Sweet, rich, and lovely chocolate is so tempting. It’s become one of the easiest ways to blow your diet for sure. But not all chocolate is bad for you. So I wanted to share some good ideas for those of us, I mean you… who are complete chocoholics.
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Previous research has shown that pure chocolate products are high in antioxidants and are a good source of flavonoids. Antioxidants help the immune system by lowering the risk of infection. Flavonoids are antioxidants commonly found in the plant pigment that aid in strengthening the connective tissues of the blood vessels.
What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols — cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure. But that’s no license to go on a chocolate binge. You have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things. A 100-gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar, for example, has 531 calories according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple you’d only take in 52 calories.
Keep in mind, the darker the better. When eating dark chocolate for health benefits, it is recommended that you look for chocolate that is 78% or higher pure dark chocolate (or cocoa).
Another great way to satisfy your chocolate need, is to bake up a big batch of Vitalicious Muffins, and enjoy!
These fantastic treats are packed with so many health benefits, you’ll forget to feel guilty about the chocolate. Each serving is 80-100 calories, 4-10g fiber, 3-5g protein, 2.5g (or less) fat, and up to 15 important vitamins & minerals that your body needs, such as calcium, vitamin D, iron, folic acid & more. On top of all that, they are Trans-Fat Free, Low Sodium, and No Cholesterol.
I know, right about now you’re getting visions of rice cakes and cardboard, but I promise you these super fluffy, extra lovely muffins are just what you’re craving.
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Happy Trails To You
A personal favorite of mine is to sneak a little of the good stuff into my trail mix. I usually aim for a healthy balance of nuts, and then throw in a handful of your favorite chocolate candies, or plain chocolate chips.
Once your trail mix is made, you can divide it into small containers, or storage bags to help with portion control. I usually carry a couple to work to snack on throughout the week, and they hit the spot every time.
Plus, by doing this you are getting a healthy dose of good for you nuts packed in protein and fiber to help fill you up and keep you full until dinner time. Just be careful not to overdo it when it comes to the sweets, moderation is still the key here. If you want it a little sweeter still, try adding dried fruits in your mix as well.
I hope these tips help cure your cravings when you get the rumbling that only chocolate can cure. Until next time, Happy Snacking, everyone!
Please feel free to add your own tips or suggestions in the comments below.