Best low calorie ice cream for your diet

Yummy dessert that's low calorie? Yes, please!

Woman eating low calorie ice cream

by Eleanor Weaver |
Published on

When summer comes around (or any time of year, to be honest) ice cream is always the go to for a sweet treat or dessert. But if you're counting your calories, it can be tough to decide which low calorie ice cream is actually worth buying. You may be asking yourself, ‘yes, this is low cal, but does it taste any good?’

Thankfully in recent years, the low calorie snack and ice cream market has grown tenfold following the success of Halo Top. In fact, in August 2017, Halo Top became the number-one-selling pint of ice cream in the U.S. before joining us here in the UK. The beauty of low calorie ice cream is that you can enjoy an abundance of delicious flavour - even a full tub - without consuming the large number of calories you'd expect in traditional ice cream.

Best low calorie ice cream at a glance:

Best for flavour variety: Halo Top - view on Tesco
Best for rich flavour: Oppo Brothers - view on Ocado
Best full-fat flavour substitute: Ben & Jerry's Lighten Up! - view on Tesco

If this sounds like something you could get behind now summer has arrived, we thought we would help you out by tracking down some of the best low calories ice creams on the market today. Or, if you want to try your hand at making your own ice cream, check out our Ninja CREAMi review which includes an option for making lighter ice cream.

Best low calorie ice cream

Best for variety of flavours

First up we've selected Halo Top's gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly ice cream tub. It's 320kcal per tub! If you fancy a smaller portion, per 100ml you're looking at 2g fat (1g saturates) and 6.2g sugar. Halo Top also says this little treat has no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners.

Whilst we love the sea salt caramel option, Halo Top has a tonne of flavours including peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, cookie dough, and strawberry cheesecake amongst others. As one of the original low-calorie ice cream brands on the market, they've certainly set themselves apart from the rest.

Customer review: "For a pretend Ice cream I’ve gone back to it again and again. It’s better than the Roar product and costs less too. Well done Halo the texture is good the threads of salted caramel is good and I enjoyed eating your product very much."

Best for rich flavour

Oppo Brothers Double Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream 475ml
Price: £2.55 (was £5.10)

This 475ml tub of ice cream is low-calorie and delicious, containing 90kcal per 100ml. It's made from a sustainably sourced Colombian Cacao Fino de Aroma for a chocolatey Belgian milk chocolate ice cream with soft brownie pieces churned in. Per 100ml this frozen dessert has 7g sugar and 3.9g fat (2.8g saturates).

Other flavours include chocolate chip cookie dough and double salted caramel.

Customer review: "Can't believe how low calorie this is! It's my favourite diet ice cream at the moment and I love the little brownie pieces. Like all premium brand tub ice creams though, I find it expensive full price so I would only ever buy when on offer."

Best full-fat flavour substitute

This one's naughty and nice! Pop over to Tesco for Ben & Jerry's light ice cream, which has 125kcal per 100ml, 3.5g fat (2g saturates) and 16g sugar. It's a caramel ice cream packed with pieces of brownie and salted caramel swirls. Yum.

Other flavours include vanilla fudge brownie and chocolate cookie dough.

Customer review: "Tried this flavour of Ben and Jerry's for the first tone last year and I fell in love with it. Has such a creamy taste and texture and the flavours are amazing. One of my favourite flavours and definitely recommend."

Best for added vitamins

Smugglers Vanilla 460ml
Price: £3.50 (was £5)

Sometimes simplicity is everything and that's why we love a vanilla ice cream, yogurt, custard! Here Smugglers have created not only a low-calorie option but one with hidden veg for more vitamins per scoop - vitamins A and B12 for an immune system boost. Per 100g it has 160 kcal, 9.1g fat (6.4g saturates) and 15.1g sugar.

Customer review: "We have been buying the Chocolate flavour for a few months but we just found the vanilla, and it’s so good! Kids to add some chocolate sauce on top but they’ve got no idea about the veggies. Love this brand."


Having made ice cream as their family craft for two generation, Jude's have introduced this lower calorie scoop to be creamy and delicious. With 30 per cent less calories compared to similar ice cream products, it has 94 kcal per 100ml, 3.3g fat and 11g sugar. Alongside this salted caramel ice cream with swirls and pieces, they also have a scrummy chocolate brownie flavour too.

Customer review: "I’ve been eating this ice cream for over a year and I love it. I brought the full fat version of this by accident and I genuinely did find this version so much tastier. I have tried several other brands low cal Salted Ice Cream too and none of them are a patch on Jude’s in my eyes. I don’t get an aftertaste, it’s smooth, it’s flavoursome and it’s very low in calories. I like it even better when it’s on offer."

Best value

For less than £4, you get 900ml of delicious light vanilla ice cream - more for your money as most low calorie ice creams come in 500ml tubs. Hand-picked and sustainably sourced bourbon vanilla beans from the Sava region of Madagascar give this ice cream its rich, classic flavour. And with 30 per cent less fat, it's 70kcal per 100ml with 4.3g fat and 17g sugar.

Customer review: "I love Carte d’or and being diabetic having the lighter version is amazing. So delicious, I brought by mistake the first time and didn’t realise it was lighter. So it’s fantastic."

With 150kcal per serving, Haagen Dazs has attempted to replicate their luxury and creamy ice cream as a lighter alternative - and succeeded. This particular gelato has rich golden swirls of caramel and enough fresh cream to give it a lovely smooth texture. Per 76g serving you get 5.5g fat, 13.4g sugar, and you can also find a chocolate rizzle version too.

Customer review: "Lower calorie treat, Haagen Daz have made this just right it is not too sweet a caramel sauce running through this ice cream. I really enjoyed this flavour, still very creamy even though only 150 calories a portion. Tried as part of a promotion and will be buying again when I've finished this tub."

Best supermarket option

Many supermarkets have attempted to make their own low calorie ice cream, and they tend to be hit or miss. This birthday cake flavour from M&S has promising reviews, made with West Country cream and sugar sprinkles. Per 100g you get 1.1g fat, 18.1g sugar, and it's 280kcal for the whole tub! M&S do other flavours too but this one seems to be favourite.

Customer review: "This is my go to whenever I crave sweets, the sprinkles give it a lovely kick!"

Best vegan option

This is our favourite vegan ice cream as it tastes just like normal ice cream - and that's coming from a non-vegan! Perfect for those who are lactose or gluten intolerant, or following a dairy-free or vegan diet, it's lovely and smooth, using soy as the alternative, and is only 92kcal per 100ml. There's 3.1g fat, 12g sugar, and alongside this delicious vanilla ice cream, you can find heavenly chocolate and delightful raspberry.

Customer review: "What's not to love especially if you have an issue with cows milk! You don't have to be vegan to enjoy this super creamy delight. Looking forward to trying the strawberry and chocolate variety! Only down side is the tub should be bigger to enjoy more!!"

Best ice cream stick

Uses fat-free Greek yoghurt instead of your traditional cream, this ice cream clocks in at just 83kcal per stick. Made in Greece, this one combines the creamy texture of yoghurt with a luscious raspbery sauce but it's also available with flavours of salted caramel, blueberry, and passion fruit. Per 100g, you get 3.5g fat, 21g sugar, and gut-friendly cultures that come with greek yoghurt.

Customer review: "So creamy and delicious, the raspberry swirl gives it a lovely flavour & surprisingly only 83 calories. As it has gut friendly cultures, it's a pretty health treat too."

Best organic

Organic, dairy-free and approved by the Vegan Society and Organic Soil Association, this ice cream uses simple ingredients to achieve a moreish taste and texture. Made in Cornwall with coconut cream, unrefined coconut sugar and cacao, this ice cream is 184kcal per 100g, with 9.6g fat and 19.6g sugar.

Customer review: "Just delicious. Slight taste of coconut but lovely creamy chocolate ice cream. A bit pricey but a nice treat."


Is low calorie ice cream good for weight loss?

Low calorie ice cream can definitely be helpful in your weight loss plan - it's made to have fewer calories than traditional ice cream by using lower-fat ingredients, artificial sweeteners, or sugar substitutes.

Much like low calorie chocolate bars, the beauty of low calorie ice cream is that it allows you to indulge in a sweet treat with fewer calories. By reducing your overall calorie intake, you create a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss. By substituting high-calorie desserts with low calorie ice cream, it can help you to control your calorie intake, especially if dessert is something you're not prepared to give up!

However, it's important to note that simply consuming low calorie ice cream alone won't guarantee weight loss. While low calorie ice cream can be a part of a balanced diet, you should also consider its nutritional composition and ingredients. To achieve sustainable weight loss, it's recommended to focus on a well-rounded approach, including a balanced diet consisting of nutrient-dense foods, more physical activity, and mindful eating. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide personalised guidance tailored to your specific needs and goals.

For more healthy dessert options, take some inspiration from these tasty recipes.

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How is low calorie ice cream made?

Low calorie ice cream is made by using techniques and ingredients to reduce its overall calorie content compared to traditional ice cream. It typically starts with a base mixture of lower-fat milk or milk alternatives - which is why you might often find that dairy-free or vegan ice creams are typically lower in calories too.

Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are used instead of sugar, and emulsifiers and stabilisers may be added to improve texture and prevent ice crystals from forming. Flavourings like vanilla, chocolate, or fruit extracts - artificial or natural - are added for that delicious taste, along with additional ingredients such as fibre or protein isolates for added nutritional value before the mixture is churned into ice cream.

If you want to know exactly what's going into your low calorie ice cream of choice, check the nutrition label and ingredient lists.

Where to buy low fat ice cream?

As the low fat and low calorie ice cream market has grown, so have the options offered in supermarkets. Now for most retailers, you'll find a 'lighter' or 'low calorie' section of the frozen dessert supermarket aisle. These can be found online too with a selection of ice creams and ice lollies:

Tesco: Under 150 calories per 100ml serving
Tesco: Under 100 calories
Ocado: Lighter options
Waitrose: Healthier options
ASDA: Lighter ice cream

Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Yours, specialising in home décor, furnishings and appliances. Having worked commercially on Yours magazine and for the past six years, she's previously hosted Yours Live events and loves looking for home inspiration online.


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