By Carissa Wright, GalTime Associate Producer
When you get the craving for ice cream, there are few things that can get in your way. Most of us will trek to our kitchen, the grocery store, or even our local ice cream parlor. But, with the recent health craze that has swept the nation, there is only one thing that can stop us dead in our tracks-the feeling deep down that just maybe calorie-laden ice cream isn't the healthiest late night decision.
When the lower-cal craze first hit grocery stores, companies were still experimenting with ways to create tasteful ice cream treats that people could enjoy and feel good about. Now the freezers are choc full of lower calorie novelties and ice creams, but with such an overwhelming number, it's hard to make a decision while you're shivering in the freezer aisle.
So, GalTime decided to hold its first lower calorie ice cream taste testing party. We invited over some of the girls, stocked up on several popular brands of healthier ice cream and frozen treats, and sampled each one until we could take no more. Here is our list of the best lower calorie desserts to try this summer that made both our bellies and our conscience very, very happy.
- Häagen-Dazs Fat Free Raspberry Sorbet-120 calories/half cup
As one of the first treats we tried, this one was a great way to start off. This smooth blend of sorbet and ripe raspberries was cool and refreshing. With a sweet and tangy flavor, it's easy to get lost in a cup of this. It's the perfect fruity treat for summer.
"I could not believe how smooth it was," says a surprised Lauren N. "I expected it to be more grainy, but it just melted away so evenly, and the flavor was absolutely amazing."
Lauren K says, "I'm a fan of fresh fruit, so this was definitely a hit for me. The flavor rang very true, and I loved the consistency. I want more!"
We're looking forward to trying the chocolate and the strawberry sorbet next. If they are anywhere as smooth and flavorful as the raspberry, they will also end up on our list of summer favorites. Thumbs up on this one!
- Weight Watchers Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Ice Cream Bar-100 calories/bar
I've got to admit, we were skeptical about this one. Although the packaging made the treat look delectable, we assumed that any product directly associated with weight loss probably didn't taste very good. However, we were surprised by the results of our taste test, and very happily so.
Out of the various low calorie ice cream bars, this was our favorite. This frozen snack consists of low fat strawberry ice cream with a strawberry swirl, dipped in milk chocolate flavored coating and popped onto a stick.
"This was the best of the portable bars," Taryn explained. "It had the most flavor, and I liked that it was only half dipped in chocolate, so it wasn't overwhelming."
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Two downsides-this particular bar wasn't the most secure (a few treats found their way to the floor rather than to our stomachs after dropping off of the stick). Also, the chocolate coating was not of the highest quality, but the treat was still very good overall. The serving size was also great.
- Edy's Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Yogurt Blends Caramel Praline Crunch-120 calories/half cup
This was my personal favorite. For only 120 calories this treat of vanilla yogurt, caramel, and tasty almond praline pieces was one of the richest sweets we tried. It had the thickness of a normal bowl of ice cream, and the caramel swirl added immense flavor.
"I like this because both the frozen yogurt and the fixing have flavor. All of the ingredients accent each other nicely. Edy's always does a great job, even with their low calorie desserts," said a satisfied Lauren N.
"It definitely doesn't taste low fat," Taryn observed. "It's a lot heavier, filling, and really good!"
Edy's entire line of slow churned ice creams and yogurt blends are low in calories, and high in flavor. Other great flavors to try include Chocolate Vanilla Swirl yogurt blends, Mint Cookie Crunch Light, and the Vanilla Bean snack cup.
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- Elan Low Fat Frozen Yogurt Black Raspberry-130 calories/half cup
Elan, which is produced by the famous Brigham's ice cream brand, was the fan favorite by far. Of all of the products we tested, this one had a wonderfully creamy finish, a punch of flavor, and a great texture. It tasted like regular, calorie-loaded ice cream. The group raved over this one.
"This was so refreshing, and it wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be," explains Melissa.
"It was pleasantly fruity and smooth. It was definitely something I'd make a smoothie or milkshake with," Lauren K says.
"It wasn't too sweet like I thought it'd be," says a surprised Lauren N.
Elan comes in a variety of rich and tasty flavors including traditional chocolate and vanilla, and even coffee. It's all natural, and gluten free, so this is a frozen indulgence you can definitely feel good about.
- Simply Enjoy Mango Sorbetto-80 calories/half cup
This brightly colored treat was quite a pleasant surprise. It's a store brand (Stop & Shop and Giant stores along the East coast). At only 80 calories, its smooth consistency put this near the top of our list. If you really like the taste of natural fruit, this is definitely the treat for you. Although not every girl in the group was a fan of mango, we all found it pleasant, and the flavor rang very true.
"The consistency is great, it melts in your mouth. The flavor is very true, and I usually don't like mango," says Lauren K.
Lauren N says, "If you like mango, it's definitely not bad. It's very sweet. It seems like a great brand."
We're looking forward to trying the raspberry sorbetto next. If it's anywhere as smooth and flavorful as the mango it could become one of our summer favorites. Thumbs up on this one!
Honorable (but not totally agreed upon) mentions:
Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream-dubbed "cool and refreshing" by one taste tester, but "grainy and unoriginal" by another.
Skinny Cow Cookies 'n Cream Truffle-"fantastic presentation" and "decadent," but the flavor of the cookie was "not intense enough."
Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cookies-the cookie itself was described to be "pretty good," but the final verdict was that "it tasted low calorie and the serving size was pretty small."
The Original Brand Fudgsicle-"simple" and "classic."More from GalTime.com
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