We All Scream for Ice Cream

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By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN | July 2016


What is America's favorite dessert? Ice cream is definitely in the running! Did you know that ice cream can be beneficial for cancer survivors? Ice cream can help you manage side effects from cancer and cancer treatment such as weight loss, sore mouth, sore throat, and change in taste and smell. During cancer treatment, sometimes it is difficult to find a food, texture, or flavor that's appealing. The possible flavors and textures of ice cream are only limited by your imagination. If you are struggling with weight loss, ice cream can also add a calorie boost! Work through lactose intolerance by using sorbet, lactose-free milk, or lactase tablets available over the counter. Ice cream may be just what the doctor ordered (literally).

Try these ice cream strategies:

  • Sprinkle your favorite syrup, honey, nut toppings, or fruit jam over a mild flavor of ice cream like vanilla, almond, or coconut. The flavor of the syrup or fruity jam will add a new zesty taste.
  • Start mini with small servings of a variety of ice cream flavors. Sample all the choices to find the taste that hits the spot. Use a melon baller tool, cookie dough drop, or a mini-ice cream scoop that makes a small 1 inch diameter scoop.
  • Shake up your high-protein drinks and beverage recipes by adding a scoop of ice cream. Use the ratio of one scoop or ½ cup of ice cream to 4-8 ounces of a beverage and blend. For a punch of flavor add ½ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract. Blend for about 10 seconds. Enjoy!
  • Swirl ice cream into a gelatin recipe for the cold liquid. Stir well to combine the gelatin powder with the ice cream. Then add the hot liquid. The effect will be a mousse like dessert or salad if you add sliced fruit.
  • Sparkle your ice cream with the carbonation of an ice cream float! Remember the Coke floats at your neighbor soda shops? Add a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry to your favorite soda or root beer.
  • Sustain on days you don't feel like eating a meal by enjoying an ice cream sundae or shake with a scoop of protein powder or 2 tablespoons dried milk powder for extra amino acids and minerals.
  • Soothe a sore mouth by eating ice cream. The cool temperature of ice cream acts almost like an anesthetic to lessen the pain of eating. If you have large oral irritations or sores, go for the smooth textures instead of ice cream with nuts or hard fruits that can require chewing.
  • Snack after supper with an ice cream treat if you need extra calories. Calories eaten before bedtime won't interrupt your appetite for your next meal. And, the nutrition of a bedtime snack can help many people sleep through the night, avoiding the midnight munchies!

Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator.

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