PacSci Perspectives

Healthy Almond Milk Ice Cream

by | Jul 14, 2016

Beat the heat with this potassium- and protein-packed treat!

Ice cream is the quintessential summer dessert. It is also higher in calories—a single serving contains nearly 300 calories with significant amounts of sugar and saturated fat. There are, however, healthy and delicious alternatives. This almond milk and banana “ice cream” is versatile, delicious, and full of health benefits.

Bananas and Sugar
A single serving of Breyer’s chocolate ice cream contains nearly half the daily recommended allowance of sugar—and we already eat more sugar than we think. Seventy-four percent of American processed foods contain added sugar, which contributes to increased risk of cardiac disease as well as diabetes. Bananas, by contrast, score low on the glycemic index (meaning they don’t have as dramatic an effect on blood sugar) even though they naturally contain sugar. Bananas also have tons of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and they may reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Studies have even shown that the potassium in bananas may reduce the risk of stroke in women. Bananas are a great way to keep things sweet—while enhancing your health.

Almond Milk
Unsweetened almond milk offers zero grams of sugar, nearly half our daily required calcium, and plenty of Vitamin E. The riboflavin (or Vitamin B2) found in almond milk works with the carbohydrates in bananas to produce energy for our bodies, meaning this “ice cream” works double time in terms of health. Though almond milk is high in fat, it’s also high in heart-healthy monosaturated fats and can assist in weight loss. Almond milk is both satisfying and healthy, even for people with lactose intolerance (unlike cow’s milk and other dairy products).

The bananas are sweet enough to make this frozen dessert without any added sugar. A medium-sized banana contains only 110 calories, and a cup of almond milk only 30 calories, meaning you’ll be cutting your calorie consumption by nearly half (compared to most ice cream). Want to make it even richer? Add some dark chocolate chips for an antioxidant boost and some added sweetness.

Almond Milk Ice Cream (makes 4–5 servings)
5 very ripe bananas
⅓ cup almond milk (or substitute coconut milk or 2% cow’s milk)
½ teaspoon almond extract
Optional: dark chocolate chips

Peel the bananas and cut them into fourths. Place pieces in a Tupperware container or plastic bag so that they are not touching and freeze for two hours.

Remove bananas from bag and place in blender. Add almond milk and chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.