By: Rick Bellanti – June 2021
Last year, at this time, I wrote about the survival of the summer barbecue season.
This time I want to focus on the delicious summer gift: ice cream!
Who doesn’t like ice cream?
I mean it’s not just for summer and of course it’s available all year round (for us, ice cream). It is this time of year with these hot, sunny summer days that make us crave this delicious treat even more. A long time ago, there was an ice cream business that said we have 31 flavors to choose from. Today there must be over 100 flavors of ice cream to choose from and trust me, I have tried them all.
Did you know that America’s first ice cream parlor opened in New York in 1776. American settlers were the first to use the term ice cream. The name comes from the phrase ice cream, the name was later abbreviated to “ice cream”, whose name we call it today.
The ice cream seems simple enough; it is usually made with some type of dairy such as milk or cream as a base and then flavored with a sweetener such as sugar and a spice such as chocolate or vanilla, or fruits such as strawberries, bananas or pineapples are added. It’s advancing rapidly into the 21st century and now you can find too many cookies, brownies, even birthday cake ice creams (the flavors are endless). And we haven’t even touched on the issue of coverage.
Let’s talk about healthy options now.
It can be tricky to stay on the wellness trail while still enjoying your favorite summer ice cream, but some ice creams contain more than 300 calories per half serving.
The good news is that there are now many varieties available that will appeal to your taste buds to get much less calories and fat (and sugar). There are even KETO ice creams for those who follow a KETO type program.
Ice cream is a fun summer treat, but try to have it in moderation and consider the fat and calories in ice cream when you let yourself enjoy it. We need to consider the portion size; you never want to eat it out of the container; it would be a big mistake.
When you visit your favorite local ice cream parlor, always get a size for kids, small, medium, or large, at least you’ll know the portion you eat and won’t eat nonsense. I always find it best to buy individual ice cream boxes such as ice cream sandwiches, lollipops, ice cream cups and so on. They are already separate for you and the nutritional information is right next to the packaging.
Be wary of No Sugar Added, Sugar Free, or Reduced Sugar claims.
Just because a product is low in sugar doesn’t mean it’s good for you. This can fool health conscious buyers into thinking that it is a better option. Products with low-sugar foods often contain a sugar substitute or low-calorie sweetener. This is how they may contain less sugar but retain the expected sweetness in food or drink. We all know that substitute sweeteners are not necessarily healthy for you. Look for 100% Stevia as a sweetener if you are looking for a healthier artificial option for sugar.
Sugar-free advertised items could mean they contain less than 0.5 grams of sugars, both natural and added. Items advertised as “No added sugar”, no sugar-containing ingredients have been added during processing or packaging. And items advertised as reduced sugar have at least 25% less sugar than the regular version of the product.
Be wary of fat-free ice cream, as the problem with anything fat-free also means it has no flavor and, to make up for the lack of taste, they will load in other ingredients to form the taste, especially sugar, flour, other thickeners and salt. . All this can not only add calories, but also increase the sugar and carbohydrate content. Read your labels carefully if you are really on a diet and fitness program and need to record your entire food intake or as a diabetic to keep track of your sugars.
Don’t forget, summer gatherings with friends and family aren’t just about food! Have fun, throw a ball with the kids, play with the dog or go swimming. Any activity will increase your metabolism and burn some of those calories you consume and if you are active. Then you can eat your ice cream without guilt, don’t forget about moderation.
The idea is to go out to enjoy the summer weather and be with friends and family; you don’t want to deprive yourself of the fun you enjoy and your food. Remember that this is a lifelong commitment and some delights along the way will not reverse all of your work. A healthy lifestyle is about making good healthy decisions. Stay hydrated, look at your portions, think of fresh fruits, vegetables and delicious ice cream. Enjoy your summer!
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and he himself travels to lose 240 pounds and has lost 160 pounds. since early 2015. If you have any questions or comments, post them on the Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month will address some of the topics here. ◊