Healthy ice cream that's sold at the gym? Yes, whey.
Killer Whey makes its protein ice cream at a creamery in Meridian but the company’s administrative offices are at the back of a gym on Overland Road in Boise.
Fit Donut, a protein doughnut shop, opened in January next door to Crunch Fitness on Fairview in Meridian.
The entrepreneurs behind these businesses know their customers — and they want to be near them: bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, healthy eaters, folks on low-carb diets and/or those living with diabetes or other conditions with unique dietary needs.
Ice cream and doughnuts ... healthy?
Yes, healthier than the sugary and/or fat-laden traditional versions of these treats. They’re also fresh, local alternatives to, say, protein bars that may have preservatives and additives.
“I call it a clean cheat — indulgent but not a detriment to the body,” said Emily Knigge, the former nurse and personal trainer who opened Fit Donut. She began baking the doughnuts for her clients, many of whom were trying to get back in shape after having children. It took on a life of its own.
Her spacious doughnut shop at 1330 E. Fairview Ave. in Meridian offers coffee and tables for those who want to eat in. For $5, they also deliver within a 15-mile radius.
Killer Whey is sold at a number of grocery stores around the Treasure Valley, including the Boise Co-op, the Downtown WinCo and Albertsons on State Street.
Starting Friday, the low-carb, high-protein ice cream — which has a whopping 44 grams of protein per pint — can now be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the United States.
Shipping is a flat-rate fee of $15 no matter how many pints are ordered, though a minimum of four is required (shipping is free as part of a first week promotion). The ice cream is packed in an insulated box with enough dry ice to guarantee it arrives frozen; all orders are shipped two-day ground.
It’s available in four flavors: chocolate, peanut butter-chocolate, mint chip and vanilla. Killer Whey is also now offering a new line of keto ice creams, available in those same flavors. Keto ice cream is targeted at people doing the ketogenic diet, which is high fat, moderate protein and very low carb.
“Fat is back in, if you haven’t heard that,” said 33-year-old Louis Armstrong, the University of Idaho food science graduate who established Killer Whey in 2016. “Butter is good for you. Eating bacon is great. For the most part, it seems like people are anti-carb and sugar. We’re doing our best to avoid adding sugar and staying low carb.”
Peanut butter-chocolate is Killer Whey’s newest flavor. Before that was added, the most popular with consumers was the mint chip.
Armstrong worked at a creamery and five years at Lighthouse Foods before deciding to start his own business. He entered the ice cream market a time of significant change — in the summer of 2017, Halo Top Creamery became the best-stelling pint of ice cream in U.S. grocery stores, knocking off Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Halo touts its ice cream as low-calorie (compared to other popular ice creams) and “a good source of protein.” But Halo’s products have half of the protein of Killer Whey. Whey is a protein that comes from milk.
Fit Donut is one of two protein doughnut bakers to open in Meridian in the past couple years. The Muscle Donut began selling protein doughnuts and mixes online in 2016, according to Jackie McGlen, who co-owns the business with husband, Bill.
“I love doughnuts. They are my downfall,” said Jackie McGlen, who participated in bodybuilding competitions for several years. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we make a healthy doughnut that we can eat?”
The Muscle Donut has an online-only store. They make doughnuts in a commercial kitchen and offer pickup at Locust Grove and Fairview. They sell kits, with mixes and baking pans, for those who want to make them at home.
“Our doughnuts are low-carb, low-fat and low-sodium,” McGlen said. “We are definitely in a low-carb trend right now. People are looking for healthier alternatives and options. Most of our customers are eating low-carb.”
“Each of our doughnuts have 10 grams of protein. That’s a lot for one doughnut,” McGlen said.
Fit Donuts offers chocolate and vanilla doughnuts with more than a dozen flavors of frostings/toppings, and they are all sugar-free (sweetened with Stevia). They have 8 to 9 grams of carbs and are each roughly 100 calories — about half of a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut, which has about 21 grams of carbs.
Knigge said they have moderate amounts of protein, about 5 to 6 grams per doughnut (glazed doughnuts have just 1 or 2 grams of protein). She said she doesn’t add more protein than that because she wants to keep the calorie count down.
What’s the most popular?
“The coconut cluster,” Knigge said, noting that sprinkles are a close second.