Food, House & Garden

The “C” Word! Making Chocolate A Healthy Part Of Your Diet

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Before you go running to the hills and telling the world about how you eat chocolate every day, let’s get the basics out of the way first, shall we? Firstly chocolate, in any form, can be part of a balanced diet. We all have our favourites when it comes to chocolate. From the intense and rich dark chocolates with sea salt to the sugary 35% cocoa content you can get from the corner store. Being a chocoholic means that, especially from my perspective, that I love to consume chocolate in all its forms! I’m not picky, but there are people out there that are and will only eat the cheap stuff because they find the darker chocolates too bitter. Now, chocolate can and should be part of your daily diet because there are health benefits to them. So, let’s delve into it a bit further.   

Chocolate, being derived from cocoa, has numerous health benefits. A 100-gram bar of chocolate that contains 70% to 85% of cocoa has approximately 11 grams of fibre, as well as high quantities of iron, magnesium, and copper, all essential minerals. Now, a 100-gram bar is a lot to consume in one day, so be sure to stick to a sensible amount! There are also small amounts of caffeine, but not enough to keep you stimulated like coffee does. So for a hit of energy when you feel sluggish, it is a good thing to go for. As well as this, they have a good amount of healthy fats. They contain a portion of saturated and monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to actually be healthy for you now, although the jury is still out on that for many people, so I’ll leave it up to you to make that decision for yourself.

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Now, how can we get the good kind of chocolate into our diet without it upsetting the balance and opting for the heavily processed junk that is full of unpronounceable ingredients and chock full of hydrogenated vegetable oil? Well, the options are to go for the old-fashioned methods and bake yourself some tasty treats. There is an easy chocolate mousse that you can make that only need a handful of ingredients but are all natural and minimally processed. And that is the key to making chocolate good for you. It is so easy to go to the store and buy a bar to satisfy your cravings, but it’s the unhealthy way to get your fix. If time is a luxury that you don’t have, don’t fear! There are some simple recipes you can make, and they hardly require any effort! For those that are into the idea of healthy fats, the “fat bomb” has become an easy way to have your chocolate fix but also avoids the pit of despair when it comes to masses of sugar. Because who likes that sugar crash? It’s really not fun. There are many fat bombs that require 2 or 3 ingredients and are so easy to make, it’s almost criminal! Here is one of my favorites:

Chocolate Fat Bombs

Preparation time: 10 minutes!

Calories: 119 cal.

Serves: 14 people.

Ingredients:

  •         25g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  •         125g coconut oil
  •         1 to 2 tablespoons of tahini paste
  •         1 tablespoon of a sweetener of your choice (I use agave syrup)
  •         25 grams of walnut halves (for decoration)

Instructions:

  1.    Warm the coconut oil until it melts.
  2.    Add the ingredients, apart from the walnuts, and allow them to cool ever so slightly, so the ingredients don’t sink to the bottom.
  3.    Pour the mix into ice cube trays or moulds and place in the refrigerator until they have partially set.
  4.    Put the walnut halves on top and place back in the refrigerator until completely set.

As you can see, there is minimal preparation involved, and this is true of all fat bombs. You may need to blend the ingredients together, but this is all the prep you will usually do. And the more you get the balance right to suit your taste you can balance the bitterness with some sweetness. The great thing about these fat bomb recipes is that, apart from the minimal ingredients AND preparation, they are really handy for losing weight. They are perfect for people on a ketogenic diet where they are watching the amount of carbs they are taking in. And the coconut oil is another healthy fat to add into the mix. There are literally hundreds of recipes online, so go and explore!

Chocolate doesn’t have to be a treat. When you blend it with the right ingredients in the right way, it can be an essential part of your everyday diet.

 

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