Calorie spotting: ice cream portions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s ice cream weather.  But in addition to tasting wonderful, ice cream can be high calorie.  What to do?  Eat fake ice cream?  Avoid ice cream?  Forget dinner and just eat ice cream?  Well, all of these might work, but if you’d like to enjoy delicious real ice cream and still control calories, the best strategy is portion control.

If your idea for dessert is a bowl of ice cream, you may need a smaller bowl.  Consider these 3 portion sizes, using an average quality ice cream:

                  volume           weight of ice cream       calories
bowl             2-1/2 cup                11.5 oz              650
small cup            1 cup                4.6 oz               260
espresso cup         6 TB                 1.7 oz                98

The bowl is the standard cereal-soup-sized bowl.  If that’s your go-to dessert bowl, you could be eating over 600 calories of ice cream.  It would be hard to use that large bowl and be satisfied with a portion that’s less than 1/2 cup.  Solution: pick a very small bowl, or in this case a demitasse size cup.  You can still enjoy ice cream, but eat a whole lot less.  Added bonus: it’s a great way to make use of heirloom tea, espresso or demitasse cups.  If you don’t have any, you can probably find some at a second-hand shop.

But if you’re just into gorging out, you could buy so-called Slow Churned ice cream.  Reality check: slow churning has nothing to do with making calories disappear.  It’s a way to whip more air into the product.  Result: 1/2 cup has fewer calories than regular ice cream, but that’s because there’s actually less ice cream in that 1/2 cup.  More of the volume is air, trapped by a variety of chemical additives that create the look and feel of ice cream without the actual ice cream.  Even at that, slow churned ice creams have about 100 calories per 1/2 cup, so filling up that big bowl still comes close to 500 calories.

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