“Insider” Ice Cream Nutrition Tips

My first summer job: ICE CREAM SCOOPER.

I scooped 9 hours every day for 2 months. Then, I got tendonitis. And then, I had to resign. I have a good chuckle at that story every time!

Anywho, during these two months of being surrounded by an abundance of ice cream goodness, I didn’t have a single cone, because the grade 12 version of myself had read in some magazine that dairy didn’t have a place in a fitness lifestyle.

Current me just ate an ice cream cone from the same shop for my graduation! Dairy (and treats for that matter!) can, in fact be part of your diet.

Here are some #braingains to MELT the dairy myths AWAY!
  • Milk’s protein breakdown is ~80% casein and 20% whey. (Casein feeds your muscles over a longer period of time, while whey is a faster digesting protein). Both are beneficial- Whey protein can even help in body compositional changes; helping to retain muscle while losing fat.
  • Milk contains Calcium and Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin which is needed for the bones to absorb Calcium: The perfect pair!
  •  Fermented dairy products are rich in probiotics, which help to promote microflora in the gut.
  • Full fat products are more calorie dense (Fat has 9 calories per gram vs carbs & protein, which have 4 calories per gram), but with portion control & moderation, can be enjoyed!
    The verdict:

    If you are not lactose intolerant or experience sensitivities, dairy can certainly fit into a fitness lifestyle.


When choosing ice cream…

Game of Cones: Wafer, Sugar, or Waffle.

All three cones typically have the same base ingredients in different ratios for thickness, a different colour, or flavour: wheat flour, tapioca flour, and sugar.

Wafer Cone

Calories: 17
Fat: 0.3 g
Carbs: 3.2 g
Protein: 0.3 g

Sugar Cone

Calories: 45
Fat: 1 g
Carbs: 9 g
Protein: 1 g

Waffle Cone

Calories: 160
Fat: 4 g
Carbs: 29 g
Protein: 2 g

Or, choose a bowl!

Make an informed ice cream choice.

This one is super simple! The more “chunky” pieces (anything aside from the base flavour), the higher the calories, usually from fat. To stay solid in the ice cream, chunky pieces need to be primarily fat!

Let’s look at the nutrition for 125mL (1/2 cup) of a standard Vanilla ice cream in comparison to a few Vanilla based flavours, all ingredients remaining the same except for the “chunky” pieces:


Calories: 125
Fat: 6 g
Carbs: 18 g
Protein: 1 g

Cookies and Cream (Vanilla base with chocolate fat-based wafers)

Calories: 141
Fat: 8 g
Carbs: 18 g
Protein: 1 g

Here, we notice the fat increase, but everything else stay constant. For the amount of chocolate in a serving added to the vanilla base, Fat increases by 2 g.

Cookie Dough (Vanilla base with chocolate chips and cookie dough pieces)

Calories: 152
Fat: 8 g
Carbs: 22 g
Protein: 1 g

Now, we have added large chocolate chip cookie dough pieces (Wheat flour, sugar, and butter), resulting in increased carbohydrates (flour and sugar) per serving, Fat increases by 2 g from the vanilla base because of this as well (butter).

Grammy’s Cupboard (Vanilla base with peanut butter swirl, mini chocolate brownies and cookie dough pieces)

Calories: 196
Fat: 12 g
Carbs: 21 g
Protein: 2 g

Fat, carbs, and protein increased in this ice cream in comparison to Vanilla. We can notice that Fat is much higher than the previous examples due to the peanut butter swirl and brownies, in addition to the cookie dough pieces. 


Overall, the fewer additional ingredients an ice cream has, the less calorie dense it will be.


What about Sorbet??

Sorbet is dairy free, based with water and sugar. Here are the macronutrients for 125 mL (1/2 cup) of rainbow sorbet:

Rainbow Sorbet

Calories: 128
Fat: 6 g
Carbs: 19 g
Protein: 1 g

Now let’s compare this to vanilla:


Calories: 125
Fat: 6 g
Carbs: 18 g
Protein: 1 g

Aside from an additional gram of sugar (carbs) in the rainbow sorbet, the macronutrient profile of these two choices is actually identical! Often while working, people would order a sorbet to “be healthy”, under the assumption that because it’s dairy free, it’s better for the body.

Not the case!

Unless you have a dairy intolerance, both of these choices would have the same result on blood sugar levels. The Vanilla might even have a sprinkle of Calcium!


In the end, ENJOY EVERY LICK! The Summer is for making memories and sharing them with people you care about. I hope these tips help you find balance and provide you with the tools to bust into any ice cream parlour with EXCITEMENT and knowledge!


Keep rocking on and stay cool,

Mikaila 🙂IMG_9975

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