How To Have Your Ice Cream – And Eat It, Too!

 

woman-mindfully-enjoying-ice-cream

Everyone loves a delicious ice cream on a hot summer day!

I try to be humble about it, but I consider myself to be quite the ice cream connoisseur.  I grew up right across the street from a Baskin Robbins, and one summer my best friend and I challenged each other to trying all 31 flavors one summer – TWICE (remember Pink Bubble Gum flavor?)  So there’s that.  (Obviously that was back in my heavier days as a kid.)

In high school, I was a waitress at Friendly’s Ice Cream Shop.  It was the best job ever, except of course for my present job!  I still remember how to make a Fribble, a Jim Dandy (banana split), and the ultimate:  The Reese’s Pieces Sundae.  Good times, good times.  And I’ve even toured Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Vermont, including the flavor graveyard.

I feel that all that experience qualifies me as an ice cream expert.  BUT – I learned some new things recently from an article posted by Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist from Cleveland Clinic, and author of “50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food.”  It grabbed my attention because it was all about bringing mindfulness to eating ice cream.  (Anything that could enhance someone’s ice cream eating experience must be a good thing, right?)

Here’s the problem as I see it:  I talk and talk about my weekly dessert splurge, and it works for me because I’m usually satisfied by the time I get to the last mouthful.  But with ice cream, there’s just never enough.  It ends too soon.   And who doesn’t get sad when it’s over? I always want just a little more, and look to see if there might be one more spoonful to sneak from my husband’s cup. (Letting me do that was in our pre-nuptual agreement).  I suspect that I’m not really “savoring the flavor.”

The first thing Dr. Albers suggests is to eat ice cream from a cone rather than a cup.  According to a study in Eating Well Magazine, the flavor of ice cream is actually released when the fat within the ice cream warms up to your body temperature.  So by licking the ice cream, you’re actually releasing more flavor as it melts on your tongue, rather than if you have a plastic spoon insulate the ice cream from your tongue.  The other idea is that licking takes longer than spooning, so the experience is drawn out over a longer period of time.  WHAT??  That is such a crazy idea that it just might work!

The second step is to watch your portions:  While you’re standing in line waiting for your ice cream, observe the different scoop sizes.  Portions can vary from 5 ounces for a small to as much as 12 ounces for a large (that’s 3/4 of a pound).  Order a reasonable serving.  I go with the Goldilocks diet when I splurge. I get a medium; not too small, not too big.

My next suggestion is to avoid those self-serve ice cream places!  Whoever dreamed up this idea is probably swimming in cash right now!  The first time I did this, it felt like a buffet.   And you know how much more you eat at buffets, right?  First, I grabbed a cup (have you noticed they only have large cups?).  I served myself a splash of chocolate, twisted in a bit of peanut butter, sprinkled on a few Reese’s pieces, a spoonful of crushed Oreos.  By the time I was done, the scale revealed that I had whipped up a 3/4 pound monster! As my mother used to say, “That’s how they getcha!”  And she’d be right!

While I’m weighing in on this topic, as with any addiction, the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem.  If you can’t resist ice cream, don’t keep it in the house.  OR, if you do keep it in the house (“for the kids” – I’ve heard that one before), buy pre-portioned servings, and stick to one serving.  And no, I don’t mean those pint-size containers of Ben & Jerry’s that they sell at convenience stores.  A serving of ice cream is only 1/2 cup.  One pint equals 2 cups (4 servings).  Sorry.  Try Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches or something that is truly one portion – very satisfying!

I feel that I have worked through my issues with ice cream over the years, and I only eat it on occasion now.  It’s not because I don’t love it, but I just don’t find it as tempting anymore.  I suppose once you’ve cleaned up during the night shift at Friendly’s and had your pantyhose stuck to your knees with hardened, dried up, sticky melted ice cream and fudge, it loses its luster.  But I do hope you enjoy yours!

Happy Summer!  Let me know how the cone idea works!

Photo courtesy of “The Mindful Dose”