Ice Cream Calories and Nutrition Facts

Compare Ice Cream Calories by Brand

Ice cream in a bowl

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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. Before you head to the freezer section compare ice cream calories and scan the nutrition facts label to make the smartest choice.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a 1/2 cup serving (66g) of vanilla ice cream:

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Sugars: 14g
  • Protein: 2g

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. Why? Because 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.

And of course, Ice cream calories and 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 Chocolate Ice Cream provides 330 calories and 21 grams of fat

Low-Calorie Ice Cream Brands 

One popular diet-friendly ice cream brand among is Edy's. The brand makes a variety of flavors so you are sure to find one that you enjoy. 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? Edy's Slow Churned Light Mint Chocolate Chip is a fan favorite. 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. 

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.

More popular low-cal ice cream picks include:

  • Edy's Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Vanilla provides 100 calories
  • Breyers CarbSmart Vanilla provides 110 calories
  • Halo Top Vanilla Bean (one entire pint) contains 290 calories

Remember to 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.

Low-Calorie Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches

One popular brand of ice cream bar among ice cream lovers 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.

Other low-calorie ice cream bar picks are:

  • Fudgesicle (one bar) contains 100 calories
  • Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars (one bar) contains 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. So choose the treat that you enjoy the most and keep portion control in mind.

A top 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 you probably won't reach for a second. If you can't find that yummy dessert at your local grocery store, try a Skinny Cow Vanilla Gone Wild Ice Cream Sandwich which will add only 160 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.

One of the highest calorie ice creams comes from Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby Ice Cream and provides 340 calories per half cup serving.

Tips to Cut Ice Cream Calories

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 percent 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.

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Article Sources
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