Whether you’re slimming down, concerned about heart health, or cutting out sugar, ice cream always seems to be the ultimate nemesis. Until recently most popular ice creams were made with heavy cream, refined sugars and artificial flavors. One ice cream indulgence can lead to spiked blood sugar levels, weight gain, cavities, and increased blood triglycerides (unhealthy fats).
There’s so many reasons to say no to a treat that packs a wallop of 300+ calories per every measly 1⁄2 cup serving. Fortunately, there are some ice cream hacks out there that will allow you to indulge in a delicious frozen treat without the guilt.
Ditch the Processed Sugars
Most store bought ice creams are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars that deteriorate your health and add inches to your waistline. Replace those sugars by using whole food sugars with natural fiber like dates, prunes or blueberries. Include your favorite protein shake mix for added nutrition and creamy consistency, and use yogurt instead of heavy cream. Here is a recipe to try that doesn’t require a fancy ice cream maker. You’ll just need a blender and either a loaf pan or muffin tin (for single servings).
Chocolate Rich, High Protein and Low Calorie
1⁄2 cup your favorite nuts 1⁄2 cup pitted dates A pinch of sea salt 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein powder
Blend these together until a chunky paste forms in your blender then slowly add:
1 cup of Greek yogurt 2 cups of chocolate milk (or chocolate hazelnut milk) 1⁄4 unsweetened chocolate chunks
Pour this ice cream batter into one loaf pan or into a muffin tin for approximately 12 servings. Freeze overnight and you’ve got a nutritious ice cream recipe! But healthy ice cream doesn’t stop here, you can take your ice cream experimentation further and go for very simple ingredients that are shockingly good when frozen. The best part? They are completely dairy free.
Replace the Dairy
There are a ton of ways to get an irresistible milkshake without the heavy cream and heavy calories. Frozen bananas are an easy go-to ice cream alternative that can be made at home in your blender. If you have bananas that have become too ripe to eat, simply peel them and place them in a ziplock bag in your freezer.
When your sweet tooth beckons, pull out two or three bananas and chop them into 1 inch chunks, then throw them in your blender. Add a few tablespoons of alternative milk to get things moving and within a few minutes you will have a satisfying soft serve ice cream replacement. You may be surprised at how awesome this simple snack is, but if you want to take it up a notch here is one frozen banana ice cream recipe that is worth trying:
Chocolate Banana-Nut Ice Cream
4 frozen, sliced bananas 1⁄2 cup coconut milk (for an even creamier texture) 1 tablespoon of vodka (to make the ice cream easier to scoop after freezing) 2 tablespoons of nut butter 1 tablespoon of dark unsweetened cacao or cacao nibs
Blend all of these ingredients together in a blender or food processor and then freeze in a glass loaf pan for at least one hour. Serves two.
You can get as creative as you want with the frozen banana ice cream base. Frozen cherries, strawberries or any other fruit are easy additions. Tea powder is another savvy option to add to an ice cream alternative.
Antioxidant Boost Ice Cream
Green tea powder can enhance your frozen treat with antioxidants, aid in burning calories, detox your body and boost your immune system. Simply take 2-3 frozen bananas, a teaspoon of green tea matcha powder, a splash of alternative milk, and after a few minutes in the blender you’ll be eating a treat that leaves you healthier than when you started. If you’re not a fan of the frozen banana base, there are other creamy fruits to utilize.
Befriend the Avocado
Avocados make a beautifully creamy ice cream base when blended and frozen. The health benefits of avocados are amazing. Not only are they high in vitamins and minderals like vitamins K, B5, B6, C, folate potassium and magnesium, they also have a lipid content that allows your body to absorb more nutrients than if you had skipped the avocado in the first place.
Avocados also happen to have anti-inflammatory properties, and since inflammation is the cause of the majority of modern illness, there’s a good reason to pay incorporate them into your diet anyways. Here is a recipe, free of refined sugars, that also highlights hemp milk which is rich is Omega-3 and high in protein. This tasty frozen treat only requires a few ingredients and a blender.
2 avocados 1⁄4 raw, local honey 1⁄4 cup hemp milk Pinch of sea salt Squeeze of lime *optional* add a handful of pistachios Add all of these ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, pour into a loaf pan or into a muffin tin for single servings.
If you prefer soft serve ice cream, freeze this recipe for about two hours. Otherwise let it stay in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.
As you can see, there is no special equipment or fancy ingredients needed to enjoy a wholesome treat packed with nutrients. There is really no reason to eliminate ice cream from your healthy diet, rather just evolve to more wholesome ingredients. With a few healthy ice cream recipes in your arsenal you won’t be feeling left out at all and when your bowl is jam packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and no refined sugars, you could even justify a second scoop.
Set yourself up for success and try one of these delicious recipes out tonight, that way, when the sweet tooth hits you’ll be ready to fight back with some satisfying nutrition.
Sally Mitchell began her career as a makeup artist, and after receiving a diploma in Clinical Dermatology decided to combine her passions for makeup artistry and skin care becoming a licensed beauty professional. Now she shares the latest cutting edge skin care treatments with readers of lumeskin .