The Scoop on Ice Cream

How to indulge in ice cream and stay within your PointsPlus™ allowance.
The Scoop on Ice Cream
Whether you prefer a daily dose of homemade frozen sorbet or a once-in-a-blue-moon treat of super-premium ice cream, you can indulge and stay within your weekly PointsPlus Allowance.

We've put together a frozen dessert PointsPlus value comparison chart and consulted an ice cream authority to help you cool your taste buds healthfully and deliciously during these dog days of summer.

If you can't overcome your ice cream cravings, you're not alone. It seems like everyone in America is screaming for ice cream. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2003 the United States produced about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream, or about 20 quarts per person, more than any other country in the world.

Get fresh
The most important quality in ice cream is fresh ingredients, says John Harrison, the official taster for Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. Harrison must know what he's talking about: The man has tasted more than 180 million gallons of ice cream. (We won't calculate the PointsPlus value of that one!)

"What makes a great ice cream is a commitment to the freshest dairy products, such as milk, cream and condensed milk, as well as fresh sugar and natural flavors," says Harrison. And although a dip into a "super-premium" ice cream such as Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's can cost you up to a PointsPlus value of 10 per serving (and that's a half cup, not a whole pint), sometimes all the low-fat ice cream in the world can't make up for the unparalleled flavor of the real thing.

Homemade treats
Making your own ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt can be tricky, but the homemade flavor is worth your while. To enhance the flavor, Harrison suggests making your mixture at night and keeping it in the fridge overnight before freezing it. He also recommends adding some eggs or egg whites to your mixture for creaminess (but if you do, make sure to heat the mixture to 145ºF for 15 minutes before preparing, to avoid salmonella poisoning). For a fruit flavor with less ice, add the fruit juice in first and the fruit pieces just before the mixture freezes. And since homemade ice cream does not hold as well as store-bought, Harrison recommends "eating it all in one day." We recommend sharing.

Lighten up
If you're staying away from the Chubby Hubby and aren't patient enough to make it yourself, there are plenty of excellent low-fat options out there. Take a trip down memory lane with a scoop of rainbow sherbet, a classic treat that is naturally low in fat and only 4 percent dairy. If you're looking for something fruitier, sorbets and Italian ices pack a lot of flavor with a PointsPlus value between 2 and 3 per serving. Harrison also recommends mixing the fruity flavors, such as orange, with some low-fat vanilla ice cream (remember to count the extra PointsPlus values).

And you can't forget the ice cream novelties, separately wrapped items such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks and fruit juice pops. These lend themselves well to portion control, since it takes more effort to unwrap three ice cream sandwiches than it does to take an extra large scoop from the ice cream tub. They also come in a variety of flavors and low-fat options.

To determine which ice cream treat is worth the PointsPlus values, check out the following table, and enjoy:

Product Portion Size PointsPlus value
Fruit-flavored ice pop 1 item 1
Sherbert 1/2 cup 2
Sorbet 1/2 cup 2
Low-fat frozen yogurt 1/2 cup 3
Ice cream sandwich 1 item 4
Fat-free ice cream, no sugar added 1/2 cup 2
Soft-serve French vanilla ice cream 1/2 cup 5
Premium ice cream 1/2 cup 8

Free Newsletter Get it now