To me, nothing says "it's summer" like ice cream-sundaes, sandwiches, even frozen yogurt. I have fond memories of summer vacation at the beach and riding bikes with my cousins to the nearby ice cream shop in the evenings. Back then I always ordered ice cream in a cone, but as I grew up I became an ice-cream-in-a-cup kind of girl. Why? I don't know-I probably thought it was less childish and more civilized. But I recently read that licking ice cream is more satisfying than eating with a spoon, so I'm going back to my childhood ways.
"Flavor in ice cream is released when the fat-which carries the flavor-is warmed to at least body temperature," explains Kay McMath, a food technologist for New Zealand's Massey University, in an article in the August issue of EatingWell magazine. When you lick ice cream it coats the tongue and fully warms the frozen treat. A spoon, on the other hand, insulates the ice cream. And then there's the psychological aspect of savoring the treat more slowly: You just cannot lick ice cream as fast as you can spoon it.
So whether you make your own, or make a pit-stop at your favorite local ice cream shop, enjoy an ice cream cone! You just might find yourself satisfied with less.
Here are my favorite diet-friendly frozen treats to lick during summer:
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (see recipe below): This simple low-fat vanilla ice cream has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving. I like to jazz it up by adding crumbled cookies. (Stir them into the ice cream maker during the last 5 minutes of freezing.)
Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt: Jammy raspberries and rich chocolate combine for a delicious, low-calorie frozen yogurt. Mini chocolate chips give you the most chocolate in every lick, but any kind of chip will work.
Banana Pudding Pops: When it comes to licking, pops rock. These banana popsicles taste rich and decadent but are low-fat and really easy to make. We especially like them with some chocolate chips added.
Strawberry Sherbet: Buttermilk gives this low-fat sherbet tanginess and complements the chunks of fresh sweet strawberries.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
3 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean
1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.
2. Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pod.
3. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.
4. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
5. Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.
Makes 8 servings, 1/2 cup each (1 quart)
Per serving: 202 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 89 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 0 g fiber; 104 mg sodium; 477 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Calcium (25% daily value).
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
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