Ice Cream: The Perfect Healthy Snack for Summer
As the temperatures rise and the sun shines brighter, there’s no better way to cool off than with a refreshing scoop of ice cream. But before you dismiss this beloved dessert as an indulgence that isn’t good for you, consider this – ice cream can actually be a healthy snack option for summer.
First and foremost, ice cream is a great source of calcium. A single scoop of ice cream can contain up to 10% of the daily recommended intake of calcium, which is vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, studies have shown that consuming dairy products like ice cream can lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Ice cream can also provide a boost of energy, making it the perfect pre-workout snack. The combination of sugar and fat in ice cream can provide a quick burst of energy to help you power through your workout. Additionally, the protein found in ice cream can aid in muscle recovery post-workout.
Another benefit of ice cream is that it can be a mood-booster. Ice cream contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, the “happy hormone” in your brain. Serotonin regulates your mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. Eating ice cream can make you feel happier and more relaxed. Ice cream can also trigger positive memories and associations from your childhood or other happy moments in your life.
Ice cream can improve your immune system and digestion. Ice cream contains probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help fight infections and diseases. Probiotics can also improve your digestion and prevent constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems. Ice cream can also soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation.
You can make your own ice cream at home with just a few simple ingredients and tools. Here I will show you how to make your own ice cream from scratch, without using an ice cream maker or any special equipment. All you need are some basic ingredients, a freezer, and a blender or food processor. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Choose your base. The base of your ice cream is what gives it its texture and richness. You can use heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk as your base, depending on how creamy you want your ice cream to be. Heavy cream will give you the richest and smoothest ice cream, while milk will give you a lighter and icier result. You can also use non-dairy alternatives such as coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk if you prefer. You will need about 2 cups of your base for every quart of ice cream.
2. Choose your sweetener. The sweetener of your ice cream is what gives it its flavor and sweetness. You can use granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener you like. You will need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your sweetener for every quart of ice cream, depending on how sweet you want it to be. You can also add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
3. Choose your flavorings. The flavorings of your ice cream are what give it its personality and uniqueness. You can use vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coffee, fruit puree, nuts, chocolate chips, or any other flavorings you like. You can also experiment with different combinations and create your own signature flavors. You will need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your flavorings for every quart of ice cream.
4. Mix everything together. In a large bowl, whisk together your base, sweetener, and flavorings until well combined. Taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness and flavor as needed.
5. Freeze the mixture. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish or a freezer-safe container and cover it with plastic wrap or a lid. Place it in the freezer and let it freeze for about 4 hours or until firm.
6. Blend the mixture. Once the mixture is frozen, take it out of the freezer and break it into chunks with a fork or a knife. Transfer the chunks to a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender or food processor.
7. Enjoy your ice cream. Transfer the blended mixture back to the freezer-safe container and freeze for another hour or until ready to serve. Scoop out your ice cream and enjoy it as it is or with your favorite toppings.
Congratulations! You have just made your own ice cream from scratch without using an ice cream maker or any special equipment. You can store your homemade ice cream in the freezer for up to a week or two, but it may lose some of its texture and flavor over time. It is best to enjoy it fresh and share it with your friends and family.
As with any food, ice cream should be eaten in moderation to avoid excess sugar and fat intake. For those with lactose intolerance or milk allergy, dairy-free ice cream and frozen yogurt are good options. When eating out, ask for single or smaller scoops since large servings can contain a whole meal’s worth of calories. For the most nutrition, choose ice cream made from milk and cream and with mix-ins like nuts or chocolate chips.
Next time you’re craving something sweet and refreshing on a hot summer day, don’t be afraid to indulge in a scoop of ice cream. With its nutritional benefits and delicious taste, it’s the perfect healthy snack for summer.