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For National Ice Cream Day, consider one of these better-for-you alternatives.

On some hot summer days, a popsicle or sorbet won’t do. We want something rich: We want ice cream. And as delicious as it may be, ice cream is not exactly the best treat to consume when you’re trying to maintain your summer body.

Thankfully, better-for-you ice cream alternatives made with dairy and/or sugar substitutes are a huge trend right now, and a great option for celebrating National Ice Cream Day this Sunday, July 16.

Halo Top

It’s almost too good to believe when a pint of chocolate ice cream clocks in at 280 calories with upwards of 20 grams of protein and still tastes like real ice cream—but Halo Top has accomplished such a feat.
Sugar: Halo Top is low in sugars, thanks to ingredients such as organic stevia and erythritol, natural sweeteners that don’t mess with your blood sugar.
Dairy: Halo Top does use milk and cream, so if you’re looking to cut down on your dairy consumption, this isn’t the option for you.
Gluten/wheat: Most flavors are gluten-free.
Texture: Let the pint sit out for a minute to soften up and let the creamy texture emerge.
Flavors: With flavors ranging from traditional (vanilla, chocolate) to fan favorites (mint chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet) to specialty (lemon cake, s’mores, sea salt caramel), there’s a pint for everyone to love.

Eat Enlightened

Similar to Halo Top, Eat Enlightened ice cream is low-calorie and low-sugar, and high in protein. Most pints are between 280-360 calories, with no artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors, and the consistency of traditional ice cream.
Sugar: Sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol (natural sweeteners), and contains zero high fructose corn syrup.
Dairy: Eat Enlightened is made with hormone-free skim milk and milk protein.
Gluten/wheat: All of Enlightened’s bars are gluten free, and most of the pints are as well.
Texture: Let the pint de-thaw before digging in for the texture to mirror true to ice cream—creamy and smooth.
Flavors: Flavors such as frozen hot cocoa, piña colada and cold brew coffee sound like exotic treats on a hot day. And with bar options, you don’t have to worry about eating the whole pint in one sitting. (No judgement here if you do.)

Vixen’s Kitchen

While this certified Paleo vegan gelato isn’t exactly low in calories or sugar, it’s suitable for a caveman (or woman) diet.
Sugar: Sweetened with organic pure maple syrup.
Dairy: None! It is made from organic raw cashews (protein!).
Gluten/wheat: None!
Texture: The gelato, which is creamy and consistent with the texture of traditional ice cream, is plant-based and organic for the win.
Flavors: You can find Vixen’s Kitchen products—chocolate mint, blueberry, coffee and more—in stores across Northern California, and you can also order pints online and have them shipped to you wherever you live.

Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss

Luna & Larry’s comes with quite an impressive resume: dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan and organic. What more could you possibly want out of an ice cream substitute? OK, maybe low-sugar and low-calorie. But, if you want to feel ethical about the ice cream you’re consuming, you’ve met your match.
Sugar: Luna & Larry’s sweeten its pints with organic agave syrup instead of cane sugar.
Dairy: None—and the coconut milk Luna & Larry’s uses is harvested in an ethical, environmentally friendly fashion.
Gluten/wheat: None!
Texture: Creamy and smooth, just like ice cream should be.
Flavors: The summer berry swirl sounds refreshing on a hot day, but it’s hard to pass up a chance to try the mocha maca crunch—made with the superfood maca.

So Delicious Dairy Free Ice Cream

So Delicious pioneered the non-dairy options in our grocery stores, and they’ve made sure people with dairy allergies don’t have to miss out on frozen treats.
Sugar: In addition to its line of dairy-free ice creams, So Delicious offers no-sugar-added flavors, including chocolate (only 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of sugar alcohol per serving), mint chip, vanilla bean and butter pecan, all made with coconut milk. (You can also find mini fudge and vanilla bars with no sugar added.) Because it uses monk fruit to sweeten, the no-sugar-added pints are a bit sweet, if you’re not used to the monk fruit flavor.
Dairy: None—So Delicious uses coconut, cashew, soy and almond milks instead.
Gluten/wheat: Many flavors are gluten-free.
Texture: Pretty creamy—enough to fool your mouth into thinking it’s just your average pint.
Flavors: So Delicious is plant-based vegan ice cream, with flavors ranging from chocolate to strawberry to everything in-between, made with coconut, soy or almond milks.

 Photo credit: jacoblund, Thinkstock

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