Time for an Ice Cream Cone?

Ice Cream.  There's something about it: cold, creamy, rich and sweet.  I like mine best in a sugar cone, licking it up in little laps. That's the way it was meant to be---perfect. It's takes me back to childhood.  Of course, my dad was an Extension Specialist and Professor in dairy nutrition, so we always had plenty around! Always loved that about growing up.

A reader asked for a little guidance in selecting ice cream treats at take out shops for her summer splurges, which is an excellent request for the start of our hot weather season.

Fat content is key! A quick lesson in ice creams:  regular ice cream is 10% butterfat by weight, premium ice cream is 16% fat,  ice milk is 2-7% fat,  whole milk frozen yogurt is 3-4% fat, while fat free frozen yogurt is... you guessed it,  0% fat!  Frozen yogurt seems like it would always be the healthier choice, but not always.  Make sure it's a fat-free variety, because some have more fat and calories than regular ice creams.  As a rule, frozen yogurt has more calcium than ice creams, but only about half the amount of calcium than regular yogurt, which really bums out many of the people I work with. (They'd like to count is as a full serving of milk :)  Regular yogurt has about 20 mg. (20%) calcium in a half cup serving (4 oz.) while frozen yogurt only comes in at 10 mg.  It still is a fairly rich source, but not as rich as the real stuff!  The same is true for it's protein content.  So, when you can, choose fat-free frozen yogurt, or ice milk (a.k.a. low fat ice cream.)

Watch your portion! Go small if you want your waist to be small. The typical small is a 4 oz. serving.  That's only a half cup, or half the size of your fist. Measure that out at home some time and really examine how big (small?) that is. Watch out for servers who love to scoop BIG.  That will mean your portion now has lots more calories, too.  Maybe she's not really doing you a favor!

Don't go hungry.  Seriously.  Go after dinner or after lunch.  Don't go for lunch or you'll end up ordering weigh too much!

A quick rundown on a few Ice Cream Shops:

                                      calories        fat (g.)    sat. fat (g.)
    small cone                                230            7             4
    small heath blizzard                    600          25           16
    large heath blizzard*                  1260          57           35
McDonald's cone                           150            5             3
Baskin-Robbins (4 oz.)          
    FF vanilla yogurt                        150            0             0
    lemon sorbet                            130            0             0
    van/pomegranate parfait yogurt   240            8             6
    no sugar/lowfat berry banana      150            6             3.5
    lite cappuccino chip                    220            8             4.5
    pralines 'n cream                       280           14            8
TCBY (4 oz.)                                110             0            0
Culver's frozen custard
    vanilla, 1 scoop                         320           14            0
               2 scoops                       592           27           17

* (This should come with a coupon to the local E.R.!)

Today, my husband and I enjoyed walking a 4.2 mile loop around a nearby lake.  Great day for it:  not too hot with a gentle breeze.  Our route just happens to end up at a soft serve ice cream shop!  Our choice? A small vanilla cone for each of us.  Perfect! We felt "righteous" (my husband's word) for our exercise, time together and our small treat choice!

Message for today?  Enjoy an occasional ice cream treat, but do it with mindfulness.  Think before you lick, and then enjoy every frozen minute of it!

Fire up!  You can do this!!