Ice Cream Sandwich Nutrition

Who knew that there would be so much to talk about when it comes to ice cream and frozen novelties[1]? I guess it just goes to show that we really do love our frozen treats. As I’ve said before, despite the fact that many of these treats really should be kept as treats (given their calorie and fat content), there are still plenty of good options to choose from.


The hard part, however, is that there are always new products coming on the market. And it’s only natural to want to try the latest and greatest. Unfortunately, the desire to try new things often crowds out more healthful options, like fruits and vegetables. The appeal of raw carrot sticks somehow just isn’t the same when a food company comes out with a new triple chocolate whatchamacallit double-dipped in fudge. But as I always say, there’s a time to be decadent and let yourself have a little of what you really want. That’s why they call them treats, right?

This week, I thought I’d wrap up the frozen treats series by taking a look at one last but not least category: ice cream sandwiches!

I have a weakness for ice cream sandwiches. I used to get one for dessert after lunch just about every day (believe it or not) when I was in grammar school. And to this day, when I eat one, I always lick around the outer edge first. There’s just something about the creamy ice cream and chocolate cookie; they just go so well together. How do ice cream sandwiches stack up? Here’s a look at what’s out there (values are per serving):

Good Humor

  • Giant Vanilla: 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 38 grams of carbohydrate
  • Vanilla: 160 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 26 grams of carbohydrate
  • Low Fat Vanilla: 130 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 26 grams of carbohydrate
  • It’s pretty easy to see what the better choice is here, at least in terms of total and saturated fat. But the low-fat ice cream sandwich isn’t exactly a carbohydrate bargain — eating one of these is like eating a large piece of fruit or two slices of bread. Not surprisingly, these ice cream bars contain high fructose corn syrup (as do most brands), along with partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Not exactly the healthiest choice, but not the worst, either.

    Not to be outdone, Klondike makes more than just those tasty chocolate-covered arctic bars.

  • Peanut Butter Chocolate: 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 33 grams of carbohydrate
  • Classic Vanilla: 180 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 31 grams of carbohydrate
  • Slim-a-Bear: 100 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate
  • The Slim-a-Bear sandwich is the best bet here. In fact, Nutrition Action Healthletter, a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, gives this sandwich a “better bite” ranking, which means that the product has no more than 100 calories and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat. And at 21 grams of carbohydrate, it’s not going to blow your carbohydrate allotment sky-high.

    Skinny Cow
    If you’ve seen a black-and-white cow lurking in the freezer case, it’s probably thanks to ice cream treats made by Skinny Cow. This company has quite a following, thanks to its low-fat products. Here’s a peek at their ice cream sandwiches:

  • Vanilla: 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • Vanilla No Sugar Added: 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • Note that the No Sugar Added sandwich contains sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame-k, and sorbitol. Also note: you’re not saving much in terms of calories and carbohydrate with this sandwich, either, so eating the regular version would be fine.

    Weight Watchers
    If you’re a member of Weight Watchers and/or use their point system, you might know about their ice cream sandwiches (which count as 2 Weight Watchers points).

  • Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich: 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 28 grams of carbohydrate
  • Vanilla Round Ice Cream Sandwich: 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 32 grams of carbohydrate
  • Chocolate Round Ice Cream Sandwich: 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 33 grams of carbohydrate
  • In general, when it comes to ice cream sandwiches, with the exception of the larger sandwiches, most of them count as two carbohydrate choices. And the no-sugar-added versions really aren’t carbohydrate savers, either.

    So the motto is: Treat yourself once in a while, but don’t go overboard. And if you have a favorite ice cream treat that’s not off the charts nutrition-wise, please share!

    1. ice cream and frozen novelties:

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    Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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