Ice Cream Nutrition Facts

The Best and Worst Ice Cream for Your Diet

best low calorie ice cream
Jasmin Awad / EyeEm/ Getty Images

It can be tough to stay on your diet while satisfying your craving for yummy, creamy ice cream. Some ice creams contain more than 300 calories per half-cup serving. The good news is, many varieties are now available that will please your taste buds for half the calories—or less—of regular ice cream. 

Calories in a Bowl of Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Serving (100 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 137 
Calories from Fat 63 
Total Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4.5g23%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g 
Monounsaturated Fat 2g 
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 53mg2%
Potassium 131mg4%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugars 14g 
Protein 2.3g 
Vitamin A 5% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 8% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Ice cream is delicious, but it is a high-calorie, high fat food. Most nutritionists would describe ice cream calories as "empty calories." Empty calorie foods are those that provide energy primarily in the form of added sugar and unhealthy solid fats such as saturated fat or trans fat. Diet experts recommend that you limit your intake of empty calorie foods.

So does that mean you can't eat ice cream at all? Of course not. But you should enjoy the treat in moderation and be mindful of the fat and calories in ice cream when you indulge. Keep portion size in mind. The calories in a bowl of ice cream might be very different than what is indicated on the label. A serving of ice cream is about 1/2 cup or 100 grams. Most of us heap more than that into a bowl.

Ice cream nutrition can vary greatly between brands and flavors. These are calorie counts for popular ice cream treats.

  • One-half scoop serving of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia provides 260 calories and 14 grams of fat
  • One Klondike Bar provides 250 calories and 14 grams of fat
  • One scoop of Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream provides 330 calories and 21 grams of fat

Best Low-Calorie Ice Cream

My favorite diet-friendly ice cream brand among is Edy's. I've tried a lot of flavors and have rarely been disappointed. Edy's is marketed as Dreyer's brand in some locations, so be sure to look for it if you can't find Edy's.

So what's the best Edy's flavor? My favorite is Edy's Slow Churned Light Mint Chocolate Chip. It has a refreshing flavor and plenty of chocolate chips in every spoonful. A 1/2 cup serving provides just 120 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Yum!

Another favorite is Edy's Slow Churned Light Peanut Butter Cup. This delicious flavor satisfies both a candy and an ice cream craving. It has 130 calories per serving and 5 grams of fat. The low-calorie ice cream tastes indulgent, salty and sweet.

If you prefer to try a different brand, consider Breyers "1/2 The Fat" Cookie and Cream. It provides a delicious cookie crunch and creamy flavor. But this yummy treat only provides 120 calories per serving. 

More of my favorite low-cal ice cream picks include:

  • Edy's Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Vanilla - 100 calories
  • Breyers "1/2 The Fat" Creamy Vanilla - 100 calories
  • Weight Watchers Giant Vanilla Fudge Sundae Cup (1 container) - 160 calories

Bonus Tip: Never eat ice cream out of the container. You may be surprised to find you can satisfy your craving for fewer calories if you spoon a single serving (1/2 cup) into a bowl and eat it slowly.

Best Low-Calorie Bars

My top pick among ice cream bars are the Weight Watchers sorbet and ice cream bars that come in a variety of flavors.

You'll find both fruit flavored bars, fudge bars and other tasty treats. Most are under 150 calories and many are even under 100-calories per bar.

My other low-calorie ice cream bar picks are:

  • Fudgesicle 100 Calorie Premium Fudge Bar (1 bar) - 100 calories
  • Skinny Cow Low-Fat Fudge Bar (1 bar) - 100 calories

Of course, if you don't like the taste of the low-fat ice cream, the calorie count doesn't matter. And a bad experience with a diet food can leave you reaching for more of the full-fat variety. Fortunately, I've done some (tasty!) research and can provide you with what I consider freezer aisle winners.

Here are some of my top low-calorie ice cream picks.

Best Low-Calorie Ice Cream Sandwiches

My favorite ice cream sandwich is the Klondike Classic Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich. At 180 calories per treat, they are slightly higher in calories than other sandwiches, but I promise, you won't reach for a second. If you can't find that yummy dessert at your local grocery store, I also like the Skinny Cow Low Fat Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich which will add only 140 calories to your daily total.

Worst Ice Cream for a Healthy Diet

So which one is the worst pick if you're trying to eat a healthy diet? Any ice cream with multiple mix-ins and candies is likely to ruin your calorie deficit for the day. While they taste great, they provide way more fat and calories than you probably need to satisfy your craving.

Two of the highest calorie ice creams come from Ben & Jerry's. Chubby Hubby Ice Cream provides 340 calories per half cup serving and Peanut Buttah Cookie Core provides 320 per serving.

Low-Calorie Ice Cream Tips

If you want to find the best diet-friendly ice-cream, look for the words "cold-churned" on the label. The process of cold churning (also known as double- or slow-churning), mixes small parts of milk fat throughout the ice cream. Churning kneads the fat molecules, stretches them and spreads them evenly, which provides these lower-calorie ice creams with the same texture as the regular varieties. Basically, the process makes you think you're eating more fat than you actually are.

It's important to remember, though, that not all "diet" ice creams are as low in calories. For instance, varieties labeled as reduced-fat contain just 25% less fat than the regular version, so your total calorie count may still be fairly high. Light versions contain half the fat of regular ice cream. Generally, the lowest calorie choice is one labeled low-fat, which means it has less than three grams of fat per serving.

Was this page helpful?