We've officially hit the height of summer, otherwise known as peak ice cream consumption season. While ice cream usually falls into the category of unhealthy treats, it turns out there are a ton of ways to upgrade your scoop (and minimize that post-cone guilt). "I've found that a lot of the 'healthier' desserts out there tend to lack flavor, which in turn doesn't end up satisfying my sweet tooth," admits Teighan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
That's why Gerard and a host of other foodies have tried their hand at creating what she calls "nice-cream," recipes that look and taste like ice cream, without the added sugar and excessive dairy. "Honestly, [it's] packed full of so many healthy ingredients that you could totally get away with eating it for breakfast," she says. Yes, it's as easy as substituting a few innovative ingredients for traditional ones.
Look no further—ahead, we break down the key ingredient swaps to make ice cream that warrants a second scoop.
Swap Decadent Toppings For Berries And Nuts
Instead of caramel sauces and whipped cream, this recipe from Fed and Fit uses a tart blueberry jam and cashew cookie crumble to top the healthy coconut milk ice cream. Simple but refined with fresh blueberries and arrowroot, this healthy (Paleo) ice cream will satisfy all your cravings without throwing off your healthy lifestyle.
Swap Chocolate For Cacao Powder
The words “healthy” and “chocolate” can exist in the same sentence, and this recipe from Half Baked Harvest is proof. Thanks to cacao powder (the raw and purest form of chocolate) and some other key ingredients like bananas, dates, almond butter, and almond milk, this chocolatey, coffee-flavored frozen delight is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Who knew that such a healthy option existed for satisfying your chocolate cravings?
Swap cream for bananas
An easy way to transform ice cream into a healthier sweet is to use bananas as the base of your recipe. This recipe from Food Faith Fitness is one of the simplest ways to make healthy ice cream at home. While her Chunky Monkey banana recipe calls for some added chocolate brownie bites and peanut butter drizzle, the actual ice cream is made with two simple ingredients that you can combine in a blender. That’s right: All you need are frozen bananas and peanut butter to make your own healthy take on a summer classic.
Swap Dairy For Coconut Milk
Using coconut milk instead of traditional dairy products is a great way to put a healthy twist on any recipe. We’re drooling over this decadent sea salt caramel coconut ice cream from the Minimalist Baker, which uses coconut milk to attain the perfect creaminess for this vegan and gluten-free recipe. Plus, the salty caramel flavor is made from dates and cashews (hello vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), so there’s no need to feel guilty.
Swap Sugar For Dates and Honey
If you’re into matcha, this green tea coconut ice cream just might change your life. And thanks to the natural sweetness of dates and honey, you won’t have to worry about the added sugar that’s normally hiding in your favorite ice cream treats. This recipe from the Minimalist Baker even looks healthy, with a natural green color that comes from the green tea.
Swap Eggs For Avocados
Avocados can elevate any food from toast to tacos, but who knew the savory ingredient works in ice cream, too? The secret ingredient in this vegan key lime ice cream from the Roasted Root is avocado. While you can’t always make a simple swap from eggs to avocado, it works for this recipe because of the strong flavors from the lime juice and maple syrup. The avocado acts purely as a consistency and texture aid.
Next up: Check out even more healthy desserts you can master at home.