Dieting Without Losing Flavor: 6 Healthy Alternatives to Ice Cream

dieting without losing flavor 6 healthy alternatives to ice cream

Lets All Scream

There is probably nothing worst than craving something you know you can’t have, and while there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between food deprivation (i.e. through dieting) and food cravings, it is a fact that food cravings exist. In most cases, it’s anxiety, stress, or an emotional response that creates the food craving. Regardless of the reason, they can be overwhelming. The most overwhelming, in most people’s opinion, is the craving for ice cream.

A single, 1/2 cup serving of vanilla ice cream can pack as many as 137 calories. With around 7.3 g of fat, 29 mg of cholesterol, and 14 g of sugar, it can be a risky choice for many people, including those with high blood pressure or heart disease.

In order for a frosty treat to be considered it ice cream, it generally has to contain 3% or more milk fats. With added flavorings, toppings, etc., you can very quickly end up with a bowl of cholesterol, carbohydrates and sugar that will make your sweet tooth ache and your arteries tremble with fear (or overload).

So Many Choices

Finding a healthy alternative to your favorite ice cream treats doesn’t have to be difficult! Just take a look at these delicious examples, and don’t forget to play around with your favorite flavors along the way.


Sorbet is usually best described as an ice cream like dessert with no (or at least very little) milk content. A typical half-cup serving of non-fat, non-dairy sorbet will contain about 100 calories. It generally packs more carbohydrates than ice cream, however it usually has no fat or cholesterol, making this a better choice for someone on a low-fat, low cholesterol diet. Here’s a recipe that it sure to please:

Lemon Sorbet on
Nutrition Data as per recipe
Calories: 71
Total Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 18.9 g

There are differences between sorbet, sherbet, and sherbert, and it all has to do with milk fat content. Just remember that the more milk or cream you use, the higher the fact content. Be careful of sugars (though some sugar is necessary for consistency) and when in doubt, talk to your doctor or nutrition adviser.

Frozen Yogurt

This seems almost too obvious, and is the first choice usually for someone looking to kill an ice cream craving. It can vary on sugar, fat and cholesterol amounts, so be sure you’re choosing the healthiest option for you. However, there are some general guidelines, and some healthier recipes you can try. Here’s one that sticks pretty close to the general nutritional content for a half-cup serving of non-fat frozen yogurt:

Instant Peach Frozen Yogurt on
Nutrition Data as per recipe
Calories: 113
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 27 g

Again, the important thing with frozen yogurt is finding the one that works for you. Depending on your dietary needs, these amounts may need to be adjusted, so what works for one diet may not work well for another when it comes to this common ice cream alternative.

Frozen Cheesecake

This particular choice came as a bit of a surprise. Cheesecake is usually rich, dense, and sugary; which loosely translated means terrible diet food. But, someone figured out how to make a delicious cheesecake bite that won’t destroy your dietary plan!

Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake Bites on
Nutrition Data as per recipe
Calories: 37.5
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Carbohydrate: 6.7 g

The point here is that not all cheesecakes (or any dessert in all honesty) is created equal, and you can adjust and substitute your favorite recipes, in most cases, to create an amazing alternative that won’t break your dietary rules.

Chilled Fruit Soups

Sometimes, you just don’t have the time to let something freeze. If you’re craving something cool, sweet, and satisfying but you don’t want to wait all day, there are plenty of chilled soups (or slushies, or smoothies) you can create. Just grab your blender and get out some fruits (or veggies!), juices, ice, and kick your imagination into overdrive. Like this fantastic example:

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup on
Nutrition Data as per recipe
Calories: 57
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 13 g

If you aren’t a fan of cantaloupe, you can use just about any fruit and juice combination to make a chilled soup that you will enjoy. It’s fast, fun, and super easy. Just don’t forget to look up the nutritional value of your substitution ingredients!

Frozen Fruit

This one is probably the easiest snack option. You just take fresh fruit, and you freeze it. You can mix different kinds of fruit, or just use a single kind of fruit for your treat. It’s all up to you, but this does require you to look up the individual items in your frozen fruit treats if you want to know what the nutritional value is for each variety.

However, the most popular option (due to texture and taste when frozen) is blueberries, so we’ll use that as an example. In a single serving (one cup) of frozen blueberries, you’ll get just 79.1 calories and 1 g of fat. The only downfall to frozen blueberries is that it typically will contain more carbs and sugar than a single serving of ice cream.

Frozen Pies and Dessert Bars

Frozen pies or dessert bars aren’t always the healthiest choice. As is the case with cheesecake, it truly just depends on your recipe, and what ingredients you want to add. This recipe is rich and delicious, without killing your diet goals.

Frozen Raspberry-Chocolate Terrine on
Nutrition Data as per recipe
Calories: 115
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Carbohydrate: 6.7 g

Don’t be afraid to substitute or get creative with dessert bar recipes. Many taste even better frozen!

Play With Your Food

The most important thing to get is this: you have the choice what you put into your body. Making healthy choices by substitution of less healthy ingredients is a great place to start but get your hands dirty! Get creative!

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