As temperatures rise, so does our appetite for yummy frozen desserts such as ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet or frozen yogurt. Who could get through a summer without having at least one of these deliciously cold treats, right?
The trick is to know what type of frozen dessert you are wanting and what exactly each one of them has to offer with their own unique preparation style. A good understanding of their differences can make it easier for you to make the best choice.
It’s okay to fit in the occasional indulgence. Just plan ahead and maybe go for two scoops (or one) instead of three and hold the whipped cream. Make sure to take a long walk, run or bike ride either before or after to use up those extra calories.
Here’s a rundown on the differences between frozen desserts:
· Ice cream
Ice cream is dairy-based made from sugar, milk, eggs, and flavorings. Ice cream must contain at least 10% milkfat by weight so it contains a higher fat content. A unique feature of ice cream is that it contains more than 50% of air by volume. Because of its higher fat content, it can be stored frozen for months.
Gelato is made and stored at a higher temperature than ice cream, making it softer, smoother, and quick to melt. It contains more milk than cream making its fat content usually lower than ice cream. Because it contains less air than ice cream, gelato is denser thus the mouthfeel is thicker making it seem like its’ higher in fat even though it’s not.
Anyone who is lactose intolerant will appreciate sorbet as it contains no dairy product. The main ingredient is puree of fruit or fruit juice in addition to flavors and spices. It has little to no fat and the whipping of the ice and puree makes sorbet fluffy and light but with a more granulated mouthfeel because of the presence of ice crystals.
This frozen delight has more fat than sorbet as it contains dairy but has less fat than ice cream. It is traditionally fruit flavored but with milk added for creaminess. By law it contains between 1 and 2% butterfat which makes it lighter in flavor and texture.
· Frozen yogurt
This frozen dessert is made with yogurt and may contain live cultures. Sometimes it is made with other dairy products but since its fat content can vary there is no government standard as there is with ice cream. The taste is usually more tart or tangy than that of ice cream.
Tips for enjoying a frozen dessert without feeling guilty
· Portion control, portion control, and portion control. I hope all of you remember this. An official serving size is a ½ cup or about the size of a tennis ball. Yes, that is small and we know most of us don’t have that much self-control. However, you can always ask for a kiddie cone at an ice cream shop. The one thing though to completely avoid is to eat right out of the container – always serve it in a bowl. That way you portion it out, putting the container back in the freezer where it belongs.
· Premium brands will be higher in calories, fat and sugar. Go instead for the standard varieties of ice cream or try reduced fat ice cream or slow churned ice cream. These have less calories, fat, and sugar.
· Sorbets are fat free but they are laden with sugar. Even though very refreshing, carefully read the label looking for a sorbet with lower amounts of sugar.
· Limit candy-based toppings. It can be fun to want to load up your frozen dessert with the crushed candy bars, crushed cookies, and whipped cream topped with sprinkles. But these candy coated toppings will only add a lot of unnecessary calories, fat, and sugar. Opt instead for healthier toppings of chopped nuts, coconut shavings, dried or fresh fruit, crystallized ginger, sesame seeds or crushed pretzels.