Most of the United States is buried in snow and freezing cold, so I’m sure the name “Arctic Zero” makes you shudder a bit. But in my world, it is never too cold to enjoy a bit of a healthy dessert, so today I’m excited to review this low-calorie, gluten-free, lactose-free (but not dairy-free due to whey protein), non-GMO dessert with no artificial sweeteners. If it sounds too good to be true, it might be … this is far from the most decadent and rich ice cream you’ve ever had in your life. But let me back up and give you a full review. Several months ago, SkinnyRunner (whose blog shut down at the end of 2013) posted about the Arctic Zero she had just received. I commented there that I had tried Arctic Zero once and it was very icy. I said I wanted to like it since it was a great alternative to a more indulgent dessert, but I just didn’t enjoy it, so I didn’t purchase it again. Well, a month later, I was contacted by Arctic Zero to see if they could “make it right” – they suspected I had purchased a product that the retailer let melt and re-freeze, which apparently messes up the texture pretty significantly. I agreed to try the product (which was sent to me free of charge, but with no obligations to promote or review the product. Of course, all opinions are 100% my own).
When my shipment arrived on December 5th, I was out of town for work, so Kevin brought it inside. I asked him to snap a few photos so I could see what they had sent. A few minutes later, I received 31 photos!!! He took his blogging assignment very seriously :).
Arctic Zero was generous enough to send 7 pints of their dessert, in each of the flavors (Vanilla Maple, Mint Chocolate, Strawberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, and Coffee). They also sent 2 boxes of their 85-calorie chocolate dipped bars (which come in Vanilla, Chocolate, Orange, and Strawberry). I was really excited to dig in, and tried the Cookies and Cream first. If you are expecting rich, “normal” cookies and cream ice cream when you try this, you’ll ve underwhelmed. However, if you are looking for a sweet, cold, creamy dessert that will satisfy your cravings and keep you on track nutritionally, this is a fantastic option. After a few scoops of cookies and cream, I moved on to other flavors on the following nights. I won’t take you through every single one, but it turns out that cookies and cream was one of my least favorites. (In the list above, they are ordered according to my preference, from favorite to least favorite). A few notes on taste:
- The Vanilla Maple is far and away the best, in my opinion. It is fantastic with berries, great on top of a protein mug cake (like this one of mine)
- Almost all flavors are best (in my opinion) with some mix-ins. I loved berries, chocolate chips, almond butter, pumpkin protein cookies that I made but didn’t blog, or some low-sugar cereal (always my favorite ice cream mix-in!). Mint chocolate and coffee are the only ones that are better on their own.
- The coffee is by far the strongest flavor. I love my morning coffee, but I have never liked coffee ice cream or coffee-flavored products. So, this one was my least favorite. However, if you like coffee ice cream, I imagine this would be a winner!
- Arctic Zero recommends leaving the pints out for 5-10 minutes before eating, and if you have the patience, this is definitely the way to go. It makes every flavor taste much creamier!
Overall, like I said, this is not a perfect substitute for the “real deal.” However, if you’re looking for a healthy, low-calorie alternative and can think of this as a sweet frozen dessert rather than an ice cream substitute, I would recommend trying Arctic Zero. I had a lot of fun enjoying it and experimenting with the new flavors, guilt-free! Plus, it has a fairly natural ingredients list (as processed foods go), contains some good-for-you fiber and non-GMO whey protein … and an entire pint is only 150 calories! I never actually ate an entire pint since I was heavy-handed with my mix-ins, but if you’re going to eat a whole pint of anything, this is a good option!
One last word about the chocolate covered bars. For some reason, I didn’t try these until the very end, and they were amazing!!! Maybe it’s the chocolate coating on the outside, but these actually do taste like “real” ice cream bars to me. I will definitely buy these again! Arctic Zero is now available in all 50 states of the US … check here to see if it’s offered near you.
Now for a giveaway! 2 readers (US only – sorry!) will each receive 2 coupons to try a free pint of Arctic Zero. Just enter the Rafflecopter below (I made it a pretty simple one since the size of the prize is pretty small, but you can always follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter just for kicks – no extra entries.) If you don’t see the Rafflecopter with the green buttons to enter, just click on the link below) Giveaway will close this Sunday 2/2/14 at 11:59pm CT and I’ll announce the winners on Monday’s post.
So tell me in the comments … Have you ever tried Arctic Zero? What did you think? Are you a “go real or go home” dessert person, or do you sometimes enjoy healthy substitutes?