I get this question A LOT. Enough to make me write a blog post about it. Halo Top is what I would call an ice cream alternative. Something you eat when you really want ice cream but don’t want to indulge in 1000 or more calories.

guilt free ice creamThere are a lot of ice cream alternatives out there:
Arctic Zero- tastes like water
Nada Moo- dairy free, made with coconut milk
Enlightened- similar to Halo Top, can’t find in any stores near me
So Delicious- dairy free, coconut or soy milk based
Yasso- low calorie ice cream bars
Skinny Cow- ice cream bars and sandwiches
Weight Watchers- bars, sandwiches, and small portion-controlled ice creams

Halo Top is the closest thing to the real thing. It has a creamy, fluffy texture and actually tastes like the flavors it claims: Lemon Cake, S’mores, Red Velvet, Black Cherry, etc.

The first ice cream alternative I tried was Arctic Zero. People RAVED about how great it is and how you could sit down with a spoon and house the whole pint for just 300 calories. I tried the Salted Caramel and it literally tasted like nothing, like I was eating frozen water. Guess what the first ingredient is? Water! I tried another flavor, Cookie Shake. Same thing. The only purpose Arctic Zero could serve is if you wanted to sit mindlessly in front of the TV and spoon something with no flavor into your mouth. In that case, we need to be working on why you are eating out of boredom, how we can start fueling your body better, or finding another way to decrease your stress levels.

Needless to day I was in no hurry to try Halo Top, especially since it can run anywhere from $5- 7 a pint. But after the millionth person asked me about it, I walked my butt over to Fresh Market and picked up a pint in the middle of the afternoon. I was surprised– it tasted like ice cream! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not comparable to a homemade, rich, and creamy ice cream from your hometown ice cream shop. It’s more comparable to the cheap store brand stuff.nutrition facts halo top

So, is it good for you? Depends on why you’re eating it.

The Pros
Taste, consistency, the amount you can eat for a small number of calories, and protein content.

The Cons
People like Food Babe love to demonize additives like erythrytol and claim that Halo Top is bad for you because not every single ingredient is organic or grown on a grassy hilltop in Utopia. No, eating something with erythritol is not as good as eating an apple, but I think we all know that. The purpose of eating Halo Top is NOT for a health benefit. Don’t eat it just because it has protein or fiber.

If you want more protein or fiber, eat real food.

The Verdict
There’s no real substitute for grabbing a cone with company you enjoy on a hot summer day. I’m a firm believer in not having strict food rules.

That said, if you want some lower calorie ice cream that still tastes good on a random Tuesday, go for the Halo Top. It’s satisfying and fun to eat right out of the pint. Don’t eat it every day and don’t think that it’s a health food.