Your guide to the best light ice creams and frozen desserts

Lifestyle

I scream, you scream, we all scream when we read the calories for the suggested serving size of our favorite ice cream. And yet, we can’t bring ourselves to put down the carton.

Plenty of brands have acknowledged that struggle, replacing frozen milk and cream with sugar-free and non-dairy alternatives. Satisfying our cravings for the sweet stuff without expanding our waistlines has proven wildly successful, such that frozen dessert-aisle darling Halo Top could boast the best-selling pint of ice cream in the country, unseating such long-established titans as Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs.

From cashew milk to frozen fruit, here’s a breakdown of the best ice cream alternatives out there today.

Halo Top

Calories per serving: 100 (Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, Oatmeal Cookie, Pistachio, Lemon Cake, Birthday Cake, Caramel Macchiato)

What makes it better: Like we said, Halo Top currently takes the cake when it comes to dairy ice cream and ice cream alternatives, using natural sugar substitutes stevia and erythritol – a sugar alcohol found in grapes, pears and the like that doesn’t impact blood glucose levels and is good for oral health.

Along with their trademark ice cream line, Halo Top also offers dairy-free and keto-friendly pints.

Arctic Zero

Calories per serving: 40 (Classic Vanilla, Pistachio, Cookie Shake, Purely Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Hint of Mint, Cake Batter)

What makes it better: Traditional ice cream and nut-based alternatives can’t help but have a certain amount of fat and calories. Arctic Zero minimizes that as the first frozen dessert to embrace the faba bean. They also use organic cane sugar, which is appreciated for those of us whose tummies aren’t keen on sugar alcohols.

So Delicious Dairy Free

Calories per serving: 190 (Very Vanilla)

What makes it better: It’s right there in the name that these pints are 100% dairy-free. If you’re among the crop of people who prefers their coffee with nut milks, then So Delicious might very well be the ice cream alternative for you.

Their extensive line includes frozen desserts based on cashew milk, oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk.

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt

Calories per serving: 100 (Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl, Vanilla Bean)

What makes it better: Founders Drew Harrington and Amanda Klane seem to have packaged up the perfect balance of calories, sugars and protein, thanks to Greek yogurt’s naturally protein-rich properties. Thick and rich like ice cream, Yasso is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Enlightened

Calories per serving: 70 (Vanilla Bean, Snickerdoodle, Cold Brew Coffee, Chocolate)

What makes it better: High in protein and fiber, and low in calories, fat and sugar, Enlightened still meets the criteria to be called actual ice cream.

It’s also appreciated to see such a variety of flavors in the 70-80 calories-per-serving range. Enlightened offers keto and dairy-free lines as well.

Ben & Jerry’s Moo-phoria

Calories per serving: 150 (Caramel Cookie Fix)

What makes it better: For starters, it’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, so you know you’re in good hands. The company’s Moo-phoria line of light ice cream options still uses organic milk and cream, avoiding sugar substitutes and alcohols.

These pints are also made with Fairtrade-certified ingredients and cage-free eggs, and they benefit further from Ben & Jerry’s Caring Dairy initiative.

Frozen Banana “Ice Cream”

This frozen treat was made with bananas — Photo courtesy of iStock / Jasmina81

Calories per serving: 105, on average

What makes it better: One popular alternative to ice cream only requires a single banana and a few minutes of your time. Simply chop a banana into large pieces and freeze them. A few hours later, give the frozen chunks a quick spin through a food processor. Voila! A half-cup of frozen, low calorie banana “ice cream”.

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