Are you picking whipped cream? This is a great topping for pies, mousse, and even Jell-O. You might be wondering whether you should pick heavy or light cream. It might seem that heavy cream is less healthy since it’s – well, heavy.
However, today high-fat diets are trending because of recent research about the health benefits of healthy fat. So, it’s important to know the nutritional value of heavy cream. For example, it’s important to know about macros including carbs, protein, and fats. This will help you to choose wisely. This is important to make sure you’re making healthy choices.
We often think of whipped cream as being an unhealthy ingredient. Fun Fact: Cool Whip is labeled/advertised as a non-dairy product although it looks and tastes like whipped cream. The fact is that whipped cream is just a different type of dairy product like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
The main difference is it has a thicker texture like sour cream. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look to determine whether or not it’s healthy or not. That can help to determine if you should go with heavy cream, light cream, or no cream. It’s all about what the food is and the nutritional value.
What Exactly Is Heavy Cream?
You can find heavy cream in several dishes in different countries. That includes Indian masala dishes, Italian fettuccine alfredo, and US mashed potatoes. It’s also a low-carb food so you can enjoy it in basic dishes like berries and heavy cream. The big question is: what’s this dairy product all about and what gives it the terrific taste?
One of the main benefits of this type of cream is it helps to make dishes rich and creamy. You can usually buy a quart or pint for less than $5. Fans of the dairy product would say it’s worth the price because of the priceless taste it provides.
Heavy cream has up to 40% milkfat. This is what gives the food its smooth consistency. It’s the main ingredient in foods like whipped cream and sometimes even ice cream. You can also add it to sweet/savory dishes to add more flavor and texture.
There are a few other main types of creams on the market. There’s a light cream, which as its name suggests is lighter in fat. Another option is half-and-half, which is half cream and half milk. As the name suggests, heavy cream is—well, heavier! It provides a thicker texture versus light cream.
This can provide a big benefit when cooking. That’s because when you heat the cream it won’t curdle. There’s some cross-over between heavy whipping cream since its fat content is 5% lower. However, you can use swap in one for the other and get the same basic result.
Heavy cream is produced by skimming/separating the watery fat layer off whole milk. It’s like the experience of opening a cup of yogurt and seeing the water at the top. You also might get some additives if you buy a store-bought heavy cream, which includes stuff like thickeners and stabilizers.
Nutritional Value of Heavy Cream
Here are the nutrition facts of ½ cup of heavy cream:
It’s quite high at 400 calories, which is 20% of what you can consume on a 2000-calorie diet. That said, keep in mind you might consume less than that amount if you’re using it for a one-serving dessert/snack. Another factor is these are nutritious calories instead of empty ones like soft drinks or candy bars.
If you’re on Keto or Atkins then this is always a big issue to consider. How does heavy cream stack up? There’s just 3g of carbs in this serving. It’s quite low compared to other foods. Fun Fact: One cup of wheat flour has about 95g of carbs. These are also good carbs, which is another factor to keep in mind.
It might be surprising but you actually get at much protein as carbs in this cream. There’s also 3g of protein. Dairy products are complete proteins, which means they have all the amino acids we have to get from food and supplements. This is a plus over incomplete proteins that must be paired with other proteins to make a complete one.
You get 43g of fat from the dairy product. This is quite high but makes it a good option for low-carb diets. That’s because you’re getting healthy fat instead of trans-fat from deep-fried foods or junk food, for example. It’s important to get enough healthy fat during the day for benefits like good heart health and healthy skin.
You get a good amount of several from this food. They include up to 10% of:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
You can also get about one-third of Vitamin A’s daily value. This vitamin is important for different functions like eye health. Other foods high in Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.
Ideas for Using Leftover Heavy Cream
1. Beef Kebabs w/ Horseradish Cream
If you’re a fan of beef and kebabs then this is a great option. You also get the perfect combo of heavy cream and spicy horseradish. This meal provides an excellent blend of meat, dairy, and veggies. Just add a non-starchy vegetable to make a complete Keto-friendly meal.
2. Chicken w/ Red Wine Vinegar
The cream pairs well with the vinegar so you get a balanced mix of sweet and sour. The chicken is also a good source of protein, amino acids, and Vitamin B12. Red wine is loaded with antioxidants and is actually allowed on diets like the Mediterranean Diet due to all the benefits like heart health.
3. Chicken Tikka Masala
This is a popular Indian dish that includes the good protein in chicken and creamy texture of the heavy cream. Fun Fact: Nearly one-third of Indians are vegetarians. However, there are also many meat dishes available like this one, which includes healthier white meat versus red meat.
4. Baked Pasta w/ Chicken Sausage
This recipe is healthy for various reasons. It’s baked rather than fried, which means less cooking oil. You also get chicken sausage versus pork sausage due to the white meat. Whole-grain pasta can also be a good source of nutrients.
5. Apricot/Almond Baked Oatmeal
Yes, that’s right—baked oatmeal. This recipe also adds other superfoods in almonds and apricots. When you add the dairy product, you get an outstanding blend of protein, fiber, and vitamins/minerals like calcium. Oatmeal is a whole grain and contrary to popular belief is gluten-free.
6. Clams and Sausage
This is an interesting “surf and turf” version. Clams are high in omega-3 fatty acids and pork is high in protein and iron. The cream can add a full texture and provide some creamy goodness from combining the meat and seafood through the nutritional value of heavy cream.