Last weekend we were celebrating my husband’s birthday. His favorite Blueberry Pie was on the menu. Blueberry Pie is best when served warm with simple vanilla ice cream. I am not a person who will buy ice cream routinely but for special occasions I give in. Especially when I know that there will be enough people to eat it up and there will not be any or much leftover in my fridge.
So I make sure to add it to my grocery list. When at the grocery store, I start looking at all the Vanilla Ice Cream possibilities. It was mind boggling. When did so many ice cream or ice cream-like items take up an entire aisle of the store? Anyway, I was looking for the simplest. Just Vanilla Ice Cream! Well, so I thought. That did not simplify my task. So what does a Registered Dietitian do? Check out all the Nutrition facts labels, including the ingredient lists. You may be surprised to know that ice cream can contain a lot more than milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.
Here’s what I found. There were three different kind of “Vanilla” in just one brand. French, Natural and Homemade Vanilla. Let’s take a look at each one.
Here’s French Vanilla. I personally like to see the specks of Vanilla Bean so I am not a fan of French Vanilla. I wanted to check it out anyway for the nutritional facts.
With claims of no hormones and gluten free, it seems promising. Check out the ingredient list: corn syrup, egg yolk, rum, gums, natural flavors and so on. What is “Natural Flavor” anyway?
And here is Homemade Vanilla. It says “It’s how homemade should taste”. Let’s see if the ingredients are what would be in a homemade recipe.
In addition to the milk, cream and sugar there’s also corn syrup, egg yolk and gums. I can see egg yolks in a homemade recipe but I would definitely not consider corn syrup.
Then there’s Natural Vanilla, with great claim of No Artificial Growth Hormones. And I have to flip it to see the ingredients. The front of the box claims “made with fresh cream, sugar and milk”.
The ingredients list has a few more like vanilla bean, natural flavor, tara gum and natural vanilla flavor. This is the only one I found with the least umber of additives. Looks like a good choice for the day. I did not have the patience to check out all other brands in the freezer.
You get the idea. Check out the ingredients in addition to the claims on the front label and the calorie, fat content. Look for the least number of additives and words you can pronounce. I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream!