Last time we put the words “healthy” and “ice cream” in the same article, people got a little excited. (Big surprise!)
So, since we only shared spots that were making better versions of the sweet treat in New York City, we thought it was time to also share healthier ice cream shops across the country.
After all, Nutritious Life may be based in NYC, but our team is often on the move, and we’re guessing you are too. Plus, our readers are spread out all over the country (and world!). Below, check out our picks for some exciting, delicious spots to swing by on a hot summer day, whether you’re on vacation, visiting family, or passing through for work.
Reminder: None of the scrumptious treats made by brilliant ice cream entrepreneurs should become part of your regular diet. (Sorry, sugar.) Some are organic and vegan, some are made with grass-fed dairy, and all are free of additives and preservatives…but they’re still conscious indulgences, not everyday eats.
That means when you enjoy them, take the time to really, really enjoy them (while watching out for melting, of course!).
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
7 Healthier Ice Cream Shops Across the Country
In the hot and stick South, Steel City Pops serves up both creamy and fruity popsicles. The fruity, vegan pops are made with just fresh fruit, water, and organic cane sugar. On the dairy side, cookie pops come in flavors like coffee brownie, made with local espresso and gluten-free brownie chunks. Yum! In addition to Atlanta, the family-owned business has locations in Alabama, Texas, and Kentucky.
(Photo: Facebook/Steel City Pops)
Sweet Action is a cool, indie scoop shop in the mile-high city that makes small-batch flavors in both dairy (salted butterscotch!) and non-dairy (vegan cinnamon roll!) versions that change every day. Starting with Colorado dairy producers, Sweet Action works primarily with local farmers and bakers to source both milk and produce. The company is also powered entirely by wind and uses compostable packaging.
(Photo: Facebook/Sweet Action)
Speaking of local dairy, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams started with a family-run dairy in Santa Barbara 70 years ago. Their team members still make the ice cream from scratch with local, grass-fed milk and organic, cage-free eggs. We’re dying to try their chocolate covered strawberries flavor…and also the brand-new dairy-free line that just launched. The dairy-free ice creams are made with a pea protein base and contain less sugar, in flavors like toasted coconut almond chip. Find them at three shops within LA, plus Santa Barbara.
Want to support a young female entrepreneur while licking a Honey Lavender cone? The woman behind Lulu’s created the concept while still in college. Her process involves making all of ice cream from scratch and using liquid nitrogen for a creamy texture—which doesn’t affect the nutrition value one way or another. The fact that grass-fed cows at Dakin Dairy Farm provide the milk, however, does.
Lil Pop Shop’s popsicles are super popular in the city of brotherly love. While you can buy creamy versions, the non-dairy offerings, which are made with fresh produce, are the most intriguing. Mango pineapple, for example, sounds delish. But of course the one we’d order over and over is the avocado coconut, made with pureed whole avocados, coconut milk, and lime juice. It’s like a smoothie turned into dessert.
(Photo: Lil Pop Shop)
“Churned to order” is what makes Smitten Ice Cream really unique. After you pick your flavor, employees pour fresh ice cream base into a proprietary machine that freezes ice cream in 90 seconds and “churns perfectly.” That approach promises superior flavor and texture, but ingredients are super important here, too. Smitten uses only organic milk and cream and fresh fruits and veggies from West Coast dairies and farms. You’ll find multiple locations in San Fran and Oakland, and branches have also opened in LA and other Cali cities.
Popular gelato shop Dolcezza has locations all over the nation’s capital, one of which is at a popular farmers market (which you know is a good sign). Gelato naturally has less calories and fat than traditional ice cream because of the way it’s made, and their team uses the freshest local ingredients: You can literally go on the website and click each ingredient—from milk to strawberries and vanilla beans—and they tell you exactly which farm it comes from at a given time of year. Try clicking around while savoring a scoop of lemon ricotta cardamom.