When it comes to the best ice lollies or ice creams for your health, there's really no one right answer.
By nature, ice lollies and ice creams aren't really the best healthy snack (opens in new tab) or dessert. They come packed with sugar, if not also plenty of calories, to give us that sweet taste we want when we buy an ice cream. And while most people just indulge as a treat once in a while, if you're watching your diet or trying to trying to beat that weight loss plateau (opens in new tab) with a calorie deficit, it's not that easy.
So to help you out, we've broken down the best and the worst ice lollies and ice creams in terms of calories, sugar content, fat and saturated fat so you can make your own decision. Then we've ranked them from best to worst based on the calorific value of each ice cream and lolly. If it's a strict diet you're on, this is what you need to look out for. But if you're just looking to watch your health, looking to give up sugar (opens in new tab) or try at least, then have a look to see just how much sugar are in these ice lollies and ice creams.
Healthiest ice cream and ice lollies at a glance:
The healthiest and best ice lolly or ice cream overall is the Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry, without a doubt. It's essentially just ice with artificial flavouring so it has trace amounts of fat and saturated fats, only 17 calories per serving and 4g of sugar.
- Healthiest ice cream overall: Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry
- Best ice cream for sugar content: Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry
- Best ice cream for saturated fat content: Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry
However while Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry might be a winner for your diet, it's hardly going to quench that sweet craving that many people look for when they buy an ice cream. For an alternative that's delicious, full of flavour and relatively low in calories, we recommend other types of ice cream.
Oreo ice cream sandwiches, for example, are surprisingly low in calories. In our rankings, they come second for the least amount of sugar per serving (8.1g) and the small, individually wrapped portions mean you won't feel the need to open another - and then another. Halo Top ice cream is another brilliant choice for a late night snack (opens in new tab). These tubs contain just 116 calories, 2g of saturated fat and 13g of sugar per portion. While it's not the lowest, it's certainly not a bad nutritional balance as far as ice cream goes. For something more fruity, go for a Solero Exotic. All three of these are good middle-of-the-range ice creams that aren't at the bottom of the calorie scale but are far from the top too.
The winner of the least healthiest ice cream category is certainly clear, though. While these tubs of creamy, smooth ice cream may be some of the most delicious out there, they're certainly no sneaky treat or friend to your calorie counting. Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream has an impressive 270 calories per serving - with other flavours adding up to more. It also has 3g more sugar than our second worst-rated ice cream, the Feast.
- Worst ice cream overall: Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream
- Worst ice cream for sugar content: Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream
- Worst ice cream for saturated fat content: Feast
As any nutritionist, personal trainer or coach will tell you though, a standard serving of ice cream once in a while is hardly going to knock you back on your weight loss journey - if that's what your aim is. So take a look at these ice creams and lollies, ranked from best to worst, but if you fancy one ice cream over another - go right ahead!
Healthiest ice cream and ice lollies ranked from best to worst
Overall healthiest ice cream: Mr Freeze Jubbly Strawberry
Per serving - Cal: 17 kcal Fat: Trace Saturated fat: Trace Sugar: 4g
Verdict: You can't argue that Mr Freeze Jubbly ice lollies are undoubtedly the best in terms of calories (opens in new tab). There are few to none other ice lollies or ice creams out there that match up in terms of calories per serving or sugar content. Even basic R Whites Premium Lemonade ice lollies contain a huge 14g of sugar. Compared to the 4g in these, it's really a no brainer. The problem is, they're hardly the most exciting ice lollies around. While they might be perfect for satiating that initial sugar craving, they are essentially just ice with a bit of flavouring so might not quite do the trick in the long run.
If you want a treat, you're better off going for one of the many other low-calorie ice cream options out there.
Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles ice lollies
Per serving - Cal: 54 kcal Fat: Trace Saturated fat: Trace Sugar: 12.3g
Verdict: You can enjoy one of these colourful ice lollies safe in the knowledge that it's totally fat free and contains 25% real fruit juice! If only all lollies were like that...beware though, they do contain an eye-wateringly sweet 14.6 grams of sugar. This is another one of the reasons that you're often better off going for an ice cream that's a little higher in calories, as sugar sticks to your waistline and creates fat that's harder to shed.
R Whites Premium Lemonade ice lollies
Per serving - Calories: 60 Fat: Trace Saturated fat: Trace Sugar: 14g
Verdict: With just a trace of fat, R Whites lemonade lollies are a good choice of lolly. But the 14g of sugar is 16% of your guideline daily amount, a huge amount. If you love a lemonade ice lolly but want to avoid the massive sugar crash that these ice lollies would inevitably create, make your own (opens in new tab)! You can even make them healthier by using diet tonic water with a splash of lemon juice and just a sprinkle of sugar instead of lemonade.
Del Monte orange ice lollies
Per serving - Calories: 65 kcal Fat: Trace Saturated fat: Trace Sugar: 14.5g
Verdict: Del Monte's ice lollies are full of goodness, made of 100% fruit juice, 1 lolly is full of vitamin C and 1 of your 5 a day. Whilst the lollies are pretty sugary, this only comes from the sugars found naturally in orange juice, so enjoy to your heart's content.
Per serving - Calories: 70 Fat: 0.7g Saturated fat: 0.6g Sugar: 14g
Verdict: Fruity ice creams tend to contain less calories than chocolate one as a rule so if you're watching your calorie intake, always go for fruit over chocolate. Twisters are made from pineapple, lime and strawberries flavours so match this perfectly. They've done pretty well on the calorie scale all things considered, even if they are quite high in sugar. The lolly contains ice cream as well as flavoured ice.
If you fancy a Twister but 70 calories is pushing your deficit, opt for the mini versions (opens in new tab) which are half the calories.
Mini Calippo ice lollies
Per serving - Calories: 75 kcal (orange), 70 kcal (lemon & lime) Fat: 0.5g Saturated fat: Trace Sugar: 18g (orange), 17g (lemon & lime) - that's 4 teaspoons of sugar!
Verdict: We've got to admit we love a Calippo on a sunny day, especially when the juice collects in the bottom! These mini size packs are a better option that a full sized one, but they still contain a hefty amount of sugar. Brownie points for the orange flavour though as it contains 20% real orange juice.
Fab ice lollies
Per serving -
Calories: 82 Fat: 2.9 Saturated fat: 1.2g Sugar: 10.5g
Verdict: Fab's aren't as fab as you may have thought! They're pretty high on the sugar front, but they do contain real fruit juice and you get to enjoy a bit of chocolate and sprinkles for a relatively low amount of fat and calories.
Solero Exotic ice lollies
Per serving - Calories: 94 kcal Fat: 1.5g Saturated fat: 1g Sugar: 17g
Verdict: Tropical flavoured ice lollies on the outside, they actually contain vanilla ice cream on the inside, so the calorie content is bound to be a bit higher. They certainly score brownie points for containing real mango and pineapple pieces, but just look at that sugar content!
Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich
Per serving - Calories: 97kcal Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 2.6g Sugar: 8.1g
Verdict: These Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches are incredibly popular - almost as much as the biscuits themselves. And much like their confectionary counterparts, they come in very middle-of-the-range when it comes to calories, fat, saturated fat and even sugar. They're a huge 8g less in sugar quantity than fruity Soleros, which have round about the same number of calories. So if you're interested in reducing your sugar intake, alongside your calorie intake, these are good ice creams to go for. Perfect for a (relatively) healthy, low calorie snack (opens in new tab)!
Halo Top Ice Cream
Per serving (100g) - Calories: 116 Fat: 3g Saturated fat: 2g Sugar: 13g
Verdict: We've given our top rating to Halo Top Ice Cream in the flavours of salted caramel, peanut butter or birthday cake as they score the lowest on the calorie count. A whole 475ml tub has the calorie equivalent to just a little more than one classic milk chocolate Magnum - our worst ice cream for calories overall.
If you're not keen on these flavours, don't stress, Halo Top also comes in other tasty flavours including Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Chocolate Pretzel and Peanut Butter Chocolate for just 380 calories for the whole tub or 145 calories per serving (100g).
Mars ice cream bars
Per serving - Calories: 140 kcal Fat: 7.7g Saturated fat: 5.1g Sugar: 12.4 g
Verdict: If you love a Mars bar then you're in luck, these delicious ice creams are surprisingly relatively low in calories. Made with real dairy ice cream, topped with caramel and covered in smooth Mars milk chocolate, they're 88 calories less than a standard Mars chocolate bar which comes in at 228 calories. So these ice creams are certainly the healthier choice out of the two but they're certainly not the most healthy out of all the ice creams on this list, with 12.4g of sugar and 5.1g of saturated fat. But at the end of the day, it's not going to make much of a difference on the scales if you have one (or two) of these tasty treats.
Per serving - Calories: 178 kcal Fat: 9.9 g Saturated fat: 7.5 g Sugar: 11g
Verdict: For a relatively simple ice cream, it might surprise you to know that a Classic Cornetto is on par calorie-wise with one of the Snickers ice cream bars. The combination of the sugar-laden ice cream and chocolate is what racks up the calorie count of these traditional ice creams. But as a seaside essential, don't be hard on yourself if you fancy one of these classic British treats every now and then as it's certainly not the highest calorie ice cream out there.
Snickers ice cream bars
Per serving - Calories: 179kcal Fat: 10.4g Saturated fat: 5.5g Sugar: 13.2g
Verdict: There's a reason that Snickers have remained one of the nation's favourite chocolate bars all these years. The gooey, nutty chocolate bar is just plain delicious, so it's a given that the ice cream version of this famous chocolate bar is equally irresistible. Coming in at 179 calories per serving, it's just under 60 calories less than our worst overall ice cream. This doesn't make it one of the better ice cream bars in terms of calories by far, but it does manage to stay under 200 calories - unlike some of the more sugary ice creams.
Maltesers Ice Cream
Per serving - Calories: 219 Fat: 13g Saturated fat: 9.1g Sugar: 20g
Verdict: Just like the moreish Maltesers themselves, if you have these ice creams in the freezer then they're sure not to last long. These don't even make the top two on our list of the highest calorie ice creams but they're certainly not the lowest in calories. They also have a whopping 16g more sugar in one serving than our best overall ice cream, with 6.5g more saturated fat.
However if you're really in the mood for one of these malty treats, then why not opt for the standard Maltesers in the packet (opens in new tab)? They're 121 calories less per serving. And while that won't change much on the scales at the end of the day, it can certainly help make a difference over time.
Per serving - Calories: 239 calories Fat: 14g Saturated fat: 10g Sugar: 21g
Verdict: Magnums are a classic for a reason. They're deliciously simple: a smooth vanilla ice cream, coated in a creamy milk chocolate shell. But with 239 calories per stick, it just pips the Feast to the post for the second highest calorie count on our list. It also is incredibly high in sugar with almost 10g more than our best overall ice cream. So everyone deserves to indulge every one in a while, if you're looking for something sweet on your diet, there are lower calorie options out there for you that are just as delicious.
Per serving - Calories: 270 kcal Fat: 18g Saturated fat: 15g Sugar: 20g
Verdict: While it's not the worst one on the list, Feasts are very high in calories compared to healthier ice creams. That's mainly because everything - the flavour centre, biscuits, ice cream and the shell on the outside - is all made of chocolate. It's hard to argue that a Feast is a healthy option for when the 3pm sugar craving hits but it's undoubtedly going to do the job (if only to leave you with a crash an hour later). This ice cream is for the treat-lovers out there, unfortunately not for those counting their calories.
Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Vanilla Ice Cream
Per serving (100g) - Calories: 270 kcal Fat: 15 g Saturated fat: 9.2 g Sugar: 25 g
Verdict: If should come as no surprise that Ben & Jerry's makes the top of our list for worst ice cream overall, as they're some of the MOST delicious ice creams out there. While we've totalled up the nutritional information for Cookie Dough because it's one of their most popular flavours, there are some others (Phish Food, for example) that score even higher on the calorie scale. When it comes to choosing healthy ice cream and ice lollies, it's everything in moderation. So if you see that elusive Ben & Jerry's discount the next time you go to the supermarket, don't be worried about indulging - just make sure it's not all gone in one sitting!
Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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