4 Waistline-Saving Strategies for the Ice Cream Parlor

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

For most kids (and adults too), one of most exciting summer activities is a trip to their favorite ice cream parlor. These stores don’t just sell ice cream anymore! With so many varieties of ice cream cones, toppings, and syrups, which one you should choose to help you stay slim?

4 Ice Cream Parlor Survival Tips

1. Know Your Cone and Go Naked

A cake cone, usually served with soft ice cream, has ~35 calories, while a sugar cone, usually served with scooped ice cream, has ~50 calories. A waffle cone or bowl, usually served with mix-in ice cream, has ~110 – 160 calories. Regardless of which cone you choose, make sure to choose a plain one and skip the chocolate dip option. The chocolate dip itself adds at least 120 extra calories with 8g of fat and trans fat. Better yet, avoid the cone altogether and ask to serve your ice cream in a cup!

2. Go Easy on Sauces and Syrups

Go easy on the fudge and syrup. A serving of hot fudge topping on a Dairy Queen sundae adds 150 extra calories plus trans fat. An ounce of Hershey’s chocolate syrup adds 75 calories, and a dollop of whip cream adds 45 calories.

3. Keep an Eye on Mix-ins

Some mix-ins add texture and flavor. Some, like fruits, even add fiber. Although they’re high in calories, mix-in nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and almonds add beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. But some mix-ins, like cookie dough and brownies, add nothing but calories and trans fat. So don’t over-mix, and choose your mix-ins wisely.

4. Forget About Shakes

If there is one thing you should avoid at your favorite ice cream parlor, it has to be the milkshake! I’m not only referring to the 1500-calorie-bomb shakes from Cold Stone, but also the Blizzard from DQ (1440 calories in a large chocolate extreme) and the Triple Shake from McDonald’s (1160 calories in a large).

The Bottom Line

A serving of cold treats can be refreshing on a hot summer day. Explore lighter frozen dessert options, like light ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet to add variety to your cool summer treats!


calories, dessert, healthy snacks, ice cream, summer


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