wheat bread with almond butter to satisfy your craving for a rich, filling snack. Add a smear of all-natural fruit jam for additional sweetness.
Wanting ice cream on a hot summer night makes sense--a scoop or two can cool you down fast. Substitute a cold glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade blended with ice for a frothy, chilling alternative. Iced herbal tea infused with chunks of frozen fruit can also do the trick. Make ice cubes from a variety of colorful fresh fruit juices and add them to pineapple juice for a colorful non-alcoholic cocktail you can serve to guests.
- AARP: "The Coolest Cones: Making Healthy Ice Cream Choices"; Candy Sagon; August 2011
- North Dakota State University: Prairie Fare: July Is National Ice Cream Month; Julie Garden-Robsinson; July 2011
- FamilyDoctor.org: Nutrition: How to Make Healthier Food Choices
- "Consumer Reports"; Ice cream features: How to talk the talk; July 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Vanilla Ice Cream
- USDA Food Groups: Dairy