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Published on March 17, 2020

cherry swirl frozen yogurt

We All Scream For It – Make Your Own Healthier Ice Cream

Summertime and ice cream are perfectly matched – but there are many facts about this treat you might not know. Here’s a look at a few of them, as well as pair of yummy recipes to make your own – without as much sugar as you might find in some varieties.

Fast Facts – Ice Cream

  • To technically be labeled as ice cream, the product has to contain a minimum of 10 percent milk fat. Some companies use closer to 20 percent milk fat because it’s the fat, after all, that makes ice cream creamy.
  • Soft-serve ice cream can often be a lower-calorie option because when it’s made, producers start with an ice milk base that’s part milk and part cream instead of just cream. But if your soft-serve selection is blended with chocolate goodies or topped with candy, it likely that it’s no longer a better option.
  • If you want to make a slightly less sinful frozen treat at home, try a combination of frozen fruit, Greek yogurt and flavoring extracts. You can add a little sweetener, such as honey, agave nectar or maple syrup, but in many cases you won’t need it.

A Quick Comparison

All comparison portions are 1 cup

  • Full-fat premium cherry vanilla ice cream
    240 calories, 6 grams fat, 42 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein
  • Cherry swirl frozen dessert (recipe below)
    135 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 24 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein
  • Full-fat premium chocolate peanut butter ice cream
    360 calories, 22 grams fat, 38 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter swirl dessert (recipe below)
    242 calories, 6 grams fat, 47 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein

Tips for DIY-Ice Cream

  • Harness the power of the frozen banana. It is a common ingredient in healthier homemade frozen desserts because it helps add a thicker, creamier texture with a fraction of the calories.
  • There are many recipes online, and many call for coconut milk, but carefully consider what you choose. Canned coconut milk typically found in the Asian foods or baking section has 360 calories, 36 grams of fat, 3 grams carbohydrates and no protein per cup. The coconut milk you find near the other dairy alternatives such as soymilk or rice milk has 80 calories, 5 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrates, but again, no or very little protein.
  • Either way, you still come out ahead when you use these coconut milk choices instead of heavy whipping cream; it has nearly 800 calories per cup and 80 grams of fat.

Cherry Swirl

Makes 2 cups


  • 2 cups frozen cherries
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Blend together cherries, ½ cup Greek yogurt and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a loaf pan.
  3. Mix together remaining ½ cup Greek yogurt and honey and drizzle over loaf pan. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the mixture.
  4. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl

Makes 3 cups


  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 frozen bananas
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter


  1. Combine first four ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and creamy.
  2. Drizzle in the peanut butter; then pulse blender 2-3 times to incorporate.
  3. Serve immediately.

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