Can I Eat Ice Cream and Still be Healthy?

Can I Eat Ice Cream and Still be Healthy

It’s always a good idea to follow your doctor’s advice regarding a healthy diet, but most people can enjoy the occasional indulgence.

The quick and important answer is: Yes! You can certainly eat ice cream and still be healthy. Occasionally indulging in your favorite ice cream flavor is A-OK, as long as you eat it in moderation alongside an otherwise healthy diet.

That does come with caveats, though. Sure, ice cream contains Vitamin D and calcium–but it’s also loaded with sugar and saturated fats. Both can increase cholesterol and contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

But there are lots of ways to work ice cream into your diet without it having a negative impact, especially if your diet is generally healthy–that is, filled with lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Learn what a perfect day of nutrition looks like

In an essay on, registered dietician Brigitte Zeitlin admits she eats dessert every day. “It is all about everything else going into my body that day,” Zeitlin writes. “My goal every day is to fill up on as many fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins as I can. … [Also] portion control is key.”

Here are a few tips and tricks to keeping life sweet with ice cream while remaining healthy and fit.

Keep it small

A serving of ice cream is probably less than you think it is. Check the label, and use a measuring cup to keep yourself honest. Or if you’re at the ice cream shop, order a small size or even a kiddie. Does your scoop look too small? Over time, your mental image of a serving will adjust, and you won’t feel so deprived.

Practice mindful eating

Though your portion is smaller, that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it any less. The key is to eat mindfully, being fully present and aware of your food. Slow down, take smaller bites, and cut out distractions like reading or looking at your phone. You’ll end up eating less and savoring your dessert more.

Try vegan, dairy-free ice cream

Try ice cream made with soy, oat, almond, or cashew milk instead of regular milk and cream. These alternatives tend to have less saturated fat and fewer calories. They’re also a better option for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Read the label

And speaking of keeping an eye on ingredients: If you’re buying ice cream from the store, be sure to check the container’s label for the sugar, fat, and calorie content per serving. Compare labels and pick the healthier option.

Spruce up your ice cream with healthy toppings

Instead of topping your ice cream with sugar-laden chocolate sauce, try a handful (or two) of fruit, shredded coconut, chia seeds, whole grain cereal, or chopped nuts. You may even find you prefer the healthier choice!

Look for alternatives

Okay, so this means you’re technically not eating ice cream, but discovering healthier frozen treats might be exactly what the doctor (and your taste buds) ordered. Frozen Greek yogurt, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, sorbet, and fresh fruit popsicles all can deliver that cold, sweet satisfaction with fewer calories and fat.

Do you have Medicare questions? We have answers.

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