5 Tips for Healthier Ice Cream

Ice cream is a hallowed part of summer, but it’s not always healthy. Make the most nutritious choices with these tips and recipes.

Sundaes, frozen yogurt, ice cream sandwiches. In all its forms and flavours, ice cream—and its derivatives—is one of the coolest parts of summer. I still get a little excited when the jingle of an ice cream truck reaches my ears, trained like Pavlov’s dogs to anticipate a mouth-watering reward. Sadly, our favourite frozen desserts aren’t always healthy.

July is National Ice Cream Month, and we don’t want you to miss out on the most delicious cause of brain freeze. Here are five tips to help you keep your cool while choosing the healthiest frozen treats.

1. Scan the ingredients list

When it comes to ice cream, simple is best. The ideal store-bought ice cream may include dairy, eggs, vanilla, and perhaps a small amount of natural sweetener. Flavours besides vanilla, such as chocolate or coconut, may have additional ingredients. In any case, steer clear of artificial flavours and preservatives.

2. Cast away carrageenan

Carrageenan, for example, is commonly used as an emulsifier in ice cream and other dairy products. This seaweed-sourced additive may seem safe, but researchers have raised concerns that it may cause inflammation and bloating—and who wants that?

3. Think beyond dairy

For those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, options abound. Many food stores stock an array of frozen desserts made with soy, coconut, and almond milk. Keep in mind, however, that the healthy ice cream rules still apply. Check the ingredients and sugar content, and avoid eating an entire tub in one sitting (post-breakup benders notwithstanding).

When I’m craving something icy, my go-to choice is frozen kefir. This fermented favourite boasts digestion-boosting bacteria and a tangy taste that’s reminiscent of Greek yogurt. Again, make sure to avoid additives such as nonfat milk powder, stabilizers such as gelatin, and artificial sweeteners or colours.

4. Opt for organic

We know the importance of buying organic fruits and veggies, but should we really buy organic ice cream? You bet. Choosing organic options minimizes our exposure to chemicals such as atrazine, a pesticide that’s often used on livestock feed. Small amounts of atrazine can then end up in meat, eggs, and dairy products such as ice cream.

5. Make your own

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … DIY ice cream! A well-known trick for one-ingredient, instant ice cream is to blend one or two frozen bananas in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Seriously, that’s all there is to it—and the end result is as satisfying as store-bought treats.

Beyond the frozen banana trick, the following recipes create creamy, dreamy, and surprisingly easy-to-make ice cream:

  • Frozen Chocolate Banana Delights are tiny, elegant, and use only four ingredients.
  • Cherry Frozen Yogurt is the perfect mix of tangy and sweet; store-bought fro-yo can’t compete!
  • Fresh Strawberries with Yogurt Maple Mint Ice use in-season strawberries and fresh peppermint for an elegant presentation that would fit right in at a summer dinner party.
  • Lemon Gelato is a light, simple treat made with creamy blended coconut and tangy lemon juice.
  • Jamaican Ginger Beer Sherbet owes its smooth creaminess to a surprise ingredient: silken tofu.


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