Healthy Ice Cream Tips

During the hot summer months, there's no better treat than a refreshing cup of ice cream. But that cup of ice cream in the evening could add on tons of calories that will counteract your best efforts to look beach ready in your hot, new bathing suit.

We've compiled a list of the best and worst ice cream or frozen yogurt choices to order when you are out on the town or stocking your freezer.

Tanya's tips:1. Look for low-fat, fat-free and no-sugar added. These varieties will be your best bets when it comes to choosing ice cream or frozen yogurt. They tend to have the fewest calories, but be careful because they can still pack on tons of calories. You can usually ask the store for the nutritional information. And if you are buying your own at the grocery store, carefully read the labels! Not all low-fat ice creams are created equal. Choose ones with about 100 calories per serving and less than 3 grams of fat.

2. Be careful with serving size. You may think you are being smart by ordering the small, 4 oz. cup, but chances are you are getting double the amount. Ice-cream scoopers tend to fill the cups past the rim, which may seem like a great thing, but not when you are trying to watch your weight. A small serving of soft serve can easily reach about 8 oz. Take some home or share with a friend to cut calories yet still satisfy your ice cream craving.

3. Eat your dessert, don't drink it. Avoid shakes, smoothies, and any other creation that's mixed up into a creamy, frothy treat. They can have double to triple the amount of calories in a regular serving of ice cream. Plus, studies reveal that your body does not register calories from fluids - meaning that fluids don't replace food. You will still end up eating the entire dessert, but with all the extra calories. So think twice next time you order a smoothie, which still has tons of calories and carbs even though it seemed like a good choice at the time.

4. Choose your toppings wisely. Don't be fooled by the toppings that may seem healthy. Fruit drenched in gooey syrups and granola should be avoided. Granola is one of those deceptive foods because we tend to think it's healthy but in reality, it is not. One cup of granola contains over 500 calories. So depending on how much topping you get, you could be adding hundreds of calories to your already caloric dessert. Your best bets are sprinkles, sugar-free chocolate syrup or fresh fruit.

5. Bag your own. If you're looking for some added crunch to your ice cream, consider bringing a small bag of Fiber One or Bran Buds as a topping for your dessert. Not only will you have a low-calorie topping, but the added fiber from the cereal will help satisfy you so you don't overeat the ice cream.

6. Buy single servings. When shopping at the grocery store, there are many great options of what dessert to buy. Go for bars or ice cream sandwiches that are low in fat and sugar. Great choices are nonfat, sugar-free fudgesicles (many are under 45 calories!)

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of

. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto