Adjust Desserts

Many customers like to indulge—but that doesn’t mean they have to over-indulge. Here’s how you can help sweeten mealtime in a nutritious manner.

Ice cream and other frozen desserts are mainstays in more than 90% of American homes, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Sales in the U.S. totaled $20.5 billion—64% of which was regular ice cream—in 2002. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food consumption data for that year show that Americans ate 16.7 pounds of ice cream per person compared to only 6-1/2 pounds of lowfat ice cream, 1.1 pounds of sherbet and 1-1/2 pounds of frozen yogurt.

Two scoops, or one cup, of regular ice cream contain 300 or more calories and about 10 grams of saturated fat (half of a day’s recommendation for a 2,000-calorie diet) which raises blood cholesterol. Premium ice cream has about twice as much fat and calories. Extras like nuts, syrup, hot fudge, candy, cookie crumbs, coconut, whipped cream, chocolate coating and cones add even more calories.

Tennis, anyone? You can offer frozen desserts with no more than 150 calories, five grams fat, two grams of saturated fat and 20 grams sugar in a half-cup serving. One scoop is about the size of a tennis ball. For the health-conscious consumer, “low carb,” “no sugar added,” “sugar-free,” “reduced fat,” “low calorie,” and “added calcium” frozen desserts are available.

Following are summaries of nutritional content for popular frozen desserts:

Ice cream. Brands vary in calorie, fat and sugar content. According to food label regulations for ice cream, one-half cup serving of “lowfat” ice cream contains three grams of fat or less. “Nonfat” or “fat-free” has less than half a gram of fat per serving. “Reduced fat” has at least 25% less fat than regular ice cream, while “light” ice cream contains at least 50% less fat.

By federal standards, ice cream must contain at least 10% milk fat. That translates into about 50% of the calories from fat in regular ice cream and 60% in premium ice cream. Light versions of premium ice cream contain about the same amount of fat as regular ice cream.

Gelato may seem lower in fat, since skim (non-fat) milk is the first ingredient. But, added cream boosts calories and saturated fat. Fudge bars usually contain no more than 100 calories and one gram of saturated fat. They are made from skim milk, sugar and cocoa (low in fat). Creamsicles are nearly fat-free, since they contain sherbet with a small ice cream center. Avoid chocolate-coated ice cream bars with 300 or more calories.

Lowfat ice cream usually contains about half the fat, calories and cholesterol as regular varieties. But, sugar content may be higher, so calories may be as high as regular ice cream. If artificial sweeteners are used, calories will be less. For a half cup, look for no more than 130 calories, three grams of total fat and one to two grams saturated fat.

Frozen yogurt: Calorie and fat content vary depending on added ingredients and type of milk used. Most regular frozen yogurts contain slightly less fat but more sugar than light ice cream. Most frozen yogurts are fat-free or lowfat with about 200 calories and four grams or less of saturated fat per cup. Look for the label seal indicating active, live cultures of bacteria.

Fruit-based products: Sherbet is made from sweetened fruit juice, water, lowfat milk (1%-2% milk fat), 2%-5% milk solids and stabilizers like egg white and gelatin. Sherbet has less fat than ice cream but more sugar, so calories may be higher than in lowfat ice cream.

Fruit sorbet is usually fat-free; the exception is coconut, which has saturated fat. Sorbet is made from fruit puree (rich in Vitamins A and C), water and sugar. Offer unsweetened fruit bars with fruit, fruit puree or fruit juice as the first or second ingredient.

Non-dairy desserts made from soy or rice are free of cholesterol and lactose and low in saturated fat and calcium. Some are high in calories and fat , but lowfat varieties are available.

Baked goods: Serve small portions of such items as pie, muffins and cake. Fat-free products may be high in sugar, and sugar-free products may be high in fat—so calories may be about equal. Look for less than 300 calories, five grams of fat, two grams of saturated fat, 20 grams of sugar and at least three grams of fiber per serving. Lowfat cookies include gingersnap, oatmeal, biscotti and animal crackers.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The menu served at Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, is headed for an overhaul after its CEO and management team ate a strict hospital food diet for a week and were unhappy with their options. The foodservice department has been fielding patient complaints for years, but decided to take action after facing the issue head on.

“Getting food managers to eat three meals of hospital food a day for a week brought the point home that much of the food being served was bland, institutional and not what people would normally eat,” Director of Food Services Kevin Peters told Ottawa...

Industry News & Opinion

With overtime pay likely to become a reality for some salaried foodservice employees after Dec. 1, operators are rethinking what they expect managers to do off-site as part of their responsibilities. Answering email or scheduling shifts at home didn’t matter when the employees were exempted from overtime if they earned more than $23,660 per year. But with that threshold more than doubling on Dec. 1 to $47,476, a half hour spent here and there on administrative tasks could push a salaried manager over the 40-hours-per-week threshold and entitle him or her to overtime. And how does the...

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

FSD Resources