Lick your Lips: Demystifying Frozen Treats

strawberry ice cream

Not all desserts are created equal but no matter what you choose for a sweet treat, moderation is always the healthiest option. 

One redeeming thing about summer heat is that it leads directly to ice cream. When it’s sweltering out, who doesn’t love cooling off with a frozen treat? But that begs the question: which dairy treat is best—ice cream or frozen yogurt? What’s the difference?

Ice cream must have 10% milk fat to be labeled as such, whereas frozen yogurt does not. The main nutritional difference is the fat content. That said, frozen yogurt is not always healthier than ice cream; the real fat and calorie content is dependent on the portion size and the condiments. It’s a bit like asking which pair of sweatpants looks the dressiest.

The main thing to remember is dessert is dessert and should be consumed in moderation as a part of a healthy diet.

So how best to enjoy in moderation? Here are three tips:

1. Make dessert a special treat, not a nightly occurrence.

Rather than keeping a half-gallon of ice cream or frozen yogurt in the freezer, go out for an individual serving. It may be more expensive, but you’ll be doing this less frequently than opening the freezer, so it really will feel like a treat.

2. Size matters.

Pass on the large, skip on the small – opt for a kiddie cup! Not only is it cheaper, but it’s perfectly portioned.Consider this comparison of a small ice cream cone versus a milkshake: Chick-fil-A’s small Icedream cone is 260 calories, 6 grams of fat and 3 carbohydrate servings, almost half the calories and 1/3 of the fat found in their small vanilla milkshake (500 calories, 21 grams of fat and 5 carbohydrate servings).

3. Go bare or spare the toppings.

Are you smothering your ice cream in additional sugar and fat? Watch out for heavy-hitting toppings like syrups and candies. Choose fresh fruit or nuts instead.

frozen yogurt toppings

Not all desserts are made of sugar and heavy cream. Check out this delish dish from Whole Foods Market:

Banana Nice Cream (recipe from


2 large bananas, sliced and frozen

1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk

2 tablespoons creamy almond butter or peanut butter


1. Put bananas, soymilk and almond butter into a blender.

2. Purée, turning off the motor and stirring the mixture two or three times, until smooth and creamy.

3. Pour into two bowls and serve.

Nutritional Info: Per Serving: 280 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 75mg sodium, 38g carbohydrates, (4 g dietary fiber, 22g sugar), 9g protein

My tip: keep some bananas peeled, frozen and ready to enjoy this summer!