Have you noticed something going on?? Something in the freezer section of the grocery store?? So many “ice creams” are now trying to be all “hey! Hey! I’m totes healthy! You can eat the whole pint and it won’t blow your calorie budget for the day AND you can get some protein! Do it! Dooooo iiiiiitttt!! Ice cream for health!!”
I mean, it sounds good, but also a little bit like a clown trying to lure me into a van with candy. Are they worth the hype? I caught about 700* people buying Halo Top the last time I was at the grocery store, so maybe there’s something to it. Let’s try a bunch and find out!
Halo Top was invented because the founder was hypoglycemic and wanted a delicious dessert that wouldn’t spike his insulin, which is a valid reason to make such a thing. Somewhere along the line, fitness influencers and Crossfitters adopted it (22 grams of protein in a pint! #gainz) and it has become crazy popular. I mean, have you seen how much freezer real estate it gets at the store?? They even sell it at Walgreens!
My husband has some dietary reasons to avoid huge amounts of sugar as well, so it seems like there’s always a pint or two of Halo Top in our freezer- this one was easy to check off the list! I will agree that it is a pretty good ice cream replica, and a bonus is that it comes in a billion flavors, and even a few non-dairy alternatives, so there’s something for everyone. BUT it is sweetened with stevia, and I hate stevia. Like, haaaaaate it. For one, I really don’t like how it tastes, but even if I could get past that, if I eat stevia, it’s basically like I’ve eaten 100 very explosive bees all armed with tiny steak knives. So I get really mad when a thing says “no artificial sweeteners!!!” and then I dig deep into the ingredient list and fucking stevia is lurking around. NO THANK YOU.
So this whole stevia thing has my list narrowed down to lifestyle ice creams that also don’t have stevia, which is…. a shorter list.
“Fit Frozen Desserts!” “Lactose Free!” “Gluten Free!” “Fat Free!” “GMO Free!” are things listed all over the package for this guy. It should also include “Flavor Free!”. I tried Cookie Shake, and it was sad. Not terrible, per se- it was, chocolate-ish? But so boring that eating the whole pint wasn’t even appealing. You know it’s good when you forget it’s even in the freezer- I never finished eating it beyond the first half inch down.
Does this one count? I’m not sure, but I think it’s trying to sneak into this party, calling itself a “high protein ice cream alternative”. It’s frozen greek yogurt, which is delicious it’s own, and this dessert is overall pretty good. It’s not a low sugar option (sweetened with actual sugar), so that makes it also not low calorie, but the yogurt gives the protein a boost. I did find myself pecking around for chunks (despite the flavor being called “rolling in the dough”), but flavor-wise this one is 100% tasty. I do like to buy the bar version that Yasso sells when they’re on sale- they are nice to have in the freezer when you just need a quick something to grab.
The internet lost it’s damn mind when Enlightened showed up on the scene with a whole bunch of crazy flavors. It’s sweetened with erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol, and that’s fine I guess. I bought the cookies and cream flavor, and….zzzzzzzz…… wait what?? What were we talking about?? Oh yeah, the most BORING ICED DESSERT OF ALL TIME. If you dropped a spoonful of ice cream into a whole blender full of ice, and then blended it, and refroze it, that’s basically what we have here. Holy yawn. I threw this out.
If there is a hero in this scenario, it’s obviously going to be Target, who swooped in last month with their own player in the game. This has alternative sweeteners, but also molasses, so it’s not quite a low calorie/low sugar option, but it packs the highest protein punch per serving. (Full disclosure though- all products listed have a “1/2 cup” serving size at various weights, while this guy has a “2/3 cup” size, so only 3 servings per pint vs 4 for the others). But hey! This one is pretty tasty! It’s not “I need to demolish this whole pint” tasty, but certainly a passable ice cream alternative. The erythritol leaves a bit of an aftertaste, but the chunk ratio is decent, and they have some good flavor choices.
The former leader in the pint category just couldn’t sit this one out, so they came out with a lower calorie version too. BUT I SEE YOU BEN AND JERRY. A normal serving of B&J chocolate chip cookie dough weighs in at a hefty 104 grams for a 1/2 cup serving. A 1/2 cup serving of the lower fat version, chocolate milk and cookies, is 68 grams. 68!!! This product is just ice cream made with milk instead of cream and then whipped with a shit-ton of air. Is it delicious? Of course! It’s made from both love and ingredients you can find in your kitchen. It costs exactly the same as a regular pint though, and you’re paying for a lot of air. SO……….. I guess if you just can’t be trusted to not eat the whole pint, maybe this is for you, but I’d rather have the real deal for the money.
|BRAND||SERVING SIZE||CALORIES PER SERVING||PROTEIN PER SERVING||SWEETENED WITH…|
|HALO TOP||66g||90||5g||Cane sugar, stevia|
|ARCTIC ZERO||60g||35||3g||Cane sugar,, monk fruit concentrate|
|YASSO FROZEN YOGURT||76g||130||6g||Sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin|
|ENLIGHTENED||69g||80||6g||Erythritol, cane sugar|
|ARCHER FARMS||85g||110||7g||Molasses, erythritol, monk fruit extract|
|BEN & JERRY’S MOO-PHORIA||68g||140||3g||Liquid sugar, sugar, brown sugar|
|JESS’S SUPER PROTEIN BOWL||268g||296||44g||Sucralose|
If you need a low sugar option….
…. and you can stand stevia, go with the original, Halo Top. It’s the current best selling pint for a reason!
If you need a low calorie option and you hate stevia…
The Target version is not bad! It’s also a tiny bit cheaper than the rest of the options on this list. Runner up: Yasso, which is technically more delicious but not as exciting flavor-wise.
If you just really want/need protein but have a sweet tooth…
Make my super delicious protein bowl! Mix the following in a bowl vigorously:
- 1 container of Fage 2% plain greek yogurt
- 1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder (I use MyProtein)
- 2 tablespoons PBFit powdered peanut butter
- a splash or so of water
- optional: add some crushed oreos or chocolate chips or oatmeal!
If you just want to YOLO and have some actual real delicious ice cream…
EAT THE ICE CREAM. Maybe don’t do it every day, but life is too short to not have something delicious sometimes, and if you are really truly craving ice cream, a fake-out just doesn’t do the trick. I really like the vanilla bean cookie dough flavor from Scratch– it has legit HUNKS of cookie dough in it- you can imagine someone just rough-cutting cookie dough in their kitchen and dropping it in, generously. It’s so. freaking. good.
*give or take 697
As always, it doesn’t take much arm-twisting to get me to spend my own money on potentially delicious things, so I did.