June 20, 2012:
Is Frozen Yogurt Really a “Healthy”
weather heats up, nothing chills us out like a creamy frozen dessert. From
Pinkberry to Yogurtland to Red Mango, the frozen yogurt craze is once again
sweeping America and showing no signs of slowing down, with annual sales of
over 8 billion dollars. And the freezer aisle at the grocery store is just as
overwhelming! Ice cream companies are
trying to keep up with the trend, offering reduced-fat versions of your
favorite indulgent classics — plus new creations with a healthy spin,
like frozen Greek yogurt and kefir.
just because it sounds wholesome, doesn’t mean it is. Ever get frozen yogurt thinking
you’re being oh-so virtuous by picking the lighter, healthier dessert? Well,
check this out: At any of the major chains, a medium froyo with two toppings —
granola and chocolate chips — clocks in around 400 calories. That’s
the equivalent of eating eight
chocolate chip cookies!
what’s actually the healthiest choice? Frozen yogurt? Ice cream? Non-dairy? Feel
an ice-cream headache coming on?! Here’s
what the heck you need to know:
Ice Cream Vs. Frozen
full-fat ice cream is a mix of dairy products.
It must contain at least 10 percent milk fat (but many versions have
yogurt and light ice cream are made with the very same ingredients, but this
time manufacturers use low-fat or fat-free dairy products in the mix. Typically,
but not always, the swap from full fat dairy to low-fat dairy drives the
calories and fat down.
yogurt differs from ice cream because it has yogurt cultures added. These
cultures can help increase the “good” bacteria in your stomach and improve
digestive health. But here’s the problem: Not all yogurt cultures survive freezing,
and dead ones don’t do you any good. All things considered, frozen yogurts and
light ice cream end up being pretty darn similar, nutritionally-speaking
— so I say go for whichever one you prefer the taste of best.
versions are made with soy, almond or rice milk, or even coconut or hemp milk,
so if you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, you can still get your
cool, creamy fix. Now, that’s great news! But while there are plenty of good,
sensible brands on the market, dairy free does NOT automatically mean diet
friendly… and some brands pack gargantuan amounts of calories, fat and SUGAR
into the mix! You’ll still need to be a label sleuth and carefully check the
nutrition stats before popping a pint in your cart (check out my helpful guidelines
frozen treats kitchen-worthy? Most
definitely YES! If ice cream and fro-yo are on your list of favorite
indulgences, you can certainly keep enjoying them. But to prevent packing on
the pounds, try to follow these guidelines the majority of the time:
you’re in the grocery store, stick with brands of light ice cream, frozen
yogurt, or healthy nondairy varieties with no more than 150 calories per serving
– and compare labels to choose brands with the least amount of saturated fat
and sugar. Ideally, choose a brand with less than 4 grams saturated fat and 20
grams sugar per ½ cup.
Keep your portions in check. That means one scoop of hard packed light ice
cream or a “small” soft serve frozen yogurt. Also, stick with a cup (calorie-free!)
or a wafer cone — which is a total bargain at just 20 additional
calories. Definitely steer clear of that waffle cone — it adds 100 to
200 calories to your dessert!
for the extras, go for ONE delicious topping of whatever you want. If you’re
looking for the healthiest options, choose fresh fruit like berries, mango or
kiwi, nuts, or dark chocolate chips.
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