7 Easy Ways to Scoop Up Ice Cream with Food Safety in Mind
I scream, you scream, even dietitians scream for ice cream! At least dietitians like myself can’t get enough. Seriously when I think about my favorite treat, I think ice cream. Specifically, peanut butter chocolate ice cream. And in honor of July being National Ice Cream Month I wanted to show you how I fit ice cream into my family’s balanced diet.
My family loves all types of dairy and regularly consumes milk, cheese and yogurt. Of course there are healthier dairy options than ice cream, but I believe everything can fit into a balanced, nutritious diet. I personally focus on the motto “everything in moderation” and want to instill this in my children. I don’t deprive them of any one food or food group, but rather I offer healthy foods most of the time and leave room for sweets like ice cream.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association about 10% of the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream. So we’re definitely not in the minority when it comes to ice cream being one of our favorite dairy sources.
We love buying ice cream at our local ice cream shops, however, we also like to make our own. My mom bought our family an ice cream maker last year so I brought it out recently and created a simple 4-ingredient vanilla ice cream recipe along with a toppings bar for a special summer treat. It was a huge hit with my kids, of course.
The best part was that my kids were allowed to choose whatever toppings they wanted. This included healthy options and indulgent toppings too! Giving children a choice not only allows them to feel the independence they often crave, but it is also more likely they will try the food that is offered, no matter what type of food.
To enjoy your ice cream to the fullest, it’s important to serve it up safely. Here are a few food safety tips that will allow you to stay healthy while enjoying this delicious dairy treat:
- When choosing ice cream at the store, make sure the carton is hard to the touch and without visible ice crystals.
- Stop by the frozen foods aisle last while grocery shopping to reduce the amount of time the ice cream is outside of the freezer.
- Bring an insulated bag or cooler to transport the ice cream, especially on hot summer days.
- When serving ice cream at home, scoop out all the servings needed then return the carton to the freezer immediately to prevent thawing and re-freezing as much as possible.
- Make sure your freezer is set between -5°F and 0°F.
- To prevent ice crystals from forming try covering ice cream with clear wrap then covering with the ice cream lid. Also avoid placing ice cream in your freezer doors. The best place is on a shelf at the back of the freezer.
- When making homemade ice cream use pasteurized eggs, a cooked egg base, egg substitutes or a recipe without eggs to prevent food borne illnesses like Salmonella.
Ice cream food safety can often be overlooked, but it is an important factor to keep in mind while enjoying this special dairy treat.