I’m obsessed with Halo Top. They have dozens of flavors – I’m pretty sure I’ve tried all of them – and they’re all delicious (literally all though my favorites are the ones with bites of cookie dough or sprinkles). I’ve spoken with enough nutritionists about Halo Top to know that it’s a good choice when I’m craving something sweet (even if I eat the whole pint), but I was curious about some of the other “healthy” ice cream alternatives out there so I turned to two of the country’s leading nutrition experts, The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. Here’s their expert opinion on which ones to eat and when.
“If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, chemicals and synthetic hormones, Halo Top is a good option. It has fewer calories than traditional ice cream and it’s flavored with organic stevia and many ingredients are organic, including strawberries and lemon peel. If you eat a whole container (not that we’re promoting that! J) it contains a nice-sized dose of protein (20 grams in a 240- 280 calorie pint). It also contains prebiotic fiber in an 80-or-so calorie serving, half-cup has 3 grams of fiber.”
“Compared to traditional ice cream, a half-cup serving is lower in calories (60-100 calories compared to 150-250 calories in traditional ice cream), sugar and fat and higher in protein (6-7 grams) and fiber (5 grams). It’s sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol which both provide sweetness without the calories, helping to keep an entire pint to 240-400 calories. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that doesn’t have noticeable effects on blood sugar levels because the body doesn’t fully absorb it, but because of this it can also cause digestive distress, so it may be a downside for some people.”
“If you’re vegan or keep a dairy free diet these qualify. However, if you’re watching calories and artery-clogging saturated fat, despite using almond milk instead of full-fat milk, this probably isn’t your best bet as you’re still going to get around 260 calories per ½- cup serving (depending what flavor you choose) and 13 grams of fat, 8 of them the saturated kind, which is half of the amount you should get in a day. You’ll also get 25 grams of sugar.” [side note on this one – I tried a few of their flavors and while they are higher in sugar and calories than my usual go-to, Halo Top, I find that a little of this goes a long way so when I really want an authentic ice cream taste, I’m better off eating a little of this and being satisfied than trying to mitigate my craving with something else].
“Haagen Dazs prides themselves on the flavor of their non-dairy ice creams and starting each of their flavors with a core ingredient, like real pieces of Belgian chocolate, actual peanut butter, or real coconut cream, although based on the ingredient list, the first ingredients appear to be water and sugar and/ or corn syrup– and based on the approximately 22-28 grams of sugar per half cup serving (depending on the flavor), the sugar content for each serving is quite high. The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day (100 calories or 6 added teaspoons) and men get less than 36 grams of sugar a day (150 calories or 9 added teaspoons). Also, each half-cup serving seems to range between 240- 290 calories, so if you’re watching your weight, you’ll have to be very cautious to stick to a small portion size to keep the calories in check.”
“If you’re trying to save calories, Arctic Zero has an entire line of flavors that are just 35 calories per serving, or 150 calories for an entire pint—that’s half the amount of calories you’d get in a single-serving of the vegan Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerrys. Arctic Zero another line of flavors with 300-calorie pints, which is still much lower in calories than options like Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice creams which provide the same number of calories in a single-serving. If you have the entire pint, you will get 12 grams of non-rSBT whey protein, which is a decent amount of protein. The sugar content is fairly low too, with just 5 grams in ½ cup serving—it’s sweetened with organic cane sugar and monkfruit concentrate (which helps to keep the calories down).”
“Made from organic avocados, Cado contains heart-healthy fat, unlike typical ice creams that contain artery-clogging fat. With mainly organic, unprocessed ingredients, the 170 calorie half-cup servings are much better for your heart with the 12 grams of fat mainly unsaturated fat than the Haagen Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s vegan options. This is a good option if you’re vegan, don’t eat dairy or are allergic to nuts. It’s sweetened with organic cane sugar and it generally has less sugar per serving than other vegan options.”
“They pride themselves on their fresh ingredients and their artisanal flavors. Their vegan flavors are made with house-made cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, and organic carob bean, and although we couldn’t find the nutrition information on the site, this would be an ideal option for people who want to stay as close to the simple ingredients as they can and who aren’t as concerned about fat and calories.”