When it’s hot outside (and, um, sometimes in the dead of winter, too), you just want a cup or a cone.
And if you’re reaching for that conscious indulgence, there are plenty of healthier ice cream options now available in almost every grocery store’s freezer case.
The issue? Sometimes you chose the “healthier” version and it tastes like cardboard (or, worse, chemicals!). And then what the heck is the point of the indulgence, anyway?
We’ve tried nearly all of the pints and pops on the market (hard work, we know). So, to help you out, we’re sharing the stand-outs in terms of both flavor and nutrition, with options for all kinds of eaters.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
5 Healthier Ice Cream Options
Best Full-Fat Dairy
Van Leeuwen makes its ice cream from scratch in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Their recipe is as simple as it gets: milk, cream, organic egg yolks, cane sugar, salt…and whole foods for whatever the flavor is (crushed pistachios, for example, in Sicilian Pistachio). They source milk from small, local dairy farms and flavors range from classic Cookies & Cream to innovative Earl Grey Tea.
McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams started with a family-run dairy in Santa Barbara but you can now buy the pints across the country. Their team members still make the ice cream from scratch with local, grass-fed milk and organic, cage-free eggs, so the dairy-full version is really good too. Their new dairy-free pints, however, are made with a pea protein base and contain less sugar, in flavors like dark chocolate chip and toasted coconut almond chip. They do contain gums and lecithins, but it’s pretty impossible to make packaged vegan ice cream without any of those.
Dream Pops are the new vegan pop you’ve got to get a picture holding. Seriously. They come in a crazy geometric design in colors that pop…but they also have clean, nutrient-packed ingredient lists. Think coconut milk as a base with fruit, coconut sugar, and little else. The best part? They’re really delicious, especially “Berry Dreams,” which combines strawberry, raspberry, and passion fruit.
Best Low-Sugar Pint
A lot of brands are trying to get in on this “lighter or “lower calorie” category, and most of them taste, ahem, awful. (We won’t name names.) Halo Top boasts lower calories, fat, and sugar (the best part!) compared to typical ice cream brands and it actually does deliver on taste and texture. One caveat: to get the low-sugar destination, the ice cream is sweetened with (quite a bit of) erythritol and stevia. For some people, erythritol causes digestive issues, so watch for bloating.
Best Pure Pops
Chloe’s Fruit is an incredible Manhattan spot where New Yorkers get to add toppings to delicious dairy-free soft serve made with fresh, clean ingredients. And the company applies the same ethos to popsicles it now sells in boxes all over the place. Dessert doesn’t get much healthier (or refreshing) than a frozen pop made with just raspberry puree, water, and organic cane sugar.