Looking for the real deal? See which brand won our taste test for plain vanilla ice cream.
Finding the Best Healthy Ice Cream
Eating ice cream for work? That’s what we call a good day! To find the best low-calorie ice cream, we rounded up nine of the top brands available, and to make testing fair, we chose vanilla flavors from each. Our team blindly tested the products, and we evaluated the ice cream on things like:
- Nutritional value
Creating a healthier version of ice cream is no easy task, as the main ingredients in this sweet treat are heavy cream, whole-fat milk, and sugar. You can swap in lower-fat dairy or cut back on sugar, but you’ll immediately notice a change in the ice cream’s consistency and taste. Many brands swap in alternative sweeteners—such as Halo Top, which uses sugar alcohol as the main ingredient.
As we searched for the best healthy ice cream, we took all these factors into account. We wanted to find a creamy, smooth variety that didn’t leave a strange taste in our mouth. Basically, we wanted a healthy ice cream that tastes as good as the real thing—and we found it!
The Best Healthy Ice Cream: Halo Top
For a healthy vanilla ice cream, your best bet is Halo Top Vanilla Bean. This might not come as much of a shock, seeing that Halo Top has surpassed other big-name brands to become the best-selling ice cream pint in the country. Each pint contains 280 calories and 20 grams of protein.
Our testers said this ice cream was the best dupe for regular vanilla, with a sweet taste and creamy texture. It wasn’t nearly as grainy or icy as other brands we tested, and while the vanilla flavor was on the lighter side, it was still pleasant with flecks of vanilla bean in each bite.
More Ice Cream Brands to Try
Breyers Delights Vanilla Bean
Our runner-up was Breyers Delights, a low-fat ice cream, which has similar nutritional value to Halo Top. Each pint of this ice cream boasts 260 calories and 20 grams of protein. Like Halo Top, the brand uses sugar alcohol in place of traditional sweeteners.
In our testing, we found Breyers Delights to be creamy with a similar mouthfeel to regular ice cream. Many of our taste testers also liked that there were visible flecks of vanilla bean in each scoop. However, some tasters remarked that it had an odd aftertaste.
Arctic Zero Vanilla Bean
Rounding out our top three picks for healthy ice cream is Arctic Zero Vanilla Bean. Unlike the other products, Arctic Zero doesn’t use sugar alcohol, so it may be a good option for those who are sensitive to this ingredient.
Each pint of this healthy ice cream has just 280 calories, but there are only 8 grams of protein per pint and the sugar content is higher than most at 36 grams per container. Our testers found Arctic Zero to be super sweet and almost cake-like in flavor, but it has an icy texture that reminded them more of frozen yogurt than ice cream.
Prices vary; available at retailers nationwide.
How to Serve Healthy Ice Cream
The tricky thing about healthy ice cream is that if you want to dress it up with topping—like hot sauce or caramel—the treat crosses back over into “unhealthy” territory.
Luckily, there are some healthy ice cream toppings that you can use to dress up a sundae without feeling bad, including:
- Fresh fruit
- Shredded coconut
- Crushed pretzels
When you’re looking for a treat, don’t hesitate to use healthy ice creams to lighten up the calorie load in desserts like milkshakes or ice cream cookie sandwiches. The sky is really the limit here! Check out this collection of recipes that call for vanilla ice cream.
How We Chose the Winners
Our Taste of Home Test Kitchen and editors team up to taste all kinds of popular foods and run essential kitchen gear through the paces. We rank them, discuss and test again, if needed, to arrive at the products we recommend for you and your kitchen. Find out how we choose the best products and see everything we’ve tested.
The post Our Test Kitchen Tried 9 Healthy Ice Cream Brands. Here’s Our Favorite. appeared first on Taste of Home.