Sooooo, ice cream is one of my favorite things in life. I’ll eat it for a snack, dessert, or if I’m throwing caution to the wind, a meal. I’ve seen people (mostly runners and food/fitness instagrammers) post tons of pictures of this magical, colorful little carton where you can eat the whole thing for in and around 300 calories. I’ve contemplated buying them for months, but never felt like paying $4.99 (at Kroger) for something that may… well.. suck.
I got to try Enlightened ice cream when they sent me some free product, so there really was no financial risk involved (also, still recommend trying and I’m still TRYING to find the little pints of it instead of just the bars). Yesterday, I decided I really wanted to try Halo Top, and for some serendipitous reason, it was on sale for $3.99 today only. A whole dollar off. I know a dollar isn’t a huge deal, but it was enough for me to put two flavors in my cart: Cookies and Cream and Birthday Cake. I’ll be providing my review of Birthday Cake in this post.
So, the first thing I noticed when I picked up the pints were how light there are. I thought the ice cream must not be dense at all. I then read on the side that they recommend leaving them out of the freezer for a few minutes because they don’t put artificial softeners in their ice cream, as well as the fact that the low sugar and fat content means they freeze harder. Well cool, I’ll just use the drive home from the grocery as my waiting game.
Once I got home, I unloaded the groceries, got out a spoon and tried a bite of the Birthday Cake. Upon initial review, I noticed the following: Taste, texture, likability and ingredients.
- Taste- definite notes of birthday cake, similar to funfetti flavoring, not an overly powerful amount of taste, but enough to make you think you’re not eating flavored water or something
- Texture- lighter, airy not creamy, but not ice shards either, some softness to it that resembles actual ice cream, generally smooth. I see why they suggest leaving it out for a few minutes!
- Likability- Though the texture is lacking from real ice cream, the fact that it is so low in calories and high in protein, you know you’re not going to be having the real deal. You buy Halo Top because you want a sweet treat that won’t increase your waistline, not because you honestly think it tastes better than a full-fat version of the frozen treat.
- Ingredients- Oh boy, this part is a little confusing… Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, rainbow sprinkles (sugar, cornstarch, vegetable oil, glucose, natural colors, soy lecithin), sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.
- Erythritol is a natural sugar-free sweetener, whose molecule is smaller than that of fake sugars like maltitol and sorbitol. It is mostly absorbed in the small intestine, thereby being a little more “gentle” on the digestive track when compared to other artificial sweeteners. It does not spike blood sugar, but it may trick the brain into believing it’s getting something sweet and causing someone to eat more. It’s also the same sweetener used in the Enlightened products.
- Additionally, Halo Top is sweetened with Stevia, a no-calorie sweetener derived from a plant, and “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA. Most people consider stevia to be the healthiest of fake sugars, but keep in mind the processing of it is pretty unnatural just like the rest of them. Though, we’re not really going for organic, unprocessed when we’re buying diet ice cream, are we?
And lastly, to touch on the protein point. Yes, these have more protein compared to other ice creams and that’s because they strengthen their protein count by using milk protein concentrate, the same thing you’d find in protein bars and powders.
Later after dinner, I actually scooped out about a half cup of Birthday Cake and added a few of my own rainbow sprinkles for extra pizazz. I didn’t mind it one bit. It is lighter for sure, but it still gives you some of the good stuff. I didn’t feel the need to eat the whole carton, but hey even if I wanted to it wouldn’t be at the mercy of 1,000+ calories. Besides, I also promised Jarob I would save some for him when he got home and that meant I really couldn’t pack away the entire thing. Sharing is caring.
I recommend Halo Top (specifically this Birthday Cake flavor) if you’re OK sacrificing heavy, creamy ice cream. This is not for those who outright know that they will not be satisfied with a “diet” ice cream. However, it’s definitely not the worst thing in the world. I still have yet to try Arctic Zero, but I’ve heard that is undeniably terrible. To me, it’s better than Carb Smart in terms of taste, because it doesn’t have a horrible lingering aftertaste. And with the low calories, you can get creative and chop up a few of your favorite toppings for a low calorie dessert.
I’m glad I’m finally in the know on this one. I’ll definitely pick up a new flavor next time I see it on sale. I’ll have to report on the cookies and cream one too..
Happy Wednesday everyone. Maybe celebrate Hump Day with some Halo Top!