back on ice cream to melt away pounds
August 26, 04
Suzanne Havala Hobbs
When it comes to ice cream, it
seems the bowl is never big enough. Another observation I’ve
made over the years: A big bowl of ice cream is one of the
most popular nighttime snacks across America – usually
in front of the TV.
But when ice cream becomes a daily treat, the calories –
and saturated fat – can easily undermine your ability
to control your weight as well as your cholesterol level.
So what’s an ice cream lover to do?
You’ve got options.
First, take a good look at the nutrition label on your favorite
brand. Check the number of calories and grams of saturated
fat per half cup serving.
Regular ice cream such as Breyers and Edy’s Grand can
have 140-170 calories and five grams of saturated fat per
serving. That’s a fair amount of calories and a substantial
amount of saturated fat. Move up to more expensive, premium
brands such as Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, and
you’re talking over 300 calories and 12 grams of saturated
fat for some flavors.
And that’s just for a half-cup serving. Do you know
anybody who eats a half-cup? Double those figures –
and that’s just the first bowl.
Your diet can’t afford that on a regular basis.
If you eat ice cream even once a week, you should choose a
brand with the least amount of calories and saturated fat
per serving. There are many choices that hover around 100
calories per serving and 2 grams of saturated fat or less
per half cup serving. Two examples: Healthy Choice vanilla
ice cream has 110 calories and one gram of saturated fat per
serving, and Breyers 98% Fat-Free vanilla has only 90 calories
and one gram of saturated fat.
Better yet, experiment with alternatives to ice cream that
are similar in calorie content to reduced-fat varieties but
contain little or no saturated fat. Good examples: sorbet,
sherbet, frozen yogurt, and Italian ice. Read and compare
nutrition labels. Rice- and soy-based frozen desserts sold
at natural foods stores are another option, though they can
Whatever you choose, bear these cautions in mind:
* Watch the portion size. A one-cup scoop of ice cream can
look deceptively small in a big cereal bowl. Be aware of how
much you are eating. It’s easy to eat too much. That
can mean hundreds of calories and a substantial amount of
added weight over a year.
* Toppings add calories. Hot fudge, caramel sauce, candy bits
– they can add substantially more calories and saturated
* Frequency matters. Ice cream is a daily snack for many people.
Do nothing more than switch to once a week and watch the pounds
* Premium brands deliver the most calories and fat. Just compare
the nutrition labels and see for yourself.
Keep these tips in mind as well:
* You’re better off going out for an occasional cone
rather than bringing a half-gallon home. You’ll eat
less that way.
* If you keep a frozen dessert in the house, make it sorbet,
frozen fruit, Italian ice, sherbet or fat-free frozen yogurt
instead of ice cream. Aim for the product with the least amount
of saturated fat. Shop around for brands you especially like.
Green’s nonfat frozen yogurt, for example, has a creamy
texture similar to ice cream but with zero saturated fat and
only 110 calories per half cup.
* Eat from a custard cup or small mug rather than a cereal
bowl. If you need a topping, use fruit or sprinkles instead
of fudge and other rich sauces.
* If you eat ice cream, choose one night and make it a weekly
tradition instead of a nightly event.