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Ice Cream on the Military Diet

Eating ice cream is one of the very best things about the Military Diet, unheard of with other diets. You can enjoy ice cream guilt free on the Military Diet. But just like every other food in the grocery store, some ice creams are better than others when it comes to calories, taste, and price point.

As for most things in life, ice cream is just fine in moderation and a one cup serving size qualifies as moderation. A whole pint does not! There’s nothing wrong with occasionally eating traditional full fat, full sugar ice cream. You want to steer away from fake ingredients and keep it as pure as possible with ice cream on the Military Diet. Organic is even better if your budget allows. Low fat options and artificial sweeteners aren’t actually your friend on the Military Diet. (Artificial sweeteners can contribute to weight gain).

The Military Diet budgets for 300 calories per cup of vanilla ice cream on the diet, but not all brands come in this low, so there is some wiggle room in there. Some people think vanilla is boring, but *gasp*, we consider vanilla anything but a boring ice cream flavor. There is a lot of complexity in the flavor of vanilla and some brands bring it to the next level.

All ice cream is good in our books!

We have aslo included some dairy free options at the end for the Vegan version of the Military Diet or for lactose intolerant people.

Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean
Calories per cup: 500

Haagen Dazs is basically the Mercedes Benz of the entire ice cream market: old school, luxurious and expensive. But worth every buck. They say the secret to the decadence of Haagen Dazs is less air and more butterfat. The calorie count certainly backs up the latter claim. They started making this super premium ice cream in the 60s and besides using 15% butterfat, the founders refused to use preservatives and stabilizers and concentrate on natural ingredients. And oh dear, this is our favorite ice cream brand of all time.

How we rate it:

Price: Expensive
Calories: A lot
Taste: Outrageously good

Halo Top Vanilla Bean
Calories per cup: 150

Halo Top has gained a lot of attention recently for its super low calorie and high protein ice cream. This brand takes the guilt out of eating a whole pint in once sitting. Considering it’s a healthier alternative to many other ice cream brands with its fairly simple ingredient list, it tastes pretty good. Halo has a fluffy texture and tastes a bit sweeter than other brands with a flowery almost coconut like taste.

How we rate it:

Price: Expensive
Calories: Low low low
Taste: Pretty darn good

Baskin Robbins Vanilla Ice Cream
Calories per cup: 420

Since 1945, there was nothing like stepping into a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor on a hot summer day as a kid. We remember it fondly, but how much of the experience was the flavor and how much was just simply the delicious nostalgic memory of a childhood treat? Baskin Robbins just doesn’t taste the same when you buy it from the freezer aisle in the grocery store, something gets lost in translation. And their vanilla flavor has a weird texture and a weird aftertaste. If there’s one flavor to get right, it’s vanilla!

How we rate it:

Price: Average
Calories: Average
Taste: Average

Edy’s Classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Calories per cup: 255

Edy’s/Dreyer’s has spent the last 50 years confusing everyone with two names, Dreyer’s brand for the west coast, and Edy’s brand for everywhere else. This confusion all started back in the day when the brand’s two founders, Joseph Edy and William Dreyer, became partners. The ice cream started with the name Edy’s, then became Dryer’s when Edy left the company. It now uses both names in different locations to pay tribute to both founders. Edy’s started in 1928, so they certainly have a lot of experience making ice cream. Their ice cream is good but we hear they do chocolate better than vanilla.

How we rate it:

Price: Average
Calories: Very respectable
Taste: Tasty enough

Breyer’s Natural Vanilla Ice Cream

Calories per cup: 260

Breyer’s vanilla ice cream is one of the best selling brands in North America, the people have spoken. Millions grew up eating Breyer’s ice cream so many of us have a lot of good memories where this brand is concerned. And it’s deserved. Their natural vanilla ice cream tastes the way vanilla should taste and is super creamy. Breyer’s Natural Vanilla is made with fresh cream, sugar, milk, and Rainforest Alliance Certified vanilla beans.

How we rate it:

Price: Affordable
Calories: Lowish
Taste: Like Vanilla ice cream should taste

Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla
Calories per cup: 495

Ben and Jerry’s does some amazing trippy and interesting flavors and their vanilla is pretty classic but kind of average. Some think it’s a bit meh and gritty and not as creamy as their fancier flavors. Others think Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla tastes like a good summer afternoon, that it has a homemade taste without being too sweet. To be honest, at the high calorie and price point, we would choose Haagen Dasz over Ben and Jerry’s every time.

Price: One of the most expensive brands
Calories: High
Taste: Average

Blue Bunny Vanilla
Calories per cup: 260

Blue Bunny’s regular vanilla is creamy but not too heavy, with a lot of vanilla flavor that tastes pretty decent considering vanilla isn’t even on their ingredient list! It seems about as real as Cool Whip. But for the low price, no one should have any qualms about buying a quart of Blue Bunny, but we wouldn’t choose it over Breyer’s, which has a more classic vanilla taste. Blue Bunny makes a decent ice cream for the price point but has a slightly artificial taste for our liking.

Price: Cheap
Calories: Quite low
Taste: A bit artificial

Member’s Mark Super-Premium Vanilla Ice Cream
Calories per cup: 465 calories

This premium ice cream is chewy with a slightly different vanilla flavor than others. Some say it’s because Member’s Mark uses special vanilla from Tanzania and real cane sugar. It’s a creamy yellow color with a smooth texture and no sign of ice crystals. The ice cream has a custardy and buttery texture, but doesn’t exactly taste like the vanilla most people are used to. If you’re looking for frozen custard instead of ice cream, Member’s Mark is a solid choice, but it is more egg flavored than normal.

Price: Expensive
Calories: On the high side
Taste: Not what you might expect

Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
Calories per cup: 315

Most people know Tillamook for its cheeses, especially their sharp cheddar. But Tillamook has a way with dairy and also makes outstanding ice cream. Their vanilla flavor is fluffy and creamy and just delicious with a rich natural vanilla flavor. Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream’s ingredients are pretty wholesome and natural and they use only the finest vanilla.

Price: On the pricey side
Calories: About average
Taste: Quite delicious

Talenti’s Organic Madagascan Vanilla Bean Gelato
Calories per cup: 390 calories

Gelato is ice cream’s lower fat cousin, usually made with milk instead of cream and gelato is denser than ice cream because it has less air. The result is a frozen dessert that’s still creamy but not quite as rich as traditional ice cream. It’s important to note that many gelato products — including Talenti’s — pack more sugar than traditional ice cream. Talenti’s vanilla is delicious enough to deserve a place on this ice cream list. As Talenti says: “We slow cooked fresh milk, sugar, and cream along with the finest vanilla beans imported from Madagascar to create a rich, one-of-a-kind vanilla taste that’s anything but plain.” We concur.

Price: Pricey
Calories: On the high side
Taste: Very good

365 By Whole Foods Market, Ice Cream Vanilla Bean Organic
Calories per cup: 280 

365 Everyday Value is a brand sold at Whole Foods and on Amazon. 365 ice cream is made with high quality organic ingredients and it’s a great ice cream for serious vanilla lovers, the kind of person who keeps multiple bottles of extract in their pantry. 365 Vanilla tastes of real vanilla and not vanilla flavouring.

Price: Above average
Calories: Low
Taste: Real strong vanilla flavor


The ice creams in this section are completely free of dairy and other animal products, making them ideal for anyone following a vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free diet.

Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island
Calories per cup: 420

Coconut Bliss is another one of our favorite brands: there is not a better tasting dairy-free ice cream on the market. If you’ve never tried dairy free ice cream before because you think nothing will compare to the real stuff, then you haven’t tried Coconut Bliss! Most of their ice cream flavors are so rich, creamy and satisfying that finding an excuse not to eat them will be the hard part. Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island describes itself as real vanilla with a tropical undertone. Yum! And this frozen desert is still very creamy and rich even though it doesn’t contain dairy.

Price: Pricey
Calories: Average to high
Taste: Yum!

So Delicious Dairy Free Vanilla Bean
Calories per cup: 300

So Delicious is well known for their dairy free coffee creamers and yogurt alternatives, but the brand is also really well known for its vegan frozen desserts. Although this ice cream is generally low in calories, the Vanilla Bean With Coconut Milk is high in saturated fat and has a lot of sugar per serving, but still remains a little lighter in calories, fat, and sugar than traditional ice cream and is a great option for the dairy free.

Price: Average
Calories: Average
Taste: Average

Daiya Classic Vanilla Cream
Calories per cup: 375

Daiya is an undisputed leader for vegan dairy free products. With a wide range of plant-based products (yes, plant-based ice cream and cheese), Daiya makes some pretty good dairy free ice cream with less fat, calories and sugar than traditional ice cream made with dairy. Daiya makes a good vegan ice cream, a rich, creamy blend that’s churned and chilled for a very cool treat.

Price: Expensive
Calories: Still less than many traditional dairy ice creams
Taste: Good!