Order This, Not That: Ice Cream Truck

Set limits for the little ones with these better-for-you items to order off the iconic summer ice cream truck.

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When that ice cream truck comes around the corner, my kids go absolutely bonkers. Some days I can’t help but give in to the screams for ice cream. However, I do set limits on better-for-you items to order off the iconic truck.

Order This: Snow Cone (pictured above)

A majority of the ices that lure in kids are made with sugar, artificial ingredients and artificial color. Of all the choices, however, the Snow Cone comes in with the fewest ingredients (about 10) compared with close to 20 in some others. Additionally, it has much less sugar than any other choice.

Per serving: Calories 30; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 8 g; Sugars 5 g

Since it’s filled with ingredient after ingredient of fillers, preservatives and colors (red 40 and blue 1), it’s a good idea to skip this tongue-staining treat.

Per serving: Calories 90; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 21 g; Sugars 16 g

A smaller-portioned ice in a container that prevents the melting ice from dripping is just a better choice for parents. The calorie and sugar counts are among the lowest, though you’ll still get preservatives and additives. Consider it the best of the worst.

Per serving: Calories 80; Fat 1 g (Saturated 1 g); Carbohydrate 18 g; Sugars 10 g

When my kids were very young they always begged for this treat. It was filled with preservatives and always ended up being messy, and there was also an inevitable fight for the eyeballs. Those suckers are actually gum, and if your little one is too young to chew it, it’s a fight you want to stay far away from.

Per serving: Calories 100; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 26 g; Sugars 16 g

This little box of small treats is perfect to share among two or even three. That way, everyone can get a small portion (at about 170 calories for 2 servings) and not miss out on the ice cream goodness that comes along with the warm weather.

Per serving (per container): Calories 340; Fat 24 g (Saturated 17 g); Carbohydrate 30 g; Sugars 20 g

Although the mammoth-sized cone is a delicious treat, it has one of the highest amounts of calories on the menu. Plus, the list of ingredients is close to 50, including multiple sources of trans fat.

Per serving: Calories 350; Fat 16 g (Saturated 11 g); Carbohydrate 48 g; Sugars 32 g

Order This: Bottle of water

Refreshing, hydrating and free of calories, a bottle of water should always top the list of bevvies to order off the ice cream truck.

Per serving: Calories 0; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 0 g; Sugars 0 g

Not This: Sports drink

On a hot day you may be tempted to grab a sports drink. Unless you’re participating in heavy-duty activities, there’s no need for those extra calories from sugar.

Per serving (12 fluid ounces): Calories 117; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 29 g; Sugars 22 g

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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