Thursday, July 18, 2013

Too much screaming for Ice Cream

The best thing about summer as a kid is the endless supply of sumptuous ice cream.

Each lick tantalises your tastebuds and is more satisfying than the last. As adults, we know that it’s a rare treat, not to be consumed every day, right?

But kids don’t see the logic in that. They want ice cream all the time, especially when it’s hot. They don’t want to eat anything else. They don’t understand about good and bad nutrition. They think that if something tastes good and they love it, then it should be breastfast, lunch and dinner.
At least that’s how my kids think. And that’s the constant battle I’m having with them right now.

They won’t eat anything else during this unseasonal heatwave we’re having in Ireland.
Should I be worried? Is ice cream really that bad for kids? My battles are becoming weary – can I resist my kids screaming demands for the smooth, beautifully cool nectar?

The main ingredients are supposed to be milk and cream, which has calcium which makes their bones and bodies grow strong and tall, does it not? Surely there is some nutritional value in an ice cream? After researching my question, I realized how naïve I've been.

Nutritionists will tell you ice cream is allowed in moderation, so long as you aren't eating it every day (yikes!) and to choose products that have real ingredients, ie dairy rather than milk powder and fruit extracts rather than flavours made in a lab.
But an article I read recently [link here] says that a lot of the ice cream we buy is nothing more than processed junk that hasn’t even had a sniff of dairy near it, therefore it contains no nutritional value at all.

Soft scoop is always bad news, says the article, because it’s basically just water, sugar and oil held together by starches.

Most cheap ice creams are made up of vegetable oils, lab-produced flavourings, milk-derived powders and artificial sweeteners. Not something that sounds good for our kids on a regular basis.
In my research, I discovered that the amount of minimum dairy an ice cream must contain in order to legally call itself ‘ice cream’ is ridiculously low – just 2.5 per cent of milk protein and an additional 5 per cent of dairy fat.

There I was thinking that if I gave my kids ice cream, it might have something like 50% dairy in it. I am but delusional!
I’d love to hear from other mums what the best ice creams to give your kids are and which ones have the best dairy content?

In future, I’m going to inspect the labels of ice creams – not that they tell you much – and try to choose ice creams that have whole foods ingredients, such as milk, eggs, sugar, strawberries etc. And try to steer my kids away from those that have a long list of chemicals, preservatives, and dyes.

I might even try to make my own from fruits and yogurt.
Another interesting nugget I picked up whilst researching this article.... ever wonder why your kids grow so much during summer? Well it’s the vitamin D from the sun, which if combined with calcium (milk, cheese) and protein (meat, eggs), helps to give the body a much needed kickstart in the growth stakes. So another good reason to give them proper dairy ice cream rather than processed junk.
Here's a few ingredient lists I found on the web:


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  1. In our house the ice cream van plays music when it's empty. Horribly cruel but we can't afford to keep on buying ice creams and the nutritional value of soft serve is really bad. I make our own quick ice cream with creme fraiche and berries from the garden/allotment - ice pops from watered down fruit juice and then every now and again we'll splurge for a cornetto when we're out and about. Lollipop sticks into the top of fromage frais pots then freeze is another healthier option. I nodded and agreed with every single bit of this post!

    1. Oo I like the sound of that! Must try to be a bit smarter with my ice cream choices, thanks for the tips x

  2. I try to buy the more expensive ice creams with the fewest ingredients - and then give the kids teaspoon-sized scoops, which as you can imagine doesn't exactly endear me to them. Haagen Daz had a good one called Five, I think (for five ingredients). But I haven't seen it in my supermarket lately...

    1. Ha ha. I buy occasional expensive ice cream (for me! bad mum) but then the kids spot it and wolf into it! I cry, my precious ice cream! Hands off! But I suppose I should think more of the ingredients in future, rather than selfish taste reasons!!


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