I'M CRAZY FOR ICE CREAM and frozen treats. So when I walk down the frozen dessert aisle at my local market, I can't help but stick my head in the freezer to check out all the latest goodies to hit store shelves. Regular ice cream, frozen fruit bars and kid-friendly frozen goodies are still there, but low-calorie ice creams, non-dairy choices and fruit-only bars have started taking over. Which ones are right for you? Here's a nutritional rundown of the newest options to help you decide:
Pops and Bars
The ice pop aisle has been expanding, specifically targeting consumers who are looking for fruit bars with less or no added sugar, or for allergy-friendly choices. Here are four that you'll find on the market; I recommend them all:
GoodPop: A few years ago, I found these mouthwatering pops at Expo West, a massive healthy products event, and I'm so glad to see they've made it to mainstream markets. Some of my favorite flavors include hibiscus mint, strawberry lemonade and coconut lime. The brand also sells organic freezer pops, which are made with 100-percent fruit juice and no added sugar. Products are non-GMO verified and made with fair trade organic ingredients. The bars are between 40 and 120 calories each, with the fruit-flavored varieties being closer to 40 calories, and the chocolate or coconut bars falling at the higher end of the calorie spectrum.
Jonny Pops: These allergy-friendly frozen pops come in 11 flavors that are made with simple ingredients. Flavors include cherry chocolate and cream, root beer float and cream, banana cinnamon and cream, and more. The calories range from 120 to 190 per bar, and all the bars are made with heavy cream. Besides milk, a handful of bars also contain soy. The ingredient lists are pretty simple, with about six ingredients, on average, per bar.
Chloe's Pops: If you're looking for a calorie-controlled treat, pick up a box of these pops. With 60 calories for every bar, you can certainly fit each of these bars into a healthy eating plan. The pops are made from fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. Flavors include pomegranate, pineapple, tangerine, strawberry, mango and dark chocolate. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and non-GMO project verified.
Yasso: This frozen Greek yogurt company has been around a while, and I have been a fan of their bars, which are about 100 calories, for some time. But you can now find this delicious frozen Greek yogurt in pints. Flavors include "Caramel-Pretzel Mania," "Mint Championchip," "Chocolate PB & Yay" and "Loco Coco Caramel." The pints contain between 100 to 150 calories per serving.
Non-Dairy Ice Cream
When I was a kid, the only non-dairy choice available was Tofutti Cuties, a soy-based ice cream sandwich. However, due to the rise in popularity of non-dairy beverages, there has been an expansion of non-dairy ice cream and frozen treats, too.
Haagan Daaz Non-Dairy Bars and Crispy Layers: These decadent desserts are made from core ingredients like rich peanut butter, velvet coconut cream or real pieces of chocolate. In the Trio Crispy Layer line, you'll find flavors like "Coconut Cookies and Crème" and crunchy peanut butter. Both are absolutely delicious and were devoured at a recent barbecue I threw with my boyfriend. The only drawback is the 260 calories per half-cup, but 2 tablespoons really were enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. The non-dairy bar flavors include peanut butter chocolate fudge and coconut caramel dark chocolate, which range from 290 to 300 calories each.
My/Mo Frozen Dessert: These bite-sized treats have a dairy-free and vegan line. Made from cashew milk, the portion-controlled treats are cutely packaged with ice cream covered in mochi dough. Flavors include salted caramel, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, and are between 90 to 100 calories each.
Low-Calorie Ice Creams
Low-calorie ice creams have become especially popular over the past few years. If you're the type of person who likes to eat right out of the pint, there are three low-calorie ice creams that may suit your fancy. All contain a long list of ingredients and sugar replacements (to help cut calories and sugar), along with added fiber and protein. As such, you'll find a similar nutrition profile in each.
Enlightened: Flavors include sea salt caramel, s'mores, snickerdoodle and more, with calories ranging from 60 to 100 per serving. The brand has less sugar and fat ,and more protein and fiber (which are added as ingredients), than traditional ice creams.
Halo Top: Available in dairy and non-dairy varieties, Halo Top flavors include lemon cake, mint chip, birthday cake and sea salt caramel. Each container (equivalent to 2 cups) provides 280 to 260 calories, and those numbers are displayed on the label. You'll also find 20 grams of protein per pint, and the use of stevia and sugar alcohol to help keep sugar low. Some folks are sensitive to sugar alcohol, which can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, so proceed slowly when downing that pint.
Sweet Habit Ice Cream: This new kid on the block comes in flavors like "PB & Fudge," "What the Caramel," "Mint My Cookies" and "Cinnamon Bunned." The treats run between 70 to 80 calories per half-cup. Of course, if you want to splurge on the pint, the calories are listed right on the label between 280 to 320. Just like other brands, protein and fiber are added into the ingredients and sugar alcohol is used to sweeten it.