July is National Ice Cream Month, which means we have full permission to scarf down on some delicious frozen treats. I compared five of the most popular ice cream chains on nutritional info, variety, and taste* so that you will have a better idea of where you should go for treats to beat the summer heat.
Hey, it's a tough job, but someone had to do it.
Ben & Jerry's (250 calories, 15g of fat): My two favorite men after a breakup, I usually only eat this brand at home, straight from the pint usually surrounded by tissues. But how can you go wrong with names like Chocolate Therapy and Imagined World Peace? Though the chains don't have as many of the unique combos as in your local grocery store, it's still just as tasty.
Baskin-Robbins (260 calories, 14g of fat): I will always have a place in my heart for Baskin-Robbins because of the fond memories of being rewarded with not one, but two scoops at the local BR after a soccer game win. But is it just me or has Baskin-Robbins seemingly gone downhill? They're beginning to taste more like the hard-packed ice cream you get out of your freezer than a special treat. But with 31 flavors, at least you have variety.
Cold Stone Creamery (320 calories, 20g of fat): With tons of mixtures to choose from, they perfectly blend your customized concoction on a granite stone. Though they're a little pricier than other chains, the delicious taste is well worth the caloric and financial splurge every once in awhile.
TCBY (110 calories, 1.5g of fat): Definitely the healthier choice when it comes to frozen treat chains, TCBY's frozen yogurt is reminiscent of the soft serve ice cream truck that drove by on summer evenings. Not to mention I don't think I could ever get enough of their white chocolate mousse flavor. However, they're limited on the soft serve yogurt that they're famous for, usually just featuring three to five flavors, and the hand-scooped yogurt isn't quite up to par.
Pinkberry (120 calories, 1.5g of fat): The trendy frozen yogurt chain that started in California quickly popped up everywhere here in NYC, and it's now making its invasion in the states in between. I can't count how many times I've given this store a try, and am still unsure of what the big hoopla is about. On any given summer night, there's always a line out the door at these locations. Personally, I think that the yogurt is decent, but has a weird sour taste to it -- I'd much prefer TCBY's yogurt if I'm going the healthy route -- but according to the rest of the public, it's a winner.
So, that being said, since I rarely try to rarely eat ice cream, Cold Stone is worth the splurge, making it my personal chain-of-choice. And, yes, I realize that I didn't include Dairy Queen in this list, but it's because they don't serve just plain ol' ice cream. But feel free to mention in the comments if DQ is your favorite chain!
**The nutritional information is based on a basic, one scoop, cup of chocolate.
What's your chain-of-choice? Do you take nutritional value and pricing into consideration?