When Minty Met Chippy

If you were to ask me which flavor of ice cream is my favorite, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I adore anything chocolate, savor sweet swirls of caramel and crave a bit of crunch, but with so many varieties out there, it’s nearly impossible to select just one. However, there is one kind of ice cream that not only serves as a delightfully refreshing post-meal treat, but also satisfies that insatiable chocolate craving…Mint Chip!

Mint chip ice cream is one of those classic flavors that is perfect on a hot summer day, but also somehow incredibly comforting on a cold winter evening. It is basic enough that it doesn’t feel over-done but it’s also uniquely decadent that it surprises the taste buds in all the right ways.

Every ice cream maker out there – from Breyer’s to Häagen-Dazs – produces a variation of the flavor with different levels of mint and chocolate additions. While the full-fat, full-dairy, chocolatey chunk-filled manufacturers certainly know how to churn a batch, they’re not exactly the healthiest options when it comes to sugar, fat and carbohydrate content.

That’s why, as an avid gluten-free, health-conscious fitness enthusiast, I’m focusing my review on two of the healthiest options around and placing them head to head for the ultimate chip-off!

First up, Arctic Zero’s “Cool Mint Chip:” This fit frozen dessert is perfectly flavored with just the right amount of peppermint that instantly cools the mouth upon first bite. Although not as creamy as its higher fat counterparts, its consistency is still adequate after a few minutes of defrosting or a quick zap in the microwave. This is a fair compromise, however, as the product is gluten free, lactose free, and GMO free, and its main ingredient is purified water. To make up for it its lack of creaminess is its generous amount of tiny chocolate chips. This pint is jam-packed with teeny morsels of delicious chocolate that pair perfectly with the invigorating mint freshness. At only 75 calories and two grams of fat per half-cup serving , this dessert is also beneficial for post-workout recovery since it’s made with whey protein. Overall, if you can adjust to an “icier” consistency, this mint chip frozen treat is a great option for a daily dessert.

Comparing the former to this second treat was difficult, as Halo Top’s Mint Chip is also a highly enjoyable dessert option. When it comes to consistency and texture, this brand definitely takes the cake over Arctic Zero, but falls short in other areas. First, let’s look at its positives: its mint flavor is absolutely delightful! It is subtle enough that it doesn’t overpower the palate but apparent enough that you feel rejuvenated and refreshed after sitting down to a bowl. After a few minutes on the kitchen counter or a brief stint in the microwave, this pint is ready to devour. It is also low in sugar and carbohydrates, containing half the amount of sugar per serving as Arctic Zero. In addition, it contains double the amount of protein, which is primarily sourced from its milk content. While this pint is also slightly lower in calories, it has a bit more fat, but this contributes to its smoother, creamier texture. Its one major downfall is its lack of chocolate chips. While Arctic Zero’s Cool Mint Chip guarantees at least a few chips in every delectable spoonful, Halo Top’s Mint Chip requires a bit of digging. In fact, there wasn’t a single chip in sight until I got a few spoonfuls deep. Overall, this pint hit the mark in taste and texture, but came in second with regards to chippyness.

So there you have it! The head-to-head battle of the healthiest Mint Chip ice cream on the market. You may have noticed I didn’t call out a downright favorite, because this would be an impossible task. Both have their pros and cons, so it comes down to your preference. If calorie count and chocolate chip content are major deciding factors for you, opt for the Arctic Zero. However, if you’re hankering for a creamy, low-carb option, then Halo Top has you covered!

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Protein-Packed PB&J Cups

Peanut…peanut butter…and JELLY! We all know the song, we all know the sandwich, but what may be unknown about this delightful little creation that I whipped up in the Edible Epiphanies kitchen: It’s jam-packed with protein! On top of that, it tantalizes the tastebuds with a little sweet and saltiness, and comes in a perfectly fit package to enjoy any time of day. This no-bake treat takes just minutes to prepare and will surely be devoured in even less time!

Ingredients:
  1. 1 Raw Revolution Glo Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt
  2. 1 tbsp. Strawberry Jelly
  3. 2 tbsp. Buttery Pecan Arctic Zero
  4. Toppings of your choice!PB&J Cups
Directions:

Take the soft Raw Rev Glo bar and remove it from its package. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the bar on a pan or countertop.

Once the bar is flattened, soft and easy to mold, place it in the cup of a small muffin pan to use as a mold for your peanut butter cup. Use your fingers to shape and blend the bar so it forms a small cup. IMG_3845

Slide a spoon along the edges to slowly slip the protein bar cup out of the muffin pan and grab your strawberry jelly.

Spoon the strawberry jelly into the cup and smooth it out along the inside to create a soft inner layer. Scoop out a large spoonful of Buttery Pecan Arctic Zero (this flavor works best with this recipe because of the buttery, nutty compliment to the protein bar, but feel free to use another variety!) and place it into your protein peanut butter cup on top of the jelly.Now you can add your favorite toppings! I suggest chocolate candies, chocolate peanut butter cup bits, nuts or whipped cream, but the sky’s the limit!Protein PB&J Cups

I hope you enjoy this delicious, protein-packed, sweet and salty treat!

 

Guest Recipe: Arctic Cookie Mash

Edible Epiphanies recently ran a “Healthy Dessert Contest” for the chance to win a FREE pint of Arctic Zero! I was overwhelmed with the incredibly delicious and creative recipes that my community members submitted, and it was nearly impossible to choose just one. A unique recipe by Ralph Esposito of Danbury, CT made my mouth water and I knew this was the recipe I had to try. The contest winner was kind enough to share his creation with the Edible Epiphanies community, so check it out, try it out and let me know what you think!

Quest into the Arctic Cookie Mash

Quest into the ‘Arctic Cookie Mash’

Ralph Esposito

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough Quest Protein Bar:
     – Cut into small circles uses an apple corer
Cookies & Cream Arctic Zero
Protein Frosting:
     – 1/2 scoop chocolate pea protein
     – 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
     – 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
     – Sprinkle of cinnamon
     – Add water to frosting consistency 1 tsp at a time

Directions:

Top the Quest cookie dough and Arctic Zero with the frosting, and mix. You have your smart Arctic Cookie Mash! This is one of my favorite pseudo-cheat meals. It takes a quick five minutes to prepare, it’s a great study break snack for your brain, and it won’t put you in a sugar crash moments later. Enjoy!

For more details on Edible Epiphanies next contest, visit and LIKE Edible on Facebook or FOLLOW Edible on Twitter.

Which Whey Should I Go?

As you continue to work toward eating healthier, scouring health food stores for gluten-free meal options and integrating more balanced nutrients into your diet, it’s easy to become obsessed with researching all the health trends out there today. Finding every morsel of information about what you’re putting in your body is the best thing you can do for yourself. To truly understand where your food comes from, what ingredients are in it, how those ingredients affect your body, and why you have cravings for certain foods can all be important pieces of data that will help you along your path of healthy living.Cookies & Cream Arctic Zero

It’s critical that you really listen to what your body is craving, and as you know from my recent posts, I am a huge fan of two particular products: Arctic Zero and Quest Protein Bars. After trying several varieties of both, I decided it was time to “look under the hood” to identify the ingredients that were in both products. Lo and behold – they each contained one ingredient in common: Whey Protein.

So what exactly is Whey Protein?

According to Medical News Today, Whey protein is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. You may have seen this ingredient at the top of the list on products such as protein shakes, powders, bars or supplements, and it provides a number of valuable health benefits, including help for:

  • Weight Management
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Asthma
  • Cholesterol Management
  • Blood Pressure Regulation

If you’re not a “protein powder person” who prefers to obtain their nutrients from natural foods, then you can get Whey protein from lactose-based dairy products, such as:Dairy

  • Cow’s or goat’s milk
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt

If you are lactose-intolerant, sensitive to lactose or if you’re simply choosing to abstain from dairy in your diet, then I highly recommend Arctic Zero and Quest Protein Bars, as these are both low in lactose content.

Do you supplement with Whey Protein or recommend any great Whey Protein products? COMMENT BELOW!

Sugar Mama

In my recent post, “Frozen Bliss,” I described the utter joy I feel when sitting down to a bowl of delicious frozen yogurt topped with carob chips and freshly sliced bananas. Well, my somewhat guilt-free enjoyment was recently trumped after discovering “10 Things You Don’t Know About Sugar,“describing the not-so-healthy effects of sugar on your brain and body. While I usually opt for the “no sugar added” or sugar-free variety, unfortunately, this chilly treat can still be loaded with sugar-filled calories. After skimming the dozens of news stories detailing the way sugar can wreak havoc on your systems, I am not surprised that so many high-profile health advocates are publicizing their sugar-free way of living.

Sugar is a tricky little bugger. It sneaks its way into many foods that you wouldn’t expect, including:

  • Instant OatmealInstant Oatmeal
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Baked Beans
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Coleslaw
  • Ketchup

While I never doubted that my nightly dessert was high in sugar – the carob chips alone add a good portion of calories – when you really start to examine all the foods in your diet, you might be surprised at the sugar content of other foods. I am, in no way, advocating a sugar-free diet, because I couldn’t last a day without some sort of sweet treat, but there are some good alternatives if you are thinking of cutting back. Here are some of my favorite foods to satisfy your sweet tooth without overloading on sugar:

Cottage Cheese with Fruit

Mix nonfat cottage cheese with fresh pineapple, pears or banana slices and enjoy a high-protein, low-sugar treat to combat your craving. These fruit varieties work best for this snack due to their texture and lower sugar content, but you can use almost any fruit – even canned (make sure you buy the canned fruit in water, not syrup!)

Baked Apple with Cinnamon

Take a Granny smith apple (they microwave best but you can choose your favorite variety), and cut out the core or slice it into four pieces. Place it on a plate and microwave it on high for about one minute. As soon as you take it out, sprinkle cinnamon over the top to lightly coat the warm, soft apple. It’s like having a slice of apple pie without the carbs (or guilt)!

Arctic ZeroArctic Zero

Here’s a little gem for you. Have you ever sat down with a pint of ice cream and a spoon, and thought you could easily eat the entire container in one sitting? Arctic Zero is a scrumptious frozen treat that allows you to do just that without feeling guilty! The texture of this frozen treat is not as creamy or thick as ice cream, but it certainly satisfies the craving, and an entire pint will only set you back 150 calories! This frozen yogurt-type dessert comes in Peanut Butter Chocolate, Maple Vanilla, Strawberry, Cookies and Cream (Edible Epiphanies’ favorite flavor), Coffee, Chocolate, and others. I like to mix half a bowl of Breyers No Sugar Added Frozen Yogurt with a scoop of any Arctic Zero flavor, and top it with fresh banana slices and carob chips. This gives you some creaminess with lots of flavor and little guilt!