If there’s one thing Americans love, especially during the summer, it’s indulging in sweet frozen treats.
- In a given two-week period, 40% will eat ice cream according to research by NPD Group.
- 90% of American households regularly enjoy frozen sweet treats.
- 87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time.
- There are about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts produced in the United States annually.
- The average American eat ice cream 28.5 times per year and the average American eats more than 48 pints of ice cream a year.
If you’re a lover of sweet frozen treats and you visit the local ice cream shop often, you might want to consider getting gelato during your next visit instead of ice cream. If you’re wondering what gelato is, it’s essentially Italian ice cream, made from a base of milk, sugar and cream. Gelato is essentially the same as ice cream, but the proportions of the ingredients are different. Gelato contains between 3 and 8% milk fat and 25-30% air. Ice cream by comparison has more fat (about 10%) and generally contains egg yolks.
At the end of all the preparation, you’re left with gelato that comes off gelato spoons so easily because it’s creamier, rich-tasting and denser than ice cream. Gelato has less air than ice cream, so it’s smoother and creamier, but some gelato uses more sugar to make up for the fat.
Not only is gelato delicious, but surprising there are many health benefits that will make you want to pick up for gelato spoons and dig in:
- Vitamins and minerals: One of the great things about gelato is that ice cream shop purveyors can do so much with it. That means you may be scooping up things like dried fruit and fresh fruit on your gelato spoons. That also means that by scooping up those fresh berries and other add-ins, you’re getting plenty of essential nutrients while enjoying your sweet treat. Items like berries are full of antioxidants, which help prevent disease and also promote healthy skin and a strong immune system.
- An energy boost: Another benefit of scooping up gelato on your gelato spoons is that it contains carbohydrates, which a body absorbs and converts into energy. So the next time you’re gobbling up gelato out of a paper cup or an ice cream bowl, you can do so knowing that you’re giving yourself a jolt of energy.
- Digestive health: Stopping into the local ice cream shop can actually be good for your digestive health too. Why? Because the enzymes in fruits like pineapple are good for your digestive system. Believe it or not, there are certain kinds of gelato served in Italy between courses of a dinner to help folks digest food better.
- Healthier: As previously noted, gelato contains somewhere between 3-8% milk fat, compared to 10-15% or more for most ice creams. The lower fat content gives gelato a richer flavor and can be lower in calories, fat and sugar.
- Staying hydrated: Gelato contains a fair amount of water, so it can be a source of hydration, though it’s not recommended as a replacement for things like water and fruit juice.
So if you’re looking for a sweet treat the next time you and your family stop into the local ice cream shop, consider getting a scoop or two of gelato. There are any number of flavors available; everything from cherry to chocolate chip to apple pie to mint to caramel to pistachio to peach to tiramisu to banana to mango. So whether you’re looking for a more traditional chocolate flavor akin to ice cream, you can get any number of flavors, or you can opt for something with more of a fruit base.
That’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite ice cream in the summertime. But if you’re looking for a healthier (and perhaps tastier) alternative, give gelato a try. It’s healthier, great for getting an energy boost and better for your digestive system. Even if you’re picky about flavors, there’s likely a tasty gelato flavor you’ll like.