Ice Cream Offers A Choice Regardless of Dietary Restrictions
By Pamela Redwine
Americans consume more ice cream than any other nation in the world. It is one of the most-enjoyed desserts by all ages, from children to their grandparents. Dairy desserts can vary from non-fat to very high fat and offer a choice for everyone regardless of dietary restrictions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets labeling standards for ice cream, so you will get a consistent product, no matter which brand you buy. There is plenty of information on the ice cream food labels, but – Do you know what it really means? These definitions will help you decide which kind to buy:
Reduced-fat: contains at least 25 percent less total fat than regular ice cream.
Light: contains at least 50 percent less total fat than regular ice cream.
Low-fat: contains a maximum of 3 grams of total fat per serving (1/2 cup).
Non-fat: contains less than 0.5 gram of total fat per serving.
Premium: has a higher fat content than the regular ice cream, and the manufacturer uses higher-quality ingredients.
Super premium: usually has a high fat content (about 60 percent of calories from fat), and the manufacturer uses the best-quality ingredients.
Ice cream is best stored in the freezer for one or two months. A thin, plastic film is sometimes used inside the carton to cover commercial ice cream. This prevents absorption of other food odors in the freezer. If this film is missing, you can press a sheet of wax paper against the ice cream before re-sealing the carton. The texture and quality of ice cream will change over time from thawing and re-freezing.
Sometimes frozen ice cream is hard to scoop. Try putting the ice cream container in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will make the ice cream easier to scoop or slice. Also, to prevent the ice cream from sticking to the scoop, dip the scoop in cold water before using.
Ice cream is a dairy product and belongs in the milk group of the My Pyramid. According to the new dietary guidelines, we should consume from 2 to 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk (or equivalent) every day depending on the caloric level.
This doesn’t mean, however, (as some of us may think) that we need 3 cups of ice cream every day. If you usually follow a healthy diet, and ice cream is just a treat, you can enjoy a small amount of even the richer varieties once in a while.
Just keep in mind that with ice cream, calories add up very fast, and the key to a healthy diet is control.