Ice Cream Options
Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:
Q: I have a sweet tooth at night. I like to reward myself after a hard day at work with a bowl of ice cream before bed. Is this ok to do since I now have diabetes?
A: You can definitely reward yourself! However, you’ll need to be mindful about the ice cream you are eating. As usual, you’ll want to be mindful of portion size and carbohydrates. Some things you’ll want to think about:
- Will my ice cream treat come with dinner or will I be having this as a snack later?
- How many carbohydrates can I eat at this particular time?
- What is the serving size and total carbohydrate for the treat I want?
Depending on your tastes, there are various products available for ice cream treats. If you prefer something like a typical ice cream, 1 portion – that provides about 20 grams of carbohydrates will be 1/2 cup and this is not including any toppings or extras.
I suggest you buy your ice cream treats already packaged in one portion – this will eliminate any messing measuring, help you resist over serving yourself and hopefully prevent you from going back for a “few more bites.”
There are many products on the marketplace that offer single serving options (and traditional half and full gallons) with and without extras/toppings. Just to list a few:
Breyer’s Carb Smart - “Perfect craving satisfier for someone on a low-carb diet.” On the outside of the package you may see something like “5 Net Carbs.” What’s going here is that the company is subtracting the 2g of fiber and the 2g of sugar alcohols. The American Diabetes Association does not follow these practices. Usually a product must have 5g of fiber or 5g of sugar alcohols before you can do any subtracting. Also, I should note that the calories are around 200 for most of these products, so keep this in mind when figuring out your daily caloric intake. For more information on this see my posting on Carbohydrate Counting. Some of Breyer’s Carb Smart products include:
- Almond Bar – 9g of carbohydrates
- Fudge Bar – 6.5g of carbohydrates
- Ice Cream Bar – 9g of carbohyrates
Blue Bunny – this company has a number of different types of frozen desserts with varying carbohydrate and calorie amounts (some low, some high so be careful). Blue Bunny Nutrition Info. For example:
- 100 calorie butter pecan bar – 10 grams of carbohydrates per bar
- Big star bar chocolate – 12 grams of carbohydrates
- Banana pops – 9 grams grams of carbohydrates
You can often find various types of ice creams that are low in carbohydrates or described as having no added sugar. Be careful of “sugar free” foods however. Sugar free doesn’t mean carbohydrate free. In fact, I recommend when you are looking at a product that says “sugar free” on it, compare the regular version (full sugar version) and see what the carbohydrate count is. Often times the sugar will be zero but the carbohydrate is actually higher in the sugar free food. Not only that, but because they label the product as being “sugar free,” they’re probably going to charge you more money for it too!
Again, be mindful of calories on sugar free/carb free foods, when they remove the carbohydrate, they generally put something else in like fat and/or sodium.
If you’re in the mood for something other than ice cream, also consider fruit bars, frozen yogurt or gelato – but be sure to check the label as always.
For a super healthy cold treat with less calories, fat and carbohydrates try these:
- Make a frozen popsicle out of Crystal Light Lemonade
- Freeze Grapes and pop 17 in your mouth for 1 carbohydrate
- Prepare a smoothie, pour into an ice tray and pop a few out for a creamy, healthy treat
Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.