Get the Scoop on the Healthiest Plant-Based Ice Creams

Learn how to choose the healthiest plant-based, vegan, dairy-free ice creams with this go-to, expert guide with nutritional comparison of popular frozen desserts.

Who remembers when the only dairy-free ice cream options were either tiny cups of dry, icy crystals, or expensive, non-creamy sorbets? Today, thankfully, there are countless substitutes for plant-based frozen desserts that, in many cases, are just as good as the dairy-based ice creams found on shelves. These range from products based on coconut, cashew, almond, soy, oat, to even pistachio or chickpea-based options! There is truly a plant-based, vegan, dairy-free ice cream alternative for everyone these days! Even ice cream shops often carry a few varieties of dairy-free ice cream alternatives.

Rather than buying a pint of dairy-free ice cream, try making your own “nice cream” with my step-by-step guide.

However, as with any ice cream, it’s important to keep the nutritional facts in mind. So, how do you hunt for the heathiest plant-based ice cream? Start with the ingredient list! For example, some pints might contain high levels of tropical oils (palm or coconut) that can increase saturated fat levels, which is linked with higher blood cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Another thing to watch out for is high added sugar content—often dairy-free ice creams contain just as much sugar as regular, dairy-based ice creams. Some, however, only rely on the natural sweetness of fruit!

The sweetness of the banana pairs well with a plain vanilla dairy-free ice cream in this Vegan Warm Banana Split.

Certain dairy-free alternatives, such as Halo Top, boast a higher protein content than others, but make sure to look at the serving size. Often, they only have one or two grams more than other offerings. Overall, the best advice is just to keep an eye on those labels, looking at ingredients and the nutrition facts. In addition, it’s wise to dish up a serving of ice cream into a bowl (typically ½-cup is a serving), rather than grabbing the tub—the next thing you know the whole thing could be gone! Meaning that you might have had up to 4 servings at a single setting in a pint container.

Planet Oat plant-based ice-cream

 

Plant-Based Ice Cream Nutritional Profile

Check out the nutrition facts on these commonly available plant-based (vegan), dairy-free ice cream products. Your best bet is to keep total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars to a minimum when selecting the healthiest plant-based frozen desserts.

Product

(1/2 cup)

Calories Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Total Sugars (g) Added Sugars (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Alden’s Muddie Brownie 165 9 6 15 15 23 2
Arctic Zero Non-Dairy Pistachio 40 0 0 5 5 9 1
Ben & Jerry’s Crème Brulee Cookie 233 11 8 21 21 35 2
Ben & Jerry’s  Non-Dairy Phish Food 248 11 8 26 25 37 2
Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip 143 8 6 14 14 18 1
Cado Java Chip 170 11 1.5 12 NA 18 1
Cado Simply Lemon 170 12 1.5 13 NA 18 1
Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbetto 128 0 0 32 28 32 0
Ciao Bella Tangerine Sorbetto 135 0 0 32 28 32 0
Coconut Bliss Organic Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Infinite Coconut 280 17 15 12 NA 16 1
Coconut Bliss Sweet Cherry Amaretto 165 12 11 11 8 14 1
Enlightened Dairy-Free Monkey Business 100 5 1.5 6 NA 16 4
Enlightened Frozen Dessert Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Bun 90 2 0 7 NA 20 3
Forager Project Cookies & Cream 233 12 8 21 21 26 1
Forager Project Bittersweet Chocolate 180 11 8 17 17 22 2
Frönen Peanut Butter 200 15 4 13 NA 17 7
Frönen Strawberry 90 5 4.5 11 NA 13 1
Häagen-Dazs Amaretto Black Cherry Almon Toffee Non-Dairy 240 9 2 23 NA 37 2
Häagen-Dazs Coconut Caramel Non-Dairy 248 11 11 19 17 35 1
Halo Top Vegan Birthday Cake 68 3 2 5 4 14 2
Halo Top Vegan Peanut Butter Cup 83 4 2 5 4 14 3
Kind Frozen Caramel Almond Sea Salt 218 11 4 14 9 25 5
Mauna Loa Kona Coffee 148 7 5 13 11 21 0
Mauna Load Rocky Road to Hana 187 10 5 15 14 22 1
Mr. Dewie’s Green Tea 270 17 12 21 19 24 4
Mr. Dewie’s Turmeric Spice 260 15 2.5 21 19 29 6
Nada Moo Peach Cobbler 135 6 5 11 2 17 1
Nada Moo Strawberry Cheesecake 128 7 5 8 2 14 1
O My Gelato Cake Walk 98 9 8 2 1 17 1
Oatly Chocolate Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert 158 8 5 14 14 18 2
Ripple Cinnamon Churro 195 11 10 16 NA 23 2
Sambazon Original Acai Berry Sorbet 128 4 1 14 14 26 1
So Delicious Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert 150 8 8 NA 14 19 2
So Delicious Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Cashew Milk Frozen Dessert 188 10 7 18 17 25 2
Sunscoop Toasted Coconut Butter 180 10 9 15 NA 20 1
Sunscoop Wild Blueberry Crumble 170 9 7 15 NA 21 1
SweetPea One ‘n Only Cookies ‘n Cream 210 10 7 20 19 30 3
Talenti Alphonso Mango Sorbetto 120 0 0 26 20 30 1
Talenti Strawberry Hibiscus Sorbetto 113 0 0 26 24 29 0
Tofutti Wild Berry Supreme 190 9 2 19 NA 24 2
Trader Joe’s Non Dairy Strawberry with Almond Brittle & Candied Strawberries 195 8 6 17 15 29 1
Wildgood Mango 128 5 1 17 16 21 1

 

 

Note: g=gram, mg=milligram, sat fat=saturated fat, carb=carbohydrates,

Written by Kathryn Atkinson, with Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

For other healthy, plant-based eating tips, check out the following blogs:

6 Tips for Boosting Protein on a Plant-Based Diet
Top 15 Tips for Powering Up on Vegetables
Top 5 Tips for Greening Your Plate

Image: Matcha Tea Nice Cream from California Vegan by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

 

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