Working out and becoming a healthier you, are important for improving how you look and feel, but it can also mean giving up some of your favorite foods. Fatty foods such as chips, candies, and other empty-calorie products may become off-limits to you depending on your fitness goals, but just because something is classified as junk food does not mean it is bad for all occasions. Ice cream is one of the healthier options for a post-workout snack as it has many different benefits to the post-workout routine.
How Ice Cream Helps After a Workout
Ice cream is one of the most refreshing, sweet treats in the world. It is an ideal topping for pies, desserts of all types, and is just a tasty treat all on its own. The basis of ice cream is cream, sugar, eggs, and choice of flavorings. Although there are different variations on this sweet concoction, the basic nature of ice cream is remarkably versatile and adaptable for a post-workout snack. Studies have shown that eating ice cream after an intense workout supplies an insulin spike essential for building muscle and prevents muscle breakdown. The effects of ice cream consumption after a workout are said to last up to 2 hours.
Nutritional Composition of Ice Cream
Those that live an active lifestyle and get plenty of exercise can have the occasional ice cream treat without any guilt. For people that live an inactive lifestyle, eating ice cream regularly can be damaging to their body as they do not work off the excess calories as those that work out can do. Generally, a serving of ice cream contains 140 calories, 7g fat, 30mg cholesterol, 2g protein, and 14g sugar. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain, but for people that lift weights, enjoy cardio, and those that simply adhere to the recommended 30 minutes of activity each day, the protein in ice cream can be a significant benefit. Additionally, certain low-fat varieties can have as little as 130 calories per serving.
Can I Overdo it With Ice Cream?
Even if you are highly active, it is easy to overdo it with ice cream. The problem lies in the serving size of ice cream. Generally, it is ideal to read nutrition labels on ice cream brands and stick to the serving size guidelines as much as possible. Ice cream is a seductive dessert in many ways, but by guarding serving sizes closely, you will not overpower your system with too many calories and sugar.
For a post-workout snack, ice cream is excellent provided you do not add more toppings or pair it with another sweet food. The ice cream alone, in its most basic form, is essentially healthy in many ways, especially for those that lead an active lifestyle. However, added ingredients in the ice cream such as cookies, various flavorings, and sauces add to the caloric makeup of the sweet making it a negative for even active individuals. Keep your portions relatively small and stay away from additional toppings for the best post-workout results. Ice cream can help, but it can also hurt when over-consumed.
Healthier Ice Cream Alternatives
Calories found in ice cream are relatively low when compared to various other snacks and for those working out regularly, the sweet does house essential nutrients to keep your body from feeling overly tired after a workout. However, many fitness enthusiasts avoid the consumption of dairy products such as ice cream due to other health concerns. Dairy products have been shown to increase acne risk, increase pore size in the skin, and many people have developed lactose issues throughout the years and should not use dairy products in their regular diet. Thankfully, various alternatives are healthier than standard dairy-filled ice cream products.
Fruit sorbets are one of the more beneficial ice cream alternatives for those looking for a sweet treat after their workout. The benefit of fruit sorbets is the fact that fruit juice is used as a substitute for dairy products making sorbet a better alternative for those sensitive to dairy. Sorbets can be made from a variety of different fruits and can help cool you off more efficiently post-workout than standard ice cream.
Coconut milk ice cream offers the same creamy texture as standard ice cream without the problems associated with dairy. Making ice cream from coconut milk offers essential Vitamins such as E and A but can carry more calories than standard ice cream. Certain individuals that are sensitive to coconut milk should avoid this choice due to gastric issues derived from coconut consumption, but if you are not sensitive to coconut products, this is a great choice for your post-workout snack routine.
Frozen Kefir can offer substantial benefits to those who live a healthy lifestyle and crave a good post-workout snack. Kefir is derived from probiotic cultures that are considered by many health enthusiasts and professionals as a superfood. Like milk, Kefir can be sweetened and frozen just like ice cream. The benefits of frozen Kefir are that it contains vitamin K2 which has been proven to help in brain and artery function. This frozen treat is always excellent for your immune system.
Gelato is a very similar option to ice cream for a post-workout snack. The benefit of Gelato is that it is lower in calories than standard ice cream but has a denser composition than its counterpart. The dense nature of Gelato means you can eat less and feel fuller than with your typical, air-filled ice cream variety.
Health Issues Related to Ice Cream Consumption
Ice cream is one of the tastiest post-workout snacks on the market today, but not everyone should regularly indulge in its goodness. Naturally, it is understandable that people diagnosed with diabetes should severely limit their consumption of ice cream due to the high sugar content found in most brands. However, some brands are designed with less sugar making them a better choice for active individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Additionally, patients that have been diagnosed with kidney disease, even those who work out regularly, should avoid consuming too much ice cream. The high protein, sodium, calories, and sugar content are not good for already stressed kidneys. However, like diabetic-friendly ice cream options, brands are now introducing Vegan ice creams that are kinder on the system of a kidney disease patient.
Ice cream is an excellent treat for a normal healthy individual to consume as a post-workout snack. However, as with most foods, consumption should be kept to a moderate level to ensure your body is not overloaded with empty calories and fat. Healthy alternatives to standard ice cream can be mixed in for variety and added health requirements. For those who experience or have been diagnosed with specific conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes, ice cream consumption should be kept at a minimum, or at least, the patient should invest in healthy alternatives designed for their specific condition. Ice cream can be a beneficial snack and will help you not feel sluggish post-workout, but as with every form of food, moderation is the key, so don’t overdo it.