What is Nice Cream?
| 4 min read
For many of us, ice cream was right up there on the list of childhood treats. It landed alongside cake at birthday parties, was scooped atop cones, and was worth standing in line for at little downtown shops during the summer. But as many of us get older, the dairy part of traditional ice cream is no longer tops on our treat wish list. Instead, we’re reaching for alternatives like “nice cream.” These desserts are creamy, delicious and can be packed with healthy ingredients. But what exactly is nice cream?
What is nice cream?
Nice cream is more of an umbrella term, encompassing a wide array of healthy ice cream, and often non-dairy types of ice cream. There’s not a real definition for nice cream, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be dairy-free. Nice cream generally is an ice cream that has been made healthier.
As more types of these types of treats find their way to grocery store freezer sections, some might think it’s a recent trend. But people have been turning to these healthier cold treats for years – and finding some pretty creative ways to make them tasty.
Nice cream bases can vary. Some people use chunks of frozen bananas or bite-sized frozen fruit. Nut butters and avocado can add thickness. Protein powders can add an extra nutritional boost. Blending in chocolate and nut pieces make it taste like a sundae. A lot of the nice cream recipes being shared between friends and on social media are not only non-dairy, they are vegan as well – which makes them the dessert darlings of people who embrace this lifestyle as well.
Reaching for foods made without dairy – like many types of nice cream – is not just a trendy shift. While a lot of children can digest lactose, which is a type of sugar found in dairy products like milk and ice cream, that number dwindles as people age. Research shows up to 68% of the world’s population has trouble digesting dairy products, according to the U.S. National Institutes for Health. And this lactose intolerance can have uncomfortable side effects for those who eat dairy. Gas, painful bloating and intestinal discomfort are the main problems that occur when lactose-intolerant people help themselves to servings of dairy foods like ice cream.
In an effort to be kinder to their bodies, people reach for non-dairy treats that still taste good. That’s where nice cream-type desserts are finding an audience. And many of them are full of healthy ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of the health benefits of some of the most popular nice cream building blocks and additives:
Bananas: Often used frozen as a base for nice cream, bananas are full of nutrition and easy to digest. A medium-sized banana has 3 grams of fiber, which is about 10% of the amount of fiber adults need each day. Bananas also have potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and magnesium, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Berries: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are often used for flavor, sweetness and their appetizing colors. All these berries contain fiber and Vitamin C, as well as a big dose of antioxidants to help protect our body’s cells from damage.
Avocado: This creamy fruit has a lot of heart-healthy benefits. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and protect against some kinds of heart disease. They also have a good amount of fiber.
Nuts and nut butters: The creaminess and flavors of nuts and nut butter make them a great addition to nice cream. They are also a good source of protein, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Nice creams can be made with only a few ingredients, and they are usually things you already have on hand. You can whip them up in small batches, using a blender or food processor. Some recipes are as easy as two frozen bananas and a splash or two of almond milk. Nice cream recipes are also fun to experiment with, and you can change the ingredients and personalize the taste to whatever suits you. Some ideas for recipes:
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