Americans love ice cream and other frozen treats, especially when the weather is warm. The good news is that we can find some great choices in the ice cream aisle for 150 calories or less per serving. But which ones taste best? We all want to use our discretionary calories (not to mention our money) wisely by buying ice creams that are truly pleasing to the palate.
That's why I went on a mission to my local grocery store to find the most satisfying frozen desserts for 150 calories or less. (It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!)
The 11 frozen treats below offer something for everyone -- the chocolate craver, the nostalgia buff, the vanilla purist, etc. Some are old favorites and some are new to the ice cream scene.
These treats are all about chocolate from the inside out, featuring high-fiber chocolate ice cream bars covered with chocolate cookie crumbs. Best of all, they're big enough that you'll be enjoying the chocolate flavor for more than a few minutes.
2. Creamsicle Orange & Raspberry Ice Cream Bars (100 calories per bar).
There's something cool and refreshing about the combination of fruit sherbet and vanilla ice cream. Some of us have fond memories from our youth of 50/50 bars bought from the ice cream truck or corner market. These 100-calorie bars won't disappoint nostalgia buffs.
3. Lucerne Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich (150 calories per sandwich).
In the mood for chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla ice cream? With this old-fashioned frozen treat; you get all three flavors in one.
4. Klondike Slim a Bear Vanilla Bars (100 calories per bar).
Sheer decadence -- creamy vanilla ice cream covered in to-die-for milk chocolate coating. These frozen treats are just 100 calories because of their small serving size. Luckily, they are delicious enough that you'll probably be satisfied with just one.
5. Weight Watchers Giant Mint Fudge Ice Cream Sundae Cone (140 calories per cone).
This features a crisp chocolate cone filled with light, mint-flavored ice cream. The creamy and crunchy combination is hard to beat. The only problem is that the mint cones aren't easy to find (more stores seem to carry the vanilla caramel or chocolate options.)
6. Safeway Select Mint Chocolate Chip Light Ice Cream (120 calories per 1/2 cup).
I've tasted my share of mint ice creams because it's a family favorite, and this light brand seems to have it all -- creaminess, great flavor, and fewer calories.
7. Dreyer's/Edy's Loaded Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (150 calories per 1/2 cup).
A half cup is a satisfying serving because the swirls of peanut butter and chunks of peanut butter cups crank the decadence factor of this chocolate ice cream up a few notches. This product uses the "slow churned" technique, which creates creamy, rich-textured ice cream using lower-fat milk.
8. Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Yogurt Blends Cappuccino Chip (110 calories per 1/2 cup).
Creamy, cappuccino-flavored ice cream dotted with chocolate chips is the perfect combination of flavors for the Caffe Mocha lovers out there.
9. Breyer's Smooth & Dreamy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (110 calories per 1/2 cup).
This is a find for the vanilla purists out there. You'll find no chips or ribbons of anything in this ice cream, just real vanilla bean specks.
10. Dreyer's/Edy's Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (130 calories per 1/2 cup).
If you're the first to pick out the chocolate-covered cherries from the box of chocolates, this ice cream will hit the spot. It features creamy cherry-flavored ice cream mixed with flavorful dark chocolate chips and chunks of real cherries -- a match made in heaven.
11. Good Humor Snack Pops (100 calories per pop).
These definitely don't taste light. I, for one, am satisfied with only one pop, even though the box lists two pops as a single serving. They come in strawberry and chocolate (I prefer the strawberry).
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for WebMD and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.