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12 frozen desserts under 120 calories

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  July 31, 2012 04:25 PM

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Whether scooped in a dish or piled on a cone, Americans love their frozen desserts.  According to the United States Census, Americans, on average, consume just shy of 25 pounds of frozen dairy desserts (ice cream, low fat ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet) annually.  (Note:  that’s pounds consumed not gained during the year.  Thank goodness.)   Mind you, this doesn’t include fruit bars, sorbet, or even the newest kid in the supermarket deep freeze,  frozen Greek yogurt, that we consume.  

While a 1/2 cup serving of classic vanilla ice cream weighs in at about 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 4.5 teaspoons of added sugars, the supermarket frozen dessert aisle is stockpiled with pints, quarts, and novelty bars of frozen desserts that can serve up as much as twice that amount.  Gourmet ice cream brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs can provide over 250 calories a serving, with the grams of fat and/or added sugars rising upward with the calories.  Of course, that’s if you keep to one serving. 

Math triviahow many ½ cup servings of ice cream in a pint?  Answer:  4.   If you are only getting 2 servings, then you need to double the calories per serving listed on the container label.  The best way to keep to a ½ cup serving is to downsize your ice cream bowl.   Research has shown that individuals will unconsciously scoop over 30% less ice cream in a smaller bowl compared to a larger one.   Let’s face it, the less in the bowl, the less you’ll likely eat.

If a ½ cup serving looks puny to you, top it with ½ cup of low calorie berries (see photo).   The high fiber berries will provide bulk and satiety, or that feeling of fullness, for less calories than a second scoop of ice cream.  Buying pre-portioned bars can also help control calories as long as you don’t go back to the freezer for another bar.

With all this interest in frozen desserts,  both Consumer Reports and the Centers for Science in the Public Interests surveyed many of the frosty treats available on the market.   Here are some of their top picks plus others found down the supermarket frozen dessert aisle that provide less than 120 calories a serving:

What are YOUR favorite frozen desserts that are less than 120 calories?  Please share below.
Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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