Taste Test: Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Desserts

Less (of the real stuff) is more.

If you’ve been running down the ice cream truck with your kids all summer, and just can’t stomach another Firecracker, it might be time to rethink your summer dessert routine.

We taste-tasted several low-calorie and low-fat options, and believe it or not, some actually tasted really good! In frozen desserts, we found that small portions of real ice cream, as opposed to low-fat ice cream, were much tastier (duh).

Snickers Minis Ice Cream Bars
Calories: 90
Fat: 6 g

About two and a half inches long, and a little over an inch wide, these very small slices of heaven are simply half-size portions of the regular Snickers ice cream bars. We loved having just a little bit of real, full-fat, full-calorie peanut butter ice cream, combined with all the goodness of Snickers: roasted peanuts, caramel and a chocolate coating. This small bar offers a real bang that’s worth the smaller portion.

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches
Calories: 140
Fat: 1.5 g

Most of the ladies in our office swear by these sandwiches, which come in a variety of flavors, including cookies and cream, and mint (there are also single serve cups in flavors including caramel cone and dulce de leche). Even though the ice cream is low fat, it’s creamy, and the cookies are soft and chocolaty. And for those who are wary of artificial sweeteners, these sandwiches—amazingly—contain none!

Soy Creamy Mini Chocolate Sandwiches
Calories: 90
Fat: 2 g

Available at Trader Joe’s, these small portions are a great option for people who can’t or won’t eat dairy. The cookie part is super-soft, and the soy ice cream tastes rich and very similar to regular ice cream, with no artificial after-taste.

Edy’s Fruit Bars

Calories: 60-120
Fat: 0-3 g

These fruit bars, which come in normal popsicle portions, are refreshing and very sweet, and some versions even offer an antioxidant benefit. Flavors range from classic grape and strawberry to the more exotic pomegranate and acai blueberry. One caveat: we can’t vouch for the no-sugar-added versions (that’s just not how we roll!)

Whole Fruit Bars
Calories: 70 or less
Fat: 0 g

Like the Edy’s bars, these popsicles aren’t actually wholly fruit (they do contain corn syrup), but they’re pretty harmless in the grand scheme of desserts, and the taste—similar to the Edy’s—will satisfy your sugar craving.

Weight Watchers Giant Cookies & Cream Bar
Calories: 130
Fat: 5 g

This bar features low-fat cookies and cream ice cream with a cookie crunch coating. While the coating was appealing, the ice cream isn’t creamy and there’s a bit of artificial after-taste.

Tie between:

Toffee Crunch Bars by Stone Ridge Creamery
Calories: 110
Fat: 6 g

We were very underwhelmed by this low-fat toffee ice cream covered with a chocolaty coating and crunchy toffee pieces. The outside was delicious, but the ice cream inside tasted more like yogurt than ice cream.

Breyer’s Smooth & Dreamy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwich
Calories: 160
Fat: 4 g

Not only does the ice cream in this sandwich have a fakey taste, the cookies are about as hard as cardboard. If you’re looking for an ice cream sandwich, definitely go with Skinny Cow!

JELL-O Mousse Temptations: Chocolate Indulgence and Caramel Creme
Calories: 60
Fat: 3 g

Photos of these whipped versions of JELL-O pudding—a childhood favorite for many—made it look enticing, but the taste fell short. The choppy, overly whipped texture made one of our tasters refer to this dessert as “JELL-O gone bad.”