NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Celebrating Dairy Month with Ice Cream

Celebrating Dairy Month with Ice Cream


            When it comes to dairy products, milk may be the first food to come to mind but ice cream is certainly a close second.  And with the hot days of summer upon us, ice cream is a cool, refreshing treat.

            While ice cream isn't typically eaten for its nutritional value, there are several health benefits associated with this frozen treat. Since ice cream is a dairy product like milk or yogurt, it contains some of the same vitamins and nutritional content

            Calcium – The calcium found in dairy products is beneficial for strong and healthy bones. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), 99 percent of the body's calcium can be found in the bones and teeth where it is used to help function and structure. When the body is not receiving a sufficient amount of calcium daily, it can take calcium from where it is stored. Regular calcium intake from ice cream and other dairy products can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease related to an increase in bone fractures.

            Protein – Dairy products are an important source of protein, a macronutrient that is important for parts of the body like bones, muscles, blood, skin and cartilage. Protein is also important for repairing and building tissue, while certain parts of the body, like hair and nails, are made entirely out of protein. Since protein isn't stored in the body, food and dietary supplements with significant amounts of protein are important. When eaten in moderation, ice cream can be one of the many food options to replenish the body's protein supply.

            Vitamins - Ice cream typically contains vitamins A, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12, micronutrients that are only needed in small quantities. Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, bone metabolism and immune function. Vitamin A is also very important for the retina, allowing proper eye function for low-light and color vision. Vitamins B2 and B12 are important for energy metabolism, breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the body. It is important to regularly replace these B vitamins since they are water-soluble and aren't stored in the body.

The nutritional labels on ice cream containers can help determine the amount of vitamins that particular type of ice cream contains in one serving.

            While most traditional ice creams may be loaded with calories and are packed with sugar and fat, there are several, healthier options available:

  • Low-fat, light or reduced fat ice cream: less fat and lower calorie content than traditional ice cream with some of the same health benefits.
  • Soft-serve ice cream: contains twice the amount of air as traditional ice cream giving it a lighter texture with less fat and lower calorie content, but often contains unwanted fillers and additives.
  • Sherbet: contains less milk than traditional ice cream along with egg whites or gelatin for thickness giving it less fat than regular ice cream, but higher sugar content than low-fat ice cream.
  • Non-dairy ice cream: typically soy-based containing the same protein and nutrients with less fat and lower calorie content than regular ice cream.


            Vanilla is America’s favorite ice cream flavor. This version without eggs has a more pronounced vanilla flavor.


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


¾ C. white sugar

1 C. heavy whipping cream

2 ¼ c. milk


            Stir sugar, cream, and milk into a saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Heat just until mix is hot and a small ring of foam appears around the edge.

            Transfer cream mixture to a pourable container such as a large measuring cup. Stir in vanilla extract and chill mix thoroughly, at least 2 hours or overnight. Pour cold ice cream mix into an ice cream maker, turn on the machine, and churn according to manufacturer's directions, 20 to 25 minutes.

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