Ice cream aisle can be a waistline nightmare

Ice cream aisle can be a waistline nightmare

Ice cream aisle

If ice cream is your favorite summer treat, know that the frozen dairy aisle can be your downfall.

Ben & Jerry’s pints are likely the worst offenders, with a ½ cup serving of Peanut Butter Cup logging an astronomical 370 calories (that means there are 1,480 calories in the pint, more than the recommended daily caloric intake for a woman weighing 125 pounds).

But don’t think that the so-called healthy ice creams are that much better, despite the claims. Halo Top, which scooped the competition with pints as low as 240 calories for the entire thing (about the same as a ½ cup of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food Fro Yo, one of the company’s lighter treats) is the most popular ice cream in the country right now, and even though it offers protein and fiber, it still doesn’t offer the health benefits of a serving of quinoa paired with mixed greens.

Undoing the Damage

If you do indulge – or even slip and eat the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s – you can undo the damage at the gym or by lacing up your shoes for a run, hitting the pool or hopping on your bike for a ride through the neighborhood.

According to Harvard Medical School, a person burns 2.16 calories per pound of body weight every 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. That means a 155-pound person would have to work out for 2 hours and 45 minutes on the elliptical to erase a 1,480-calorie cheat. Other options include biking more than two and a half hours at a moderate pace, running for more than an hour and a half at a pace of 8 mph or swimming slow laps for three hours.

To erase a 240-calorie pint of Halo Top, the same 155-pound person would have to bike for 45 minutes, run for half an hour, swim slow laps for 45 minutes, or use the elliptical for about 20 minutes.

Better Alternatives

Some healthy – and tasty – alternatives to ice cream include:

  • Frozen grapes. Wash grapes and place them on a sheet pan. After the grapes are frozen, transfer them to a zippered bag.
  • Frozen bananas. Ripe bananas can be frozen, then dipped or rolled in melted dark chocolate for a burst of potassium, antioxidants and fruit flavor.
  • Almond milk frozen fruit smoothie. If it’s a milkshake you crave, blend frozen fruit – mangos, blueberries or cherries, for example – with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Toss in a scoop of vanilla protein powder to help muscles recover after exercise.
  • Sugar-free popsicle. A Popsicle brand sugar free popsicle has just 25 calories, and although it offers no health benefits, it won’t do much damage to your waistline, either.

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