The best high protein ice cream to add to your next shake

High protein ice cream is hard to come by. We've picked the top choices from supermarkets near you

A selection of the best high protein ice cream to add to shakes
(Image credit: Ocado/Halo Top)

High protein ice cream is the perfect way to get more of this super-satiating macronutrient into your shakes this summer. While finding high-protein-specific ice cream might be a struggle, we've nailed down the top choices to add for a post-workout boost.

As the weather warms up, we're going to be outside more than ever before. Whether it's long runs in the park or hitting the gym as the sun starts to rise, there's no doubt that working out in the summer is easier than facing the dark and cold in the winter. But with more exercise, you need more protein to aid muscle growth and repair.  

So staying in the summery spirit, and hopping onto one of the biggest wellness trends for 2022, here are our picks of the best high protein ice cream that have all the health benefits of protein powder and more.

What is high protein ice cream?

High protein ice cream is lower in calories and higher in protein per serving than traditional ice cream. The additional protein could be from one of the best protein powders incorporated into the mixture, or just because the ingredients are naturally higher in protein. 

However, there are very few brands that offer 'high protein'-labeled ice cream. Even though adding additional protein to everything from bread to confectionary has quickly become one of the biggest health trends, finding specific high protein ice cream is difficult for one specific reason. 

"For a food product to legally claim this, it must have at least 20% of the energy value coming from protein," explains Jess Hillard, nutritionist from leading sports nutrition brand, Warrior. "So for example, take a 115 kcal protein bar, at least 23 calories (kcal) of the energy must come from the protein source. There is 4 kcal in 1g of protein so for a 115kcal protein bar, for it to state ‘high protein’ on the product, 6g or 5.57g to be exact, must come from a protein source."

This is a relatively big chunk when you consider that the average 100g serving of vanilla ice cream contains 194kcal. For this ice cream to be specifically labeled 'high-protein', it would need to offer almost 10g of protein—rather than the 2g it actually contains, which is standard across most brands. 

All is not lost, however. While protein from ice cream probably won't be enough alone to reach your protein goal for the day, a dollop in the blender with your pick of the best protein shake makes for a tasty additional helping. Just make sure you don't exceed your recommended protein intake, Jess says. 

"Protein recommendations are based per kilogram of bodyweight. For adults, 0.75g per kilogram of bodyweight. Current recommendations are 56g per day for men and 45g per day for women. But this is based on average bodyweights of 75kg for men and 60kg for women, so it will naturally vary," she explains. 

The best high protein ice cream

How to make high protein ice cream

Making high-protein ice cream is easy, Jess explains. "You can make your own protein ice lollies with molds, icing clear protein powders with water. Or you can mix a protein powder with milk and freeze it for a creamier texture, more similar to ice cream."

This works particularly well if you're a fan of flavored protein powders or if you prefer alternative milks, such as oat or almond, as you're unlikely to find a high protein ice cream in stores made with non-dairy milk as it won't naturally offer enough of the macronutrient. 

"Adding protein powder to fruit smoothies is another great idea," Jess says. 

Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer.

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.