Hi! I'm Arielle, and between May 2015 and now, I've lost 90-plus pounds. I have embraced the ~healthy~ lifestyle, but I still have one major problem.
I have a serious sweet tooth, and while I mostly get my fix from fruit and other alternatives (like a Quest bar baked into cookies as seen below), I am always on the hunt for desserts I can fit into my diet.
As I often research things to eat, I have heard only good things about Halo Top again and again. They are hard AF to find, but I used my reporting prowess (I emailed their PR lol) to get my hands on some of these babies. I tried it and OMG. LIFE-CHANGING.
But because I have been on this health train for a while now, my taste buds have changed and food that tastes good to me doesn't necessarily taste great to other people.
Which is why I decided to make some fellow BuzzFeeders (Keely and Brett) test out these low-cal ice creams and compare them to real ice cream: aka Häagen-Dazs.
Both Keely and Brett live healthy-ish lifestyles and are in search of a good ice cream substitute that won't make them feel as guilty.
First up is Halo Top:
Strawberry: "Oh wow, that's really good! That's like, really good! Definitely better than Tasti D-Lite and Skinny Cow."
Mint Chip: "Holy shit, this is really good. It kind of has sissy chocolate chips."
Vanilla Bean: "This looks fancy as fuck. This is the best one."
Vanilla Bean: "Omg that's really good. It's really rich; I wasn't expecting that. Six grams of protein? That's a buried lede."
Strawberry: "That's really, really good. It's very creamy."
Mint Chip: "This is, like, right out of a hotel mint-under-your-pillow thing. It reminds me of the mints they give out at Olive Garden."
Next up is Arctic Zero:
Vanilla Maple: "It's not bad, but it's not as satisfying. It tastes and feels like the consistency has no dairy in it. You can definitely tell this does not have milk in it."
Simply Strawberry: "This is like a popsicle, it's not like ice cream. The strawberry is better because this consistency is better with a fruit flavor. It's OK, it doesn't taste like much."
Hint of Mint: "This is very disappointing. I'm not even going to finish it."
Vanilla Maple: "This one has a more intense smell, like it's hitting me in the face. The consistency is really weird. It feels like a slimy gelatin thing going on. It doesn't have that melt-in-your-mouth factor."
Simply Strawberry: "It feels very watered down. It definitely tastes fake."
Hint of Mint: "That's like, muddy. It doesn't even taste like chocolate."
And last is Häagen-Dazs:
Strawberry: "So obviously, this is the most satisfying, but it's also the highest in calories, the highest in fat, and it's the worst for you. This is the most satisfying, but the Halo Top is similarly satisfying."
Vanilla: "This is so good. I don't know if there's another better than Vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream."
Chocolate: "This is really good. Compared to the Arctic Zero ... That is not chocolate ice cream."
Vanilla: "I mean, it's really good; it's like classic. But a part of me likes the Halo more, actually. I think because it's fluffier, and I really like the melt-in-your-mouth thing with Halo more."
Strawberry: "I definitely like the strawberry Halo more. I'm also not a big fan of having the chunks in ice cream [like in this one]."
Chocolate: "I mean, this is definitely the best. It's nice and classic; reminds me of my childhood."
How would you rate Halo Top on a scale of 1–10?
Keely: "Halo Top is amazing. It's a hard 9. I can't give it a 10 because it, of course, can never taste 100% like real ice cream. But woah, it's really close. And I could, in theory, eat the entire pint and not feel terrible about myself because it's only 200-something calories!!"
Brett: "A solid 9, tbh."
How would you rate Arctic Zero on a scale of 1–10?
Keely: "I'm going to be give Arctic Zero a...3, which is painful. It just doesn't taste like ice cream. It tastes like lightly flavored frozen water. The texture is off, the flavor is off, it's very meh. I couldn't even finish the chocolate. Sorry, Arctic Zero."
Would you eat either of these brands as an ice cream substitute in the future?
Keely: "Halo Top is definitely comparable, I would eat it as a substitute. There are going to be times when I just need a scoop of real, full-fat ice cream, but for all the times in between when I'm trying to sustain a healthy lifestyle, I'm going to be on the lookout for some Halo Top. I'm shocked at how much it satisfied my sweet tooth."
Brett: "Arctic Zero is WAYYYY behind Häagen-Dazs — like, seriously behind, nowhere near the same league and it kinda tastes like plastic, but Halo Top is right up there with Häagen! It's definitely a different ~experience~ eating the two; Häagen-Dazs is a little more rich and 'classic' and Halo Top is fluffy and light. Dare I say I may even like Halo Top more than Häagen-Dazs? 😮"