As a part of my store tours at work, we always stop by the gelato shop to taste samples of fresh homemade gelato. I proceed to explain that gelato typically contains less fat than ice cream because it’s made with milk instead of heavy cream. But, does that mean gelato is always the best choice? Not necessarily. These days you can find gelato loaded with everything from chocolate chip cookies to chunks of peanut butter to pieces of cake (yes, I’ve seen it). So the truth is, there isn’t a “right answer” to the question; “Which is better for you, gelato, ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yogurt?”With all of these varieties of frozen novelties you can find some that have been turned into something that’s not so healthy. For example, these fro yo (frozen yogurt) stores that are popping up everywhere……
Many of them say “healthy” on their window and on their website, and even their calorie counts look really low because (look closely!) many of them use 1-ounce as the “Serving”. HAHAHAHA, I’m rolling around laughing right now. I called one company about this 1-ounce serving size once, and they said “we choose 1-ounce because typically people take an ounce of several flavors, so with the 1-ounce serving size they can easily add up their calories”. Once again….HAHAHAHA!!! Sure, soft serve yogurt is typically lower in fat, but it also typically contains more sugar compared to ice cream (and thus very comparable to ice cream when it comes to calories). Not to mention the endless opportunities you have to load up your large bowl with extra sugary goodies (I’m always reminded of that Seinfeld episode…you know, the one with the “fat free yogurt shop”. We still haven’t learned!).
Bottom Line: Ice cream typically has more fat, and less or the same amount of sugar compared to gelato. Sorbet is typically fat free (and lactose free, by the way) but contains more sugar than gelato and ice cream. And fro yo? It’s somewhere in the middle, and it depends on what type of fro-yo you’re getting. Soft serve fro yo tends to have more sugar than ice cream and gelato, and the harder versions (ones you might find in the freezer at your supermarket) tend to have about the same amount of sugar. But of course, there are always exceptions to these “rules” … I mean, have you seen all the varieties of ice cream, fro yo, gelato, sorbet, etc. in your supermarket?! There are tons!!!! So here is what I try to look for in all varieties of frozen goodies:150 calories or less, 15-18 grams of sugar, and 3-6 grams of fat per serving. And of course, stick with 1 serving (most of the time….). Want more info? This website (with a nice sexy man on the page) explains the more technical differences between each of these treats, and provides a nice conclusion at the end.
Can you tell this topic is one that I get asked quite often? I wish everyone would just go out and buy an ice cream maker, because they are so easy to use and fun to experiment with. But since I know most of you don’t have an ice cream maker, I’m providing a recipe that doesn’t require one. All it requires is a little arm strength (and by little, I really mean a little). And the great part about this recipe is that the ingredients are all pronounceable. That’s something that is hard to find these days.
Blueberry Lime Frozen Yogurt
Serves: 6 (1/2 cup each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Source: Dietitians and Recipe Developers at Giant Eagle
12 oz. bag frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey**
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 cups nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt**
Mint sprigs for garnish
Place berries, honey, lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture reaches desires consistency (you may need to add a dash of water to help if you are using a blender). Add the yogurt and then pulse until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and place in freezer for 1-2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until set. Serve garnished with fresh mint if desired.
**NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, use maple syrup instead of honey. Also, be sure to choose a vanilla Greek yogurt that is free of honey or HFCS. If you’re lactose intolerant, you may be surprised at how well you can tolerate this small amount of Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt contains less lactose than regular yogurt).I really enjoyed this dessert, a lot. I could taste the honey throughout each bite (and since I typically avoid honey, it was glorious to taste it again!). So refreshing, and it (almost) meets my recommendations for nutrition facts from above;
Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/2 cup
Ok, so I did recommend sticking to 15-18 grams of sugar per serving, but let’s be honest, most of this sugar is from the delicious blueberries! So, we’ll let that “rule” slide in this case (as should you, if the main ingredient in your frozen treat is fruit!). Check out the other Nutrition Highlights: Under 150 calories, low fat, low sodium, good source of protein and vitamin C
So there is no need to fear if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make this with the strength of your hands and a wooden spoon! But, of course, I still recommend the $50-$60 it takes to buy an ice cream maker…..that is, unless you aren’t as obsessed with ice cream as Nick and me. But come on, who doesn’t love ice cream?? Especially when it’s 90 degrees with 100% humidity!I’m curious, what’s your favorite summer ice cream treat? I can still remember the ice cream truck pulling up in front of our house when I was young. I always got the blue popsicle with the gum ball on top (BORING!). Now I would say my favorite summer treat is a bowl of cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, or chocolate peanut butter chunk.
Off to my cousins wedding now. Going as a single lady because Nick has to work, yet again. Oh well, I’m still excited!! I love love love weddings (and you know what I love more than ice cream? Wedding cake!!).