Sunday, April 16, 2017

ice cream tastings

First of all, Happy Easter! I'm home sick, so I figured I'd finish this post I started a couple days ago.

Awhile back I tried one of the new light "ice cream" products that came out and it didn't blow me away.  (Actually, it was an ice cream alternative, to be fair.) Since then, I've seen Halo Top all over Facebook and recently was told about Enlightened. Both of these are light ice creams that claim to be a better ice cream:  less sugar, fat and calories, and more protein.

This past week, one of my co-workers bought five pints total of Halo Top and Enlightened and brought them to work for a late-afternoon ice cream tasting. She's a body builder and is very health conscious, so leave it to her to find better alternatives to high-calorie and high-fat snacks. She miraculously found it on sale for less than $3.00 a pint (standard price is $4.00+).

Here's what we tried (links included since I hadn't planned on a blog post and have no pictures):

Enlightened:  Sea Salt Caramel:  This was good. I'm not usually a fan of this flavor in general, but I thought it was pretty good. The texture was like real ice cream and the flavor was better than the Halo Top Sea Salt Caramel.

Halo Top:  Sea Salt Caramel, Pistachio, Oatmeal Cookie, and Chocolate Almond Crunch:

Sea Salt Caramel: I didn't like the texture, which was like ice milk. And it seemed very artificially sweet.

Pistachio:  I didn't taste any pistachio flavor at all. It was basically sweet and green with a non-descriptive flavor. Texture was more like ice cream, though. It would have been nice if they added some actual pistachio nuts to it, too.

Oatmeal Cookie:  This was my favorite of all the ice creams we tried; everyone agreed. It has a good oatmeal cookie flavor and there were chewy bits of rolled oats. And the texture was like real ice cream. (This was the winner.)

Chocolate Almond Crunch:  I didn't taste the chocolate ice cream at all. All I could taste was almond, which was more of an almond extract flavor. The crunchy almonds were nice, but it just piled on more almond flavor, which wasn't needed. It was very sweet, but the texture was good.

My own personal taste test

Fresh off the Friday afternoon ice cream tasting, I decided to try a pint of Enlightened Brownies & Cookie Dough ice cream. I got it at my local grocery store and it was $4.99 a pint. I normally would not spend that on ice cream, even Ben & Jerry's, but I wanted to try something new and was excited about diet ice cream that might possibly taste good. This is a brand new flavor and it's not even on their website yet, so I have no link to post.

Here is the nutrition label. As you can see, it has only 6 grams of sugar, but there are sugar alcohols in there to make up for that. It also has fiber, is low in calories, and has some added protein (milk protein isolate).

This ice cream freezes VERY hard. I couldn't get a spoon into it at all. I don't know if it's my freezer setting, or if it's the ice cream. I had to microwave it for about 30 seconds at full power to soften it up so I could scoop it. Even then, chunks of it broke off and it didn't scoop very smoothly. Also, the core of the container was melted while the outsides were soft and the inner ring was hard.  That was bizarre.

I measured out the correct serving, which is a 1/2 cup. No, a serving is not the full pint! Although it would have been prior to weight loss surgery. Also, it gives the total calories for the whole pint on the lid. And even though this has 7 grams of protein per serving, you will not get brownie points (ha!) for eating the whole container under the guise that you're "getting in your protein." (It's not like I thought of doing that...)

This tasted good and had a good texture to it. It was somewhere between ice milk (blech!) and ice cream. It didn't taste as good when it started melting, so you might want to eat this before it melts. I didn't find it unpleasantly sweet. It has lower sugar, but also has sugar alcohols to add more sweetness. The ice cream didn't taste all that chocolatey, but that's pretty standard with light ice cream. Considering cocoa powder isn't high in calories, I'm thinking the could have added more to give it more of a chocolate punch.

Onto the chunks, which is the most important part of any ice cream (for me). It had some decent brownie and cookie dough chunks, and also had chocolate chips. It didn't mention chocolate chips on the container aside from the cookie dough, so it was puzzling at first, but it was a nice surprise. I'm a lover of chunky ice cream, so I was happy that I could actually see the chunks and they had some bite to them. Prior to surgery, my ice cream of choice was one that was more chunks that ice cream. Actually, I often added more to whatever ice cream I bought. When I was a kid I used to take chocolate ice cream, or whatever was in the house actually, and add cereal, peanut butter and sometimes hot cocoa powder or chocolate milk mix. Yes, all at once in the same bowl.

I mentioned earlier that it gives the total calories for the whole pint on the lid. See what it says on the back of the pint?  It tells you to go ahead and eat the whole thing. I'm not usually a stickler or the food police, but this just seems wrong to me. I understand it's basically the same amount of calories for the whole pint and one serving of a premium ice cream, but still. I don't think a company that's supposed to be making good-for-you ice cream (it says it right on the container!!) should be encouraging people to gorge themselves on a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting.

I would buy this again; however, I definitely would wait until I could find it on sale. I'm not enough of an ice cream eater to want to spend $4.99 a pint. Not on light ice cream, anyway. Also, I would have to limit it to half a serving due to the sugar alcohols. If you think it will bother you, or already know that it does, eat just a couple spoonfuls at first to test the waters. I find that some sugar alcohols bother me and others don't, and that's mainly why I don't eat light ice cream or other "diet" snacks. I'd rather eat one or two spoonfuls of the real thing, both for the taste and satisfaction.

I definitely did not taste any of these ice creams with the notion that they would be identical to Ben & Jerry's or Haagan Dazs ice cream.  How can they be when these ice creams have a fraction of the sugar, fat and calories? I went into this knowing that these are substitutes for the real thing. That said, most of them were disappointing. Although, a couple were good enough that I would buy them again. If you're someone who really misses ice cream, you might like to try these.

Do you eat light ice creams or snacks? Have you found ones you like? Ones that are ghastly? Let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I like to make my own with frozen banana and some almond milk in the nutri-ninja. ;)