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How To: Low-Calorie and Low-Fat Ice Cream

Make a healthier ice cream with fruit at home.
Make a healthier ice cream with fruit at home.
Photos by Molly Dunn

I absolutely love ice cream, whether it's in a cone, in a giant bowl or topped with chocolate syrup, sprinkles and whipped cream. But as we all know, on a health standard, ice cream is not exactly the best thing to eat. It has lots of sugar, fat and carbohydrates, but there's a way you can get the same creaminess, sweetness and comfort of ice cream without the added calories, grams of sugar, fat or carbohydrates.

Peruse the frozen desserts section of the grocery store and you'll find so many brands selling their rendition of a low-calorie or low-fat ice cream. The majority of these healthier options are softer, fluffier and whipped more than regular ice cream. I decided to find a way I could make an at-home version of these store-bought items. Thanks to two bloggers, I found two recipes that make chocolate ice cream and strawberry ice cream.

Blend the frozen bananas until fluffy and creamy.
Blend the frozen bananas until fluffy and creamy.

For the chocolate ice cream, there are three ingredients that create the base of the low-calorie treat. First, slice four bananas and freeze for about an hour. Once the banana slices are frozen, place them in a food processor and pulse until the bananas are creamy and whipped. Next, add two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and two teaspoons of cocoa powder. This will create a chocolate-peanut butter flavor that is a lot healthier than most peanut butter-chocolate ice creams.

If you want to add something else to this ice cream, add a few dark chocolate chips (be mindful to keep them to a minimum). You can also add fresh coconut shavings, or a dash of vanilla extract for a sweeter flavor.

Peanut butter and cocoa powder give the ice cream more flavor.
Peanut butter and cocoa powder give the ice cream more flavor.

This ice cream is super-creamy from the pureed banana slices and dollops of peanut butter, and it is naturally sweetened by the fruit rather than with tablespoons of granulated sugar.

For those who enjoy a fruitier ice cream, freeze one sliced banana and five to six sliced strawberries. Once they're frozen, place in a blender or food processor, then grind until completely pureed. Add about a tablespoon of almond milk or coconut milk, depending on your preference, then pour about one teaspoon of vanilla extract into the blender.

Add coconut shavings to give the ice cream a more pronounced coconut flavor.
Add coconut shavings to give the ice cream a more pronounced coconut flavor.

I added a little bit more vanilla extract because I wanted to amplify the vanilla flavor in the ice cream. I also placed a sprinkling of fresh coconut shavings to give the ice cream more texture and to add a stronger coconut flavor.

If either of your ice creams is not frozen enough after you blend all of the ingredients, place it in the freezer to thicken. Enjoy with a little bit of whipped cream on top (you're saving calories with the ice cream, so splurge on one topping).



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