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Calorie Count Blog

Best and Worst Ice Cream Treats

By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 22, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

Last year, Market Force Information released a survey about the best ice cream shops in America. Ben & Jerry’s won out, but Cold Stone Creamery was a close second. If you hadn't guessed, the survey had nothing to do with nutritional value and the treats advertised at these shops can cost you a half a day's worth of calories. While you may not be able to shun the ice cream shop the entire summer, you can plan ahead for what you'll order before your kids, family, or friends scream for ice cream. Here are your best and worst options at the most popular ice cream parlors.

Baskin Robbins

Go for something on their BRight Choices menu, for something more interesting than just a plain vanilla frozen yogurt. Skip the 920-calorie Brownie Sundae for a 4 oz. serving of their Premium Churned Reduced-Fat, No Sugar Added Caramel Turtle Truffle Ice Cream. Add slices of banana for extra fiber.

Total calorie savings: 670

Don't deny yourself a cone! Just skip the waffle cone dipped in chocolate in favor of a cake cone (for about 25 calories). Pair that with a 4 oz. serving of Light Amaretto-Cherry Swirl and your trip to the ice cream store will only cost you about 235 calories.

Total calorie savings: 685

Ben & Jerry’s

While Ben & Jerry's don't publish their calorie counts for their specialty items such as sundaes, shakes, and smoothies on their website. We can do a little detective work to figure out that a sundae will cost you a minimum of 500 calories: 250 calories for a scoop of ice cream, 200 calories for hot fudge, and 80 calories for the whipped cream (and that’s if everything is portion-controlled by that teenager behind the counter).

To replace frightful calorie counts, opt for one of their low-fat frozen yogurt or frozen Greek yogurt flavors, which can save you about 100 calories per serving but more importantly up to 10 grams of fat. Their lowest calorie choices are the sorbets at around 100 calories.

Total calorie savings: 350-400

Cold Stone Creamery

We applaud Cold Stone Creamery for providing the calorie count of all of its products online. We also love that they have such a great array of fresh fruit to add as mix-ins (which they also offer calorie counts for). Last, we love that they have a good amount of yogurt flavors in familiar flavors to help us save calories. But all these kudos won’t save you from the fact that ALL of their ice cream offerings, even at the 5 oz. size, or Like It portion, are over 310 calories per serving. Add that to a waffle cone and we’re beyond 600 calories and that’s if you only put one scoop of ice cream in that colossal waffle cone.

Their Pineapple Sorbet is just 140 calories, but most of the other sorbets are around 170 to 220 calories. If you go for one of their yogurt flavors, say a Like It™ Plain Tart or White Chocolate flavor, on top of a sugar cone, you’re at an OK 220 calories.

Total calorie savings: 380

And if you’re looking at the shakes, sorry, nothing on the menu, even at 12 oz., is under 760 calories. Instead go for the Sinless Smoothies. The Berry Trinity option is just 70 calories in the smallest size. The Man-Go Banana is 170 calories.

Total calorie savings: 690


Culver’s nutrition guide doesn’t just give numbers, but gives four healthier meal options around 500 calories to counter some of their 1000+ calorie offerings. Speaking of 1000 calories, their Banana Split Sundae with two scoops is 1091 calories. And even their one scoop option of the Caramel Cashew Sunday is 586 calories. The only option under 200 calories is their Mini Scoop Chocolate Cake Cone at 193 calories.

Total calorie savings: 898

The frozen custard is sure enough creamy, but that comes at a serious calorie and fat cost. Instead go for their Lemon Ice scoop. Not only will you get a whole cup to spoon and savor, you get a third of the calories at 84. Like Cold Stone, Culver’s has a number of fresh fruit options to add to your frozen treat.

Total calorie savings: 200

In the way of frozen drinks, you’re looking at a lot of calories no matter where you turn. The highest calorie count for their “Short” size of anything from their Handcrafted Beverages line is 753 calories. If you have the calories to spare, your best drinkable frozen treat is the Vanilla Concrete Mixer©. It’s still hefty though at 374 calories.

Total calorie savings: 379

Dairy Queen

Going for one of their signature Blizzard© treats adds a hard-to-swallow 750 calories to your daily calorie count. Swapping that out for a Kids’ Vanilla Cone in a cup with banana slices and a drizzle of strawberry topping will give you a taste of sweet at only 235 calories. 

Total calorie savings: 515

We're grateful they’ve started a smoothie kick with their Orange Julius© line. A small orange light smoothie is 210 calories. That’s leaps and bounds better than any of their shakes and malts, all of which are over 490 calories even at the small size.

Total calorie savings: 280

Your thoughts…

What are your best frozen treat swaps and the calorie savings?



This is really good info! A wake-up call to how many pretty-much-empty calories there are in ice cream and related treats.

I think one thing is worth mentioning, though. Sometimes, it isn't so bad to indulge in the high-calorie stuff, as long as you are controlling how much you eat. Split a sundae two or 3 ways and suddenly it's a much more reasonable number. Have a couple sips of your husband's shake, and you can get the satisfaction of the super-sweet without having the whole thing. This kind of self-control is hard, but trying to get through life on sad substitutions, is, well, sad.

I have a grain and milk allergy.  I cannot eat ice cream. It use to be a food that I loved. I make smoothies now in a blender with real fruit.  No more garbage in my body.  I am not a garbage can!

I have found that the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches are a satisfying alternative to any of the 'bad' ice cream.  At 140-150 calories per sandwich they are great and I can indulge and have 2 if I really want to, or do a little longer on the eliptical machine.

I love Turkey Hill's Sugar-Free (and low-fat) Ice Cream products. Their Dutch Chocolate sugar-free flavor is all I'm able to find at my local grocery store, but it's delicious and only 70 calories per 1/2 cup serving. (vs the usual 120 calories or more per half cup) In terms of frozen treats, I've tried the sugar-free 15 calorie popsicles but they don't taste good to me. I like to make my own popsicles with water, some sugar-free juice, and fresh fruit. I've also tried Phily Swirl's 14 calorie greek pops and they're fantastic! They're like regular popsicles but they're swirled with greek yogurt, so for a 14 calorie pop you also get 3g of protein and taste a yummy creaminess that makes you think you're having a creamsicle. 40 calorie sugar-free fudgsicles are also a favorite of mine. Those take care of any chocolate craving I have!

Publix grocery chain has their own brand of Low Fat Frozen Yogurts with a half cup calorie count of from 110 to 130 calories.  They're all fantastic and  taste like ice cream to me.  My favorite is Roadrunner Raspberry.

I have yet to eat have ice cream in my journey of losing weight, but I'm sure that I will. I happen to love love love ice cream and while alternatives are better for you they don't taste as good. This is a lifestyle change for me and to say that I will never have another Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard (in a medium) would be a flat out LIE. I will however, continue to monitor what I eat and exercise regularly.  One ice cream treat doesn't make you unhealthy. Moderation is the name of the game.

I find that cold stone creamery ice cream is just cold---no flavor. Ditto Baskin Robbins. The most flavorful is Jane's Ice Cream. I don't indulge any more. I have found a nice alternative-----So Delicious made with cocoanut milk---no dairy involved and truthfully named.

Original Post by: vickieroks1

I have a grain and milk allergy.  I cannot eat ice cream. It use to be a food that I loved. I make smoothies now in a blender with real fruit.  No more garbage in my body.  I am not a garbage can!

a"garbage" is  deliciosa ice cream no way speak for URSELF and i respect the opine your advancing here today..HOWEVER:


1. love mi strawberry shortcake with crunchies and i have NEVER gain weight by eating such delicious or mi vanilla ice cream,cone(s)sugar cone or plain max is 2x a week,actually been losing and sustaining such NON-GARBAGE treat.


2.I just went SUMMER Treat shopping last night love it,we have 5 boxes of:

Luigi's ices yum!with frozen BOMB POPS,new kind hawaiian punch yummies!

and lastly:

Marinaro(mi fave ones)in the lil yellow cup cherry ice,with spoon yum! barely

any calories,never to gain back weight when even having one if i can't at all sleep,at 3 a.m. wed nite this week from working late on studies (law)etc.

and lost by friday again 2.5 pds i love it!

all about maintaining,and eating in moderation,LIFE WAY TOO SHORT to not enjoy America's favorite,and that is ice cream.




I love So Delicious sandwich bars. They are delicious and they are made with coconut milk. Very low calorie (I think about 100 per bar) but the most important thing is how good they taste. No point in eating anything if it doesn't taste good. I also like fudgsicles, less than 100 calories per stick and also taste great. They are not "low fat" they are just the way you remember them from when you were a kid.

Original Post by: cwbense

I love So Delicious sandwich bars. They are delicious and they are made with coconut milk. Very low calorie (I think about 100 per bar) but the most important thing is how good they taste. No point in eating anything if it doesn't taste good. I also like fudgsicles, less than 100 calories per stick and also taste great. They are not "low fat" they are just the way you remember them from when you were a kid.

hi chica... mi older sis love Cocunut milk, as your liking that,is made with such her too,but she also drink 1 to  2% milk,and regular ices,ice cream,sorbet,so i do agree! no use "eating what your knowing do not taste at least simi-good she says! lol

i agree





Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sanwiches are only 120 calories, the size of a cheeseburger, and they taste better than almost anything even mentioned in this article! Best of all, you can have one at 2am if you so please because they're in your own freezer and most large, corporate drugstores that carry the brand are open 24/7.

I'll choose Skinny Cow over any of that other pointlessly fattening stuff anytime! After you've had Skinny Cow, it's hard to understand why they even produce sweets that aren't lean! A lot of the time they can make alternatives that tastes better than the "splurge" version. If lo-cal can taste THAT amazing, then why even make anything not "lo-cal" at all? If they made perfectly tasty lo-cal the standard, think about how happy and beautiful everybody would be?!

It just seems like corporate America's ploy to make us all grossly obese for some unfathomable reason when we obviously have the capability to make food just as yummy (a lot of the time, yummier) that is leaner and healthier. I can't even understand the necessity for loading everything up with that much fat when it doesn't even make it taste better.

Can producing Skinny Cow ice cream really cost that much more to make than regular ice cream?!

When will America step up to the plate and finally take some productive action in helping it's people stay healthy, physically, mentally (since the school system is so messed up; no child left behind just became the title of the new Home Alone series remakes), and lastly medically (don't even need a witticism to make that one clear).

Can I get a "HELL YEAH," anyone?!?!

Let's make it happen!

This is definitely an eye-opener for those who are in the dark on ice cream and the mass calories it packs!

I usually look for low sugar low cal ice cream-which is very hard to find !

Even though frozen yogurt is on the lower end of calories, it still packs on the sugar.

I love making my own recipes, because I then know what is going into the food, and I can easily keep track.

You can always make your own ice cream out of bananas and protein powder, ( or just plain bananas)  Mash them up and throw them in th freezer for a minimum of an hour.

Having a banana allergy I needed a different way to indulge.

I call these the Frozen Chocolate Protein'wich

1/2cup 0% greek yogurt

2 TBSP cool whip

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

2 chocolate simple thin cookies

under 100 calories, and amazingly delicious, offering a protein packed  frozen treat, in one.


LOVE Pinkberry Greek Yogurt topped with toasted slivered almonds, cinnamon powder and bluberries.  160 total cals, 10 g of protein and 9 g of naturally occuring sugar! :)


I'm also a big fan of Skinny Cow truffle bars (only 100 cals!); Weight Watchers ice cream bars come in second place (they just don't taste as good as Skinny Cow, but if they're on sale I'll buy 'em); even Klondike Bar has Slim-a-bar, which is only 100 calories and definitely tastes good!  These are great options if you have a difficult time portioning out your half-cup of ice cream from the big tub.

If you have a modicum of self control, try buying a pint of "regular" ice cream, and then eyeball out 1/4th of the pint. That's a serving size, 1/4th of the container, and that's actually pretty easy to see with your eyes.  Blue Bell ice cream has just recently been introduced to southeast Virginia, and I'm not giving it up!

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