Who Needs Ice Cream?

by SARAH NOORANI

 

What sunny day in LA is complete without a sweet treat or two, right? You open the freezer to find your favorite tub of ice cream sitting amid bags of frozen veggies, and without any thought, you grab a spoon and indulge in one big bite.

As you eat, you cannot help but notice the calories and list of long, unpronounceable and confusing ingredients listed on the back of the carton. You want to keep eating because the combination of sweet and cold is just so satisfying, but the feeling of guilt is now creeping in. If only there is a healthy way to eat ice cream…

Oh wait–there is! There are plenty of ice cream recipes that are both nutritious and delicious! Read on to find out how you can make this delicious frozen treat in the comfort of your own home. 

 

But what’s wrong with regular ice cream?

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Regular store-bought ice cream consists of heavy cream, which is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Frequent consumption can therefore increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The large quantity of added sugars found in commercially sold ice cream can also contribute to the development of obesity, especially if consumed on a regular basis... there must be a healthier alternative.

 

Recipes

Here are some ice cream recipes that are easy to make and contain only a few simple ingredients that can be beneficial to your health!

 

Peach yogurt ice cream 

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If you are craving something rich and creamy and also fruity, this Peach Yogurt Ice Cream is the way to go! [1] This recipe is great because it contains much simpler ingredients than regular store-bought ice cream! The peach gives this icy dessert a natural sweetness without having to use a single gram of added sugar. Not to mention, this sweet summer fruit is jam-packed with important nutrients, such as Vitamin A to promote eye health and Vitamin C to boost the immune system. It also contains high levels of fiber to aid the digestive system and help you feel full!

If the recipe isn’t sweet enough for you, you can also add a drizzle of honey! Honey contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and more. Keep in mind that these benefits are specific to natural honey, so be careful not to purchase honey loaded with artificial sweeteners! [2]

Another reason why this recipe is healthier than traditional ice cream is that yogurt is used instead of heavy cream. Yogurt gives the dessert a rich, creamy texture without the saturated fat and cholesterol found in heavy cream. Furthermore, yogurt contains so many nutrients, like protein, calcium, and probiotics that are good for your gut! [3]

Ingredients:

  • Frozen peaches (NOTE: If you plan on buying pre-packaged frozen fruit, make sure to read the ingredients list to make sure that there are no added sugars, as this is often the case. [4])

  • Yogurt of choice: Greek, coconut, etc.

  • Optional: 2 tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and process.

  2. Eat right away or store in freezer to enjoy later.

 

Watermelon sorbet 

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This Watermelon Sorbet is perfect if you are craving something light and refreshing on a hot summer’s day! [1] Watermelon has high levels of lycopene, which serves as an antioxidant. Not to mention, this recipe is incredibly easy to make–it only requires one ingredient! [5]

Ingredients:

  • Cubed watermelon

Directions:

  1. Freeze the watermelon cubes.

  2. Blend into a puree, then refreeze and enjoy.

 

Yogurt parfait popsicles

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This recipe for Yogurt Parfait Popsicles offers a smooth, rich texture complemented by refreshing chunks of fruit! [1] You can personalize the recipe by choosing different combinations of fruits! This icy treat also offers the many health benefits associated with yogurt, as explained in the Peach Yogurt Ice Cream recipe above. [3]

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt of choice: Greek, coconut, etc.

  • Fruits of choice: Mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, etc.

  • Granola

  • Popsicle mold

  • Optional: Drizzle of honey

Directions:

  1. Place the ingredients into a popsicle mold.

  2. Freeze and enjoy!

 

Chocolate ice cream 

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Not into fruity ice cream? Not a problem–chocolate ice cream can be healthy too! [6] This recipe is naturally sweetened with frozen bananas, so there is no need for added sugars. Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can protect against diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. [7]

While frozen bananas and cocoa powder make a delicious blend, a dollop of nut butter instantly transforms this recipe into one that you won't stop dreaming about. Nut butter not only gives a creamy texture to the ice cream, but also offers a handful of health benefits. Nuts have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by, in part, decreasing cholesterol levels. [8] In fact, both peanut and almond butter aid in lowering cholesterol, although almond butter has been shown to have higher levels of fiber, calcium, and potassium than peanut butter. [9]

Ingredients:

  • 3 slightly ripe bananas

  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

  • Optional: 2-3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

  • Optional: pieces of dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Slice and freeze the bananas.

  2. Blend all ingredients in blender. If it’s a little difficult to blend, you can add some milk.

  3. You can enjoy it right away as a soft serve, or freeze it for an hour so you can scoop it!

 

Extended Edition: Healthy Ice Cream in LA!

If you’re out and about and want to cool down, there are plenty of places in Los Angeles where you can treat yourself a healthy, frozen snack. Here are a few of my favorites, all of which are in or close to Westwood!

Pressed Juicery

Pressed Juicery offers a healthy alternative to ice cream called Freeze. It’s nutritious because it’s made out of nuts, fruits, and/or vegetables without any added sugars!

Nekter

If you’re craving ice cream, Nekter is a great option! Nekter’s ice cream, Skoop, is made from healthy ingredients. Cashew milk gives it a creamy texture while the fruits provide natural sweetness--much healthier than traditional ice cream! [11]

Nekter’s acai bowl is also a great choice! There are plenty of different flavor combos for you to try!

Jamba Juice

Jamba Juice’s acai bowl uses the natural sweetness of fruits to give the acai bowl its sweet taste. You can top it off with additional fruit or add granola, coconut flakes, and more!

 

To sum it up

There are plenty of ways to enjoy ice cream without having to feel guilty afterwards. We’ve provided four recipe ideas for healthy ice cream alternatives, but there are so many more out there! It’s definitely possible to stay cool and healthy.

 

References

  1. “13 Incredible, Guilt-Free Ice Cream Alternatives.” purewow.com. (2016).

  2. “Novel insights into the Health Importance of Natural Honey.” Malays J Med Sci. (2015).

  3. “Yogurt, living cultures, and gut health.” Am J Clin Nutr. (2014).

  4. “Vitamin Retention in Eight Fruits and Vegetables: A Comparison of Refrigerated and Frozen Storage.” J Agric Food Chem. (2015).

  5. “Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims.” EXCLI J. (2014).

  6. “10 Healthy Ice Cream Recipes.” chocolatecoveredkatie.com. (2017).

  7. “Bioactive compounds in banana and their associated health benefits.” Food Chem. (2016).

  8. “Plant based butters.” J Food Sci Technol. (2015).

  9. “Sunflower Seed Butter and Almond Butter as Nutrient-Rich Alternatives to Peanut Butter.” J Acad Nutr Diet. (2010).

  10. “Pressed Juicery’s ‘Freeze’ is Revolutionizing Fro-yo.” gardencollage.com. (2018).

  11. “Nekter to launch Skoop frozen dessert.” nrn.com. (2017).