Get the scoop on non-dairy ice cream

Dairy-free? Your timing is perfect. Even Ben & Jerry’s, Häagen-Dazs, and Breyers have something for you. But without dairy, don’t expect much calcium. And the competitors are not all created equal:

Cashew milk. “Our Cashewmilk frozen desserts deliver dairy-free decadence with amazing flavor and over-the-top creaminess,” says So Delicious. Amen! Try Creamy Chocolate, Creamy Cashew, Cappuccino, or Very Vanilla. All four taste more like real ice cream than any other brand.

Almond milk. Thanks to coconut oil, So Delicious Almondmilk delivers 4 or 5 grams of saturated fat, while Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy hits 6 to 9 grams, plus around 250 calories (in a measly half cup). That’s nuts!

Soy milk. You can find some decent options—like So Delicious Chocolate Velvet or Creamy Vanilla—but they didn’t wow us.

Coconut milk. Luna & Larry’s Organic may be creamy, but they pack roughly 200 to 250 calories and 10 to 15 grams of saturated fat. (That puts them in Häagen-Dazs ice cream territory.) Halo Top cuts most of the sat fat. Too bad we found them a little chalky.

Frozen sugar water? Häagen-Dazs’ Non-Dairy line ditches “milks” altogether. The main ingredients: water, sugar, corn syrup, and (sometimes) coconut cream. They deliver about 250 to 300 calories and 5 to 7 teaspoons of added sugar per half cup. Sheesh.

Sorbet

Looking for a decent fruity treat? It’s best to avoid sorbets or sherbets that list sugar before fruit or fruit juice in their ingredients list. You can do better.

“Because we add so little else to this sorbetto, every spoonful is just like taking a bite out of the most delicious mango, over and over again,” gushes Ciao Bella Mango Sorbetto. And it comes darn close. The first ingredient: mango purée. (There’s also sugar, water, lemon juice, and locust bean gum.)

While you’re at it, try silky-smooth Talenti Sorbetto in Alphonso Mango or Roman Raspberry. M-m-m.

Looking for lower-calorie ice creams? Here’s our take.

The information in this post appeared in the May 2018 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter 

Photos: Jennifer Urban/CSPI.

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