Whether we are standing in the frozen foods aisle peering through frosty glass doors or holding up the line at the local ice cream shop, the choice many of us struggle to make is the same: do we opt for the frozen yogurt, or do we go for the ice cream?
Back about a decade ago, I went through a phase where I was modifying cookie recipes in all sorts of ways in an effort to make them healthier: nuts and dried fruit instead of chocolate chips, oil instead of butter, whole wheat instead of white flour, reduced sugar, etc. These changes sounded good in theory, but who was I kidding; these “cookies” were only cookies by name and bore a stronger resemblance to pancakes.
They never quite hit the spot. Either I ate the healthier cookies by the batch in an effort to quell my cookie craving, or I chased them with traditional baked goods anyway.
What does any of that have to do with the ice cream vs. frozen yogurt debate? Just like with my cookie experience, we want to be careful not to get so caught up in nutrition that we neglect pleasure, for if we do, the irony is that we often end up losing out on both.
Frozen yogurt does have some nutrient benefits compared to ice cream (See “She Said” section below.) However, if frozen yogurt is going to leave you still craving ice cream, and you are going to overeat in an effort to satisfy that desire, then perhaps it is better to just have a small amount of ice cream when the craving sets in, enjoy it, and get on with your day.
So many of my clients have a love/hate relationship with ice cream. Most of them would admit that they adore real, full-fat ice cream, but they often deny themselves this treat for fear that it will make them fat. Instead, they end up eating at one of the myriad frozen yogurt stores (with new ones popping up seemingly every week) to get their cool, creamy fix.
I don’t have a problem with frozen yogurt per se. It has a lot of things going for it, including being lower in saturated fat and a good source of protein and calcium as well as providing probiotics. But ice cream also has nutrition benefits: it is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and some of the B vitamins that help with energy release. In addition, given its richness, it takes a smaller amount of ice cream (compared to frozen yogurt) to be satisfying. And let’s face it, when you are really craving ice cream, a fro-yo just doesn’t cut it!
I’m not suggesting that anyone go out there and begin a Ben & Jerry’s binge, but totally denying yourself one of summer’s most quintessential treats will just lead to feelings of deprivation and eventually overeating of less satisfying foods. So go ahead and order that real ice cream – just be sure to savor and enjoy it!