Here's what a dietitian has to say.
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Island Way Sorbets In Assorted Fruit Shells, 12 ct from Costco
Credit: Costco

When are we not craving an island vacation? But when we can't physically be there, we trying to incorporate as much tropical flair into our menu as possible. A minty mojito and a side of fresh ceviche tonight? It's like our toes are practically in the sand—even if they're just in a pair of slippers as we sit on the couch.

For a grab-and-go vacation-like dessert, many EatingWell staffers kept a box of the seasonal Costco fave, Island Way Sorbet, in their freezers last summer. (I'm not a card-carrying member myself, but now that I'm aware of these 3 ways to shop at Costco sans-membership, I look forward to following their lead soon!) Now, just in time to deliver belated spring break and early summer flair, the single-serving sorbets are back, according to @costcohotfinds:

What is Island Way Sorbet, Exactly?

Available for $18.65 for 12, these fruit sorbets have been flying off freezer shelves for nearly 20 years. (They're often spotted only seasonally at warehouse stores, but you can also buy party packs at islandwaysorbet.com. A Bay Breeze Combo—featuring 36 tropical-flavored sorbets—is sold for $51.20 online.)

The sweet flavors and cool, creamy consistency are great, but the best news? They can be enjoyed without dirtying any dishes. Each sorbet is served in a related fruit "cup." It's not edible, but can certainly be composted to cut down on the waste you send to the landfill.

Is Island Way Sorbet Healthy?

Made with water, sugar, cow's milk cream, fruit juice concentrates and occasionally coconut milk and stabilizers, the sorbets included in this Costco variety pack vary in flavor and color (naturally) as well as nutrition. Though nutrition data can vary, we referenced Instacart for the most up-to-date information. Here's a quick debrief from lowest to highest in calories.

  • Passionate Mango: Mango and peach sorbet in an orange cup.
    • 70 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 grams of carbs (including 14 grams of sugar) and 0 grams of protein
  • Zesty Pomegranate: Sweet and creamy pink pomegranate juice sorbet in a lemon cup.
    • 70 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 grams of carbs (including 14 grams of sugar) and 0 grams of protein
  • Ruby-Red Berry: A blend of raspberries, strawberries and ruby red grapefruit in a grapefruit cup.
    • 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs (including 24 grams of sugar) and 0 grams of protein
  • Heavenly Coconut: Creamy coconut sorbet in a hard coconut husk cup.
    • 190 calories, 9 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs (including 21 grams of sugar) and 3 grams of protein

"Sorbet is a fruit-based frozen treat. Most sorbets have added sugar and may also include added flavors and colors," explains Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD, registered dietitian and Associate Editorial Director for EatingWell.com. 

When sorbet is made with real fruit, rather than artificial fruit flavors, it will deliver some nutrients, like vitamin C and even some fiber.

"Unlike sherbet, ice cream, custard and froyo, sorbet typically doesn't have dairy mixed in. However, some of Island Way's products do, which is important to note if you're reaching for sorbet because of a dairy allergy."

What a Dietitian Thinks About Island Way Sorbet

If you aren't vegan and do dairy, these sorbets can be a "tasty way to satisfy your sweet tooth, especially in the warmer weather," Seaver says. 

If you're in the mood for dessert—which we firmly believe you can enjoy daily as part of a healthy lifestyle, if you desire—allow yourself to enjoy it without worrying too much about the nutrition, she continues. 

Still, if she could make some tiny tweaks, she'd cut back on the sweeteners since some of these sorbets are fairly high in added sugar.

With less added, "the natural sweetness in the fruit could shine through," she explains. "Plus, the American Heart Association recommends that we cap our added sugar intake to 25 grams per day."

The mango and pomegranate versions are lower in added sugar at 7 and 9 grams each, or about 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. The berry and coconut versions, however, are much higher at 19 grams and 16 grams, respectively, per serving, "which is a quite a lot for a single serving," Seaver says.

With those drawbacks out of the way, Seaver shifts to the benefits of reaching for one of these sorbet cups. 

"The coconut flavor contains a little protein and fat per serving. While it's not much, protein and fat help to slow down digestion, which also helps slow down the rate at which sugar hits your system," she says, which means you may notice less of a sugar rush.

The fact that they're pre-portioned takes the guesswork out of what a serving should be as well, which is key for those of us (🙋‍♀️) who tend to be volume eaters. 

"It's far too easy to serve yourself more than single serving when dishing something like ice cream from a larger container into a bowl.  

In addition to being portion-smart, the price is right at a reasonable $1.50 per cup, Seaver adds.

The Bottom Line

It's absolutely A-OK to eat dessert regularly as part of a well-balanced eating plan, and if you adore sorbet, dive in, Seaver says. 

If you're looking for an even better-for-you option, reach for a dessert recipe that's made mainly with natural sugars with little to no added sugar.

"Nice creams are a great way to satisfy your craving for something sweet, without overdoing it on added sugar. But sometimes, that's not what you're in the mood for—but grabbing one of these Island Way fruit cups is. And like all things, some added sugar is totally okay," Seaver concludes. (ICYMI, this is the #1 dessert for weight loss, according to a dietitian.)