I scream for fake ice cream

In the age of the Internet, there is a lot of hype surrounding fad diets, low-fat this, and sugar free that. It is a lasting trend on social media to compare the so-called “perfect alternatives” to your favorite junk food you just can’t fathom giving up. There are innumerable BuzzFeed articles and YouTube videos doing so.

I’m someone who, if there were no consequences, would choose to eat ice cream for every single meal. Froyo for breakfast, soft serve for lunch, and hard ice cream for dinner, would be the ideal meal schedule. There have been instances where I’ve gone to Whip ‘n Dip, named Florida’s best ice cream by Spoon University (and by me), too many times a week to justify (once, I went 4 times in one week. Not great for my health.)

I’ve attempted giving it up entirely but the cravings are just too real. So following the trend, I’ve decided to try the replacement ice creams suggested by people on Facebook who just swear the products are as delicious as they are low in calories.

I created a rating system to separately measure the quality of the alternatives, not compared to one another. I assessed the brands on appeal, taste, similarity to real and delicious ice cream, and if I would recommend to a friend – all on a 5-star (5-ice cream emoji) scale.

I chose the three most recommended brands to rate.

Yasso

This frozen greek yogurt pop company call themselves “dessert disruptors.” For only 100 calories, it seems unrealistic for it to taste like actual ice cream. But, lo and behold, it does! By recommendation of my roommate, I tried the mint chocolate chip and salted caramel flavors.

Appeal: 🍦🍦🍦 (3/5)

I’m a fan of greek yogurt, but I was skeptical because I believe there’s a time and a place for it; it’s a breakfast item and I didn’t think it belonged in my freezer. But the 100-calorie appeal seemed too good to pass up, and of course in mint chocolate chip: my favorite flavor.

Taste: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦 (5/5)

It. Tastes. So. Good. I was honestly shocked by how sweet it was considering greek yogurt inherently lacks a lot of flavor. I wanted six more after I finished one. Alas, that would have defeated the point of finding an alternative to calorie-dense ice cream.

Similarity to real ice cream: 🍦🍦🍦🍦 (4/5)

Airier than real ice cream, but pretty much just as creamy.

Would I recommend?: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦 (5/5)

10000% would recommend. Not only can you stay on your couch and eat your dessert, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. I have to try all of the other flavors now!

**UPDATE: Yasso has just released a new flavor, and I may be biased, but it’s easily the best one yet. The Toffee Caramel Chocolate Chip bar is a perfectly balanced blend of the toppings you’d put atop your much less healthy ice cream if you went to a store. It is delicious and airy as always, and hits just the right spot when your sweet tooth needs attention.


Arctic Zero

The brand calls themselves “the pioneers of fit desserts.” They may have been the first, but they are definitely not the best. For 300 calories a pint, I tried the chocolate peanut butter flavor, and I obviously ate the whole thing at once.

Appeal: 🍦 (1/5)

It looks like pure ice in a carton, but I trusted the reviews and tried it anyway.

Taste: 🍦🍦🍦(3/5)

It more or less tastes like pure ice in a carton, with a hint of the flavor its labeled as. If you’re into the idea of eating an entire pint in one sitting, and don’t entirely care that it tastes less like ice cream and more like shaved ice, it’s pretty good. I had low expectations, so they were definitely met and not necessarily exceeded.

Similarity to real ice cream: 🍦 (1/5)

Arctic Zero is definitely not a perfect alternative to ice cream. However, if you’re a nosher and not looking for something that is ice cream 2.0, this is your dessert.

Would I recommend?: 🍦🍦 (2/5)

I think from this alone, I’ve learned to never trust 50-year-old women’s comments on Facebook again. I probably won’t buy again, but it wasn’t the worst idea.


Halo Top

The website’s home page reads: “finally, healthy ice cream that actually tastes like ice cream.” They’re right.

Appeal: 🍦🍦🍦🍦 (4/5)

It seemed too good to be true. There was no way you could get the real ice cream experience in only 280 calories. Obviously intrigued.

Taste: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦 (5/5)

It wasn’t too good to be true. It was true, and it was good. It was a fantastic mint chip, and I got more ice cream for less calories.

Similarity to real ice cream: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦(5/5)

It honestly tasted like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and there was zero guilt involved.

Would I recommend?: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦 (5/5)

A million times yes. Despite the hefty price tag, as it’s sold almost exclusively at Whole Foods-type grocery stores, it’s worth it.

**UPDATE: Halo Top is now sold in Publix and other general grocery stores. The company ditched its exclusive health-nut advertising, and expanded into a wider range of stores. On Halo Top’s website, you can search where you’re able to purchase your favorite flavors now. While you may only find certain flavors at certain shops, the flavor list has expanded and so have the store options.

So, tell me. Have you tried any of the above ice cream alternatives? What are your thoughts? Any others I should try? Comment below, and let me know!

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