Healthy Strategies to Enjoy National Ice Cream Month
When the weather heats up in July, a cold, sweet scoop of ice cream can seem as refreshing as a quick dip in the pool.
Perhaps that’s why July was designated years ago as National Ice Cream month and its third Sunday as National Ice Cream Day.
If you love the smooth creaminess of ice cream and want to indulge a little during our hot summer months, there are simple ways to enjoy this cool treat without sending your blood sugar soaring too high. All it takes is a little effort to read labels and a commitment to stick to your healthy eating goals.
Here are some easy tips to cut back on the sugar, fat and calories that often come with ice cream desserts:
- Go easy on the scoop. An actual scoop should be about one-half cup or 200 calories. Don’t be afraid to measure your ice cream scoop – it’s how people avoid eating more calories than they intended. Most people scoop out two-thirds of a cup as a serving, which is a whopping 270 calories.
- Skip the cone. Order your scoop in a bowl if not at home. Cones only add more calories.
- When eating ice cream at home, choose a smaller serving bowl. Everything looks bigger in a smaller cup. (This strategy also works for people who want to drink less wine. A recent study has shown that a smaller glass can equal less consumption.)
- If you want to add toppings, choose healthy ones: fruits and nuts make excellent pairings. Fruits are naturally sweet and full of fiber. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats and packed with nutrition.
- Try to avoid hot fudge and candies as toppings. They can easily double your sugar and fat calories.
- Don’t be fooled by food stereotypes. Frozen yogurt may sound healthier than ice cream, but it really depends on what’s listed on the food labels. Many frozen yogurts contain less fat than ice cream but they are often brimming with sugar. Federal dietary guidelines recommend getting no more than 10 percent of your daily calories from sugars.
Remember, ice cream is a treat. Let it be something you and your family enjoy occasionally, not every night after dinner – especially late at night when those calories will never be burned.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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