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Healthy ice cream recipes

a profile picture of Julia Ebbens
Health Writer at Bupa UK
12 July 2022
Next review due July 2025

Having an ice cream on a hot day is part of the fun of summer. But many ice creams are high in fat and sugar. The good news is, there are lots of different ways to enjoy a healthier ice cream. Here, I’ve put together a selection of recipes for both dairy-free and low-sugar options.

Why is ice cream unhealthy?

Eating ice cream now and again isn’t a problem. But it is not an everyday food. Ice cream is usually made of high-fat dairy products, such as cream and full-fat milk. Whilst dairy can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, eating lots of high-fat dairy can add extra calories into your diet. High-fat dairy is also made up mostly of saturated fats – it’s better to eat unsaturated fats such as nuts, and oily fish where possible.

Some people also have trouble digesting dairy, either due to lactose intolerance or a milk protein allergy. So, eating ice cream can cause digestive issues such as stomach cramps and diarrhoea for those affected.

Most ice creams tend to be high in added sugar as well – making them less than ideal to eat regularly.

How can I make ice cream healthier?

To make ice cream healthier you need to reduce both the saturated fat and sugar content. And if you have either lactose intolerance or milk protein allergy, switching to a dairy-free options is necessary too. Using fruit for a natural sweetener can provide you with some extra vitamins and minerals as well.

Here are some recipes for you to try at home.

Peanut butter banana ice cream

This recipe is dairy-free, and only contains natural sugar from the fruit. Adding peanut butter to the banana gives you a source of protein too. There are many different ways to flavour this banana ice cream – you could try adding frozen berries, dark chocolate or cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 chopped frozen bananas
  • Splash of dairy free milk (such as oat, almond)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free peanut butter
  • Any toppings you would like (such as berries, dark chocolate pieces, coconut flakes)

Method

  • Using a blender or food processor, slowly start to blend your frozen banana pieces. You might need to add a splash or two of your non-dairy milk to help it blend.
  • Once the mixture is smooth and even, add a tablespoon of peanut butter and blend again for a few seconds until well mixed in.

Serve in small bowls with toppings of your choice.

Raspberry smoothie ice cream

This is another dairy-free option that gives a smooth and rich taste. By using dairy-free yoghurt and berries, you get a satisfying texture that is lower in fat than regular ice cream. It also only contains natural sugar from the berries.

Ingredients:

  • 225g frozen raspberries
  • 350g dairy-free and sugar-free yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp clear honey (optional)
  • Lolly moulds

Method

  • Blitz the raspberries in a blender until they are smooth. Use a sieve to remove any pips.
  • Add the dairy free yoghurt (and honey, if using), then blend until smooth.
  • Gently pour the mixture into lolly moulds until full.
  • Freeze for at least 3 hours.
  • Use a little warm water to remove the lolly moulds before eating.

Frozen Greek yoghurt

Here, low fat Greek yoghurt is frozen to create a creamy, but lower-fat alternative to full-fat dairy ice cream. Again, you have many options for flavours, including walnuts, mango, or a drizzle of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup of fruit such as mango
  • Any toppings you would like

Method

  • In a food processer or blender, add together the fruit and yoghurt until it is creamy.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container and freeze until ready.
  • Top with walnuts, or a drizzle of honey.

Are you interested in learning more about your health? Discover more about our range of health assessments.

a profile picture of Julia Ebbens
Julia Ebbens
Health Writer at Bupa UK

    • Ice cream calories. Calorie counter. www.calories.info, accessed 6 July 2022
    • Dairy benefits. The Association of UK Dieticians. www.bda.uk.com, published 19 August 2019
    • Full fat dairy. British Heart Foundation. www.bhf.org.uk, accessed 6 July 2022
    • Milk allergy: food fact sheet. The Association of UK Dieticians. www.bda.uk.com, accessed 6 July 2022
    • How to get five a day. The Association of UK Dieticians. www.bda.uk.com, accessed 6 July 2022
    • Sugar. British Nutrition Foundation. www.nutrition.org.uk, last reviewed June 2021
    • Protein: a practical guide for dieticians. The Association of UK Dieticians. www.bda.uk.com, accessed 6 July 2022

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