By Brianna Elliott, MS, RD, LD – Open Arms of Minnesota Nutrition Services Coordinator
Ice cream is the signature summer treat, which is why July is deemed National Ice Cream Month! Here at Open Arms, we know ice cream isn’t exactly a “health food.” But we believe in nourishing mind, body and soul, which means that a once-in-a-while ice cream treat can definitely fit into a well-balanced diet.
In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, we bring you a list of toppings you can add to your ice cream to up the nutrition content AND the flavor:
Dark chocolate chips, sauce or cacao nibs: Dark chocolate is a source of polyphenols and flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants known to help reduce inflammation in the body.
Frozen or fresh fruit, such as berries, bananas, cherries or mangoes will add some fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your ice cream.
Chopped peanuts, almonds, or a spoonful of nut butter is a delicious and crunchy way to include some fiber and healthy fats to your ice cream treat.
Graham crackers, especially if they are made with whole grains. These make a great ice cream topping due to their subtle sweetness and crunch. They might even add a little bit of fiber!
Shredded coconut adds a yummy flavor to ice cream. It will also provide some vitamin C, B vitamins, manganese and several other minerals to your treat.
Granola makes a delicious addition to ice cream. As long as you keep the portion size under control (around ¼ cup), it can be a healthy source of fiber and B vitamins
Cinnamon can be added to ice cream–it adds some extra sweet flavors without altering the calorie or sugar content. Additionally, cinnamon is high in antioxidants and known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
If you follow a dairy-free or vegan diet, then regular ice cream is out of the question. Did you know you can make your own homemade dairy-free “ice cream” at home with only a few simple ingredients? Check out our recipe for homemade banana ice cream!