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When you’re on a high protein diet, you may be concerned about which foods you can or cannot eat, including ice cream.
So, can ice cream be a part of a high protein diet? Ice cream can be part of a high protein diet, whether it’s including ice cream brands that are higher in protein or ensuring that you’re hitting your protein intake with other foods throughout the day so that you can hit your overall protein goal.
If you want to eat ice cream on a high protein diet, I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it properly.
After reading this article you’ll learn:
- How to define a high protein diet
- If ice cream is a high protein food
- How to include ice cream in a high-protein diet
- Which ice cream brands are high in protein
What Is Considered A High Protein Diet?
A normal protein intake is considered to be 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day based on the recommended daily allowance (RDA), so we could say that anything more than this is could be considered “high-protein”.
However, this recommended daily amount is based on just eating enough protein to be healthy, but for those wanting a high protein diet to help with weight loss or muscle gain,in-store it is not enough protein.
I think a better definition of a high-protein diet is eating 1.6 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, and having 30-35% of the calories we’re eating per day allocated to protein.
High protein diets are important for those who engage in physical activity, especially strength training, because it helps us to retain and build muscle.
It’s also important for those who are wanting to lose weight because increasing our protein intake can help boost our metabolism.
That’s not to say that those who do not engage in physical activity or are not pursuing weight loss shouldn’t eat a high-protein diet, it’s just that these individuals tend to be less focused on their protein intake.
Is Ice Cream A High Protein Food?
Ice cream is not a high-protein food, although it does contain protein because it is a dairy product, however, it does not contain enough protein to be considered a high-protein food.
Typical ice cream brands have around 2 or 3 grams of protein per serving. The amount of protein we should be looking for for a high-protein food is 10 grams of protein per serving.
However, it’s more common to see foods being labelled as “high-protein” even if they only have 5 grams of protein per serving.
Many products at the grocery store will be labelled “high protein” but don’t always contain an adequate amount of protein, so it’s important to read the food label to see how many grams of protein we’re getting per serving.
- Are you a bodybuilder? Check out my article on Is Ice Cream Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
4 Ways You Can Eat Ice Cream on A High Protein Diet
1. Fit Ice Cream Into Your Daily Macros
Although ice cream is not typically a high-protein food, we can still include it into our high-protein diet as long as we’re hitting our daily calorie and macronutrients goals by eating higher protein foods in our other meals.
As long as we’re eating enough protein throughout the day to reach our desired protein intake, we can include any ice cream we want and still work towards our goals.
Pro tip: I find the best way to do this is to plan ahead by making sure every other meal is protein packed so that when we want our ice cream, we don’t have to worry about adding a protein source to it.
2. Add Ice Cream To A Protein Shake
We can add ice cream to a protein shake to increase the amount of protein we’re consuming, while still getting to have our ice cream.
This is the best option for those who are bulking because when we’re bulking we need additional calories to add mass, but we also require a higher protein intake.
If we were to consume protein by itself we wouldn’t get enough calories, and if we were to consume ice cream by itself we wouldn’t be getting enough protein. Therefore, by combining them we are really getting the best of both worlds!
It should be noted that this may not be necessary as long as we’re hitting our calorie and protein goals at the end of the day, but some people may prefer combining their protein shake with ice cream because it tastes delicious and helps them meet their nutrition goals!
3. Pick High Protein Ice Cream Brands
If we’re wanting to include ice cream in our diet but we’re not consuming enough protein, we can opt for a higher protein ice cream option.
High-protein ice cream is an ice cream that has at least 5 grams of protein per serving. Although this is below what we would consider a high-protein food, it is the amount of protein that most higher-protein ice creams on the market have per serving.
If we’re eating enough protein between all our other meals and snacks, we probably don’t need a high-protein ice cream but if we’re not, it’s worth trying to have a higher protein variety.
Looking for ice cream recipes, check out:
- Protein Ice Cream Recipe For Bodybuilding (Easy To Make)
- Low Calorie High Protein Ice Cream Recipe.
- Protein Ice Cream With Xanthan Gum
- Ice Cream Protein Shake
- Protein Ice Cream Sandwich
4. Make Your Own Protein Ice Cream
We could also make our protein ice cream if we’re wanting to save a few extra calories from the store-bought brands.
Making your own protein ice cream is incredibly easy, all you need is a protein powder, ice, milk of your choice, flavourings that you’re wanting to add.
Some individuals also prefer to add xanthan gum because it is a thickener and can make the protein ice cream have more of an ice cream consistency.
When we make protein ice cream at home we can get much more protein per serving than we can when we eat a store-bought variety because we can add more protein and fewer preservatives.
My favorite protein ice cream recipe is the following:
Chocolate Protein Ice Cream
Makes 1-2 Servings.
For 1 serving: 355 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 31 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fat.
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- ½ medium frozen banana
- ½ cup ice
- ½ cup chocolate almond milk
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend.
For fewer carbs omit the banana and add additional ice. Alternatively, use unsweetened almond milk and add a sweetener.
- Related Article: 6 Best Ice Cream For Bulking (And, The 3 Worst)
4 High Protein Ice Cream Brands To Try
There are some great protein ice creams on the market that we can include in our diet to boost our protein intake and to have a solid alternative for when we have a sweet tooth but still need to hit our protein goals.
1. Halo Top
Halo Top is known for being a “healthier ice cream alternative” because it is lower in calories than regular ice cream and it has 6 grams of protein per serving.
While the protein content of halo top isn’t as high as we would like, it is higher in protein than traditional ice cream so it is one of the better options when we’re purchasing ice cream.
Halo Top is a fan favorite because it probably has the most flavor of any other high-protein ice creams on the market, with new flavors continually being released.
The consistency of the halo top is not as creamy as regular ice cream but it’s not as icy as some other brands tend to be. That being said, I do recommend letting it thaw slightly before consuming it.
Enlightened is very comparable to halo top in terms of taste but does have slightly more protein per serving at 7 or 8 grams, depending on the flavor that we choose.
Enlightened ice cream also has a great selection of flavors that do taste great, but the texture of enlightened isn’t for everyone.
Enlightened is creamy, but at times it is almost gelatinous… there is definitely something funky going on texturally with this ice cream. However, the taste is so good that I really don’t get hung up on the consistency of the ice cream.
Yasso is made of frozen greek yogurt and has 5 grams of protein per serving and is available in pints or ice cream bars if those are more your style!
The Yasso brand is one of the best-tasting high protein ice creams because it is made from actual dairy products, and therefore has retained all the creamy properties that we would expect from an ice cream product.
There are fewer flavors with the Yasso products than halo top or enlightened, but if you’re more of an ice cream purist, the taste and consistency of Yasso will win you over much more than the other brands.
4. So Delicious
So Delicious has made the list because although it’s not technically a high-protein ice cream as it only has around 3 grams of protein per serving, it does have the highest protein content per serving for all vegan ice creams.
If we’re vegan, we’re going to want to get our hands on the So Delicious ic creams. I was shocked at how good the So Delicious ice cream flavors are, they have nailed their flavors and achieved a creamy consistency using coconut milk!
If we’re not vegan, then we are better off opting for a brand with a higher protein content per serving. But for those who are vegan, this is the best option for high-protein ice cream!
What Else Can You Eat On A High Protein Diet?
Check out my other articles on high protein diets:
- Can You Eat Pasta On A High Protein Diet?
- Can You Eat Rice on A High Protein Diet?
- Can You Eat Fruit On A High Protein Diet?
- Can You Eat Bread Cream On A High Protein Diet?
- Can You Eat Cheese on A High Protein Diet?
Ice cream can absolutely be included in a high protein diet as long as we’re still meeting our protein requirements at the end of the day. As long as we’re meeting these requirements we can include ice cream in whichever way we prefer!
About The Author
Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath. She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.