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Best and Worst Ice Cream Treats
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.
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
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
What are your best frozen treat swaps and the calorie savings?