Sure, Pinkberry’s fro-yo has fewer calories than a Mister Softee cone, but there are much better options for healthy ice cream (okay, healthier) in New York City if you know where to look. (And you know we’re all about conscious indulgences as part of a healthy lifestyle.)
Instead of going low-fat and using artificial sweeteners and additives, these churners and freezers simply start with better ingredients. Think milk and cream from grass-fed cows, organic sugar (yes, it’s still sugar!), and unprocessed fresh fruit.
That not only means the frozen treats they make are better for your body, they’re also naturally more delicious. (Fresh fruit = more flavor! Grass-fed dairy = super creamy!) And by the way, we’re using the term “healthy ice cream” loosely. Many of these are totally dairy-free, if that’s more your style.
Here’s where to grab a healthy, delish cone, pop, or sundae—whether you’re a legit New Yorker or are planning a visit soon.
Where to Find Healthy Ice Cream in NYC
This artisanal Brooklyn ice cream maker uses the highest quality ingredients, including cream from grass-fed cows and organic cane sugar. They’re upgraded takes on classic flavors—like Peppermint Pattie (mint chip) and Raw Deal (cookie dough) are to die for—and they’ve got locations all over. One of those happens to be at the beach in the Rockaways. Just sayin’.
If you’re eating for Instagram, this is your spot. Kokus makes its plant-based soft serve with cultured coconut cream and coconut oil and sweetens it with honey. It then piles on the trendiest superfood toppings you could find, like turmeric, bee pollen, and matcha dust. If you eat it without posting a photo, it probably doesn’t count.
RELATED: 3 Incredible Benefits of Coconut Oil
Van Leeuwen wins the award for cutest yellow ice cream trucks, which drive around both NYC and Los Angeles. It also has many brick-and-mortar locations, where it serves its homemade dairy and vegan ice creams, all made with the best ingredients, like locally-sourced organic milk and organic coconut milk. Their flavors are crazy creative, too, like Earl Grey Tea or Lemon Meringue Yogurt Tart.
Vegan soft-serve made with just three clean ingredients—fruit, water, and organic cane sugar? Yes, please. The toppings don’t hurt, either. Try the Crunchy Salty sundae, for instance, with banana and dark chocolate soft serve, warm peanut butter, sliced bananas, and dark chocolate chips.
Never had goat’s milk soft serve? Here’s your chance. Inspired by a Middle Eastern tradition, the creamy treat is made with locally-sourced goat’s milk (which is easier to digest for some people, compared to cow’s) and floral flavors like Strawberry Rose Petal and Honey Lavender.
If you took the freshest seasonal fruit from the farmers’ market, added a little sugar, and froze it, it would taste something like People’s Pops. Which is basically what they do, except they do it so well, it tastes better than you could ever make happen at home.
(Photos: Kokus, Ample Hills, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit)