What Is the Best Ice Cream Nutritionally?
EatingWell's picks for the healthiest ice creams and worst ice creams.
With so many frozen-dessert options, it's easy to get brain freeze trying to pick one. EatingWell melts the mystery to deliver the real scoop on which one's the best nutritionally. -Megan McLean
Pictured Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
The Worst Choice: Super-Premium Ice Cream
Essentially iced cream-the primary ingredient is cream.
200-250 calories, 8-10 grams sat. fat per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Healthier Ice Cream Recipes to Try: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and 22 More Healthy Homemade Ice Cream Recipes »
Pictured Recipe: Creamy Chocolate Gelato »
Traditionally made as custard with whole milk and egg yolks, some gelatos today also contain a hefty dose of cream, which adds calories and fat, so choose wisely.
170-220 calories, 2-7 g sat. fat per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Healthier Gelato Recipe to Try: Creamy Chocolate Gelato »
Pictured Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
Premium Ice Cream
This is your standard ice cream. It's lighter than super-premium because some of the cream is replaced with evaporated, condensed or powdered milk. Check the nutrition and ingredient information-its packaging is nearly identical to super-premium.
130-150 calories, 4-5 g sat. fat per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Healthier Ice Cream Recipes to Try: Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream and 22 More Healthy Homemade Ice Cream Recipes »
Pictured Recipe: Avocado Ice Cream »
Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
For frozen desserts made from rice milk, soymilk, coconut milk and tofu, the calories and saturated fat vary with the base (coconut-milk varieties have the most sat. fat; soy-based ones often have the least).
130-210 calories, 0-7 g sat. fat per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Pictured Recipe: Chocolate Malt Ice Cream
Slow-Churned Ice Cream
More air is incorporated into "churned" ice cream when it's made, which is why it has half the fat and one-third fewer calories than premium ice cream. Label aliases include smooth-, double- and light churned, and churned light.
100-110 calories, 2 g sat. fat per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Healthier Ice Cream Recipes to Try: Chocolate Malt Ice Cream and More Homemade Ice Creams »
Pictured Recipe: Watermelon Sorbet
Though primarily fruit-based, nonfat and lower-calorie, sorbet can deliver a lot of added sugars. Look for ones with fruit first in the ingredient list to skirt some added sugars.
120-140 calories, 0 g sat. fat per 1/2 cup for various fruit flavors.
Sorbet Recipes to Try: Mango Sorbet, Peach Sorbet & More Homemade Sorbet Recipes »
Pictured Recipe: Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt
The Healthiest Choice: Frozen Yogurt
Calorie-wise, nonfat fro-yo is the best choice. To ensure you're getting some good-for-you probiotics with your dessert, look for the National Yogurt Association Live & Active Cultures seal (on packaging and in shops), though fro-yo delivers about a tenth of what unfrozen yogurt offers.
90-100 calories, 0 g sat. fat (nonfat) per 1/2 cup vanilla.
120-180 calories, 1-1.5 g sat. fat (low-fat) per 1/2 cup vanilla.
Healthy Frozen Yogurt Recipes to Try: Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt and More Frozen Yogurt Recipes »