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Summer Treats Got You Beat?

Ice Cream ConeIt seems the solution to beating summer’s sweltering heat can be found in the frozen delights aisle of the local grocery store. The average American consumes about 48 pints of ice cream every year.

But that daily ice cream fix may be costing you in the end. We break through the clever marketing and confusing labels to rate the top frozen treats of summer. Find your favorite indulgence on our list and see how a ½ cup serving stacks up.

11. Ice Cream

With 10-18% milk fat, this summer favorite is loaded with calories and fat that can weigh you down in the heat. Averaging about 150 calories per half-cup serving,­ brands labeled “rich” and “premium” can have almost twice as many calories and nearly 18 g of fat!

10. Gelato

This frozen Italian favorite actually has a lower milk fat content than ice cream because it is made with whole milk, not cream, and stabilized with eggs. Even with a lower fat content, it packs a caloric whallop on par with ice cream.

9. Frozen Custard & Soft Serve

Frozen custard contains at least 10% milk fat and adds extra eggs for a richer flavor. With less air beaten into it, it’s a lot like gelato. A lot of soft serve is actually frozen custard, but some soft serve shops serve lighter options.

8. Ice Milk & Light Ice Cream

Marketed as “low-fat ice cream” it has less than 10% milk fat and a lower sweetening content. Many of these products also come with “no-sugar added” which can lower calorie count.

7. “Double, Triple, Slow and Smooth Churned”

If you’re lost on what exactly is being churned here, you’re not alone. These labels are meant to trip you up. Often lower calorie than premium ice cream, they can still undo your day if not enjoyed in moderation.

6. Snow Cones

These balls of crushed ice, topped with sweet syrup are a staple at amusement parks, baseball games and beaches. But buyer beware—a whole cone-full can contain up to 500 calories depending on how much syrup they pile on. But if you must indulge, try asking for sugar-free syrup to cut those calories back significantly.

5. Sherbet

This hybrid of sorbet contains an additional 1-2% milk fat and is usually sweeter than ice cream.

4. Frozen Yogurt

This low-fat or fat free alternative is made with yogurt instead of cream. Remember these portions are only 1/2 cup. If you overindulge these calories can add up quick.

3. Sorbet

This fruit puree, which contains no dairy products, also boasts a zero fat content. Look for sorbet that’s made from whole fruit and enjoy the benefits of some vitamins in your dessert.

2. Italian Ice

Zero fat makes this a much better choice than rich dairy-based ice cream. But again, adopting a sugar free version can cut the calories in half.

1. Frozen Whole Fruit Bars

A great alternative to creamy treats, some bars made from nothing but fruit contain as little as 28 calories and nutrients from the real fruit.

Choosing a treat to cool off with should never be complicated. With so many choices and brands. just keep it simple: Read the nutrition label.

Now that you know what to look for it should be easy to be happy and healthy with your summer desserts.

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