I LOVE chocolate! Not many days go by without me consuming chocolate in some shape or form, and although I’m not big on Valentines Day, it’s as good an excuse as any to indulge! Before I ‘got healthy’ my chocolate hit would come in the form of a Dairy Milk or a bar of Galaxy. At my worst, I vividly remember going to the Woolworths (remember those?) over the road from my office and buying about three or four sweet treats to eat over the afternoon. When I was feeling tired I would grab a Boost bar. *Cringe* blimey knowing what I know now about staple energy levels that is a joke!
A big revelation was learning that you can still have chocolate while eating healthy, and even better, chocolate can be good for you!
Chocolate, in the form of cacao or without the added milk solids, soya, sugar and stabilisers added to the bastardised version of chocolate commonly available, is packed with antioxidants. It is also high in several vitamins and minerals and has even been shown to boost your mood. This article on the I Quit Sugar site lists some other impressive benefits.
Now my cupboards are filled with the healthy versions of chocolate, including:
- Raw cacao nibs – for sprinkling on top of smoothie bowls or porridge etc
- Raw cacao powder – for raw chocolate making
- Unsweetened plain cocoa powder – for adding to smoothies and porridge and for baking
- Raw cacao butter – for raw chocolate making
- Raw cacao paste – for raw chocolate making
- Very dark chocolate: 90% Lindt is my favourite.
- Raw chocolate bars – see below for my favourite brands!
The higher the percentage of cocoa in a chocolate bar the less sugar, hence why dark chocolate is always touted as healthier than milk chocolate. As I said I love 90% Lindt and a close second is 85% Green and Blacks. As for raw chocolate bars, I’m a huge fan of IQ, The Raw Chocolate Company and Om bars.
However, as gorgeous as these healthy versions of chocolate are, sometimes only the creamy trashy stuff will do. There’s no point trying to satisfy that craving with a healthy version if you’ll eat that and then still go after the less healthy stuff! That is fine, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it! When that is the case I love the smaller packs of those kind of chocolate rather than the huge bars, which lets face it, are very hard not to eat in one go. Just make sure any of the other smaller bars in the pack are out of sight, then enjoy that mini bar mindfully so you taste every single bite guilt free. What you might find as you eat more healthy food is that the cravings for the less healthy versions subside.
I use a form of chocolate in some of my most popular recipes including:
From top left down
- Chocolate Chunk Cake Bars
- Cashew Coconut Truffles
- Raw Nutella Snack Bars
- Raw Millionaires Shortbread
- Chocolate Hemp Pancakes
- Fudgy Avocado Brownies
- Raw Salted Caramel Cups
As well as enjoying recipes such as those, there’s loads of ways you can enjoy chocolate without the added rubbish. Here are a few ideas using some of those healthy versions of chocolate listed above:
- Make chocolatey porridge by mixing in a spoonful of cocoa powder
- Create a chocolate peanut butter smoothie by blending a frozen banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder and milk
- Mix cocoa powder into greek yoghurt for a chocolate pudding
- Blend cocoa powder with avocados and some honey to create healthy chocolate mousse
- Make your own raw chocolate!
Making your own raw chocolate is so easy, here is a recipe for 3 ingredient raw chocolate:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup of coconut sugar, or 2 tbsp of honey (raw for strictly raw)
Melt the coconut oil gently and mix in the cacao powder and sweetener. Pour into moulds and refrigerate until solid. It’s that easy :-)
Here is a recipe for my super food chocolate cups which I shared last year in my email update using that raw chocolate variation:
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw cacao / cocoa powder
- 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
- 1/4 cup of whatever nuts, seeds or dried fruit that takes your fancy. I used cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and goji berries
- Optional - sprinkle of sea salt
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or a double boiler.
- Add the cocoa powder and the coconut sugar or sweetener. Mix well to combine.
- Add your mixture of ad ins and stir well so that everything is coated in the melted chocolate. Divide between 4 cupcake cases then add a few bits of your add ins on top for decoration. Add a sprinkle of salt if desired.
- Chill in the fridge until solid and devour!
- 1/4 cup raw cacao paste
- 1/4 cup raw cacao butter
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp smooth almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- Optional - 1 tbsp of lucuma powder
- Melt the cacao butter, paste and coconut oil in a double boiler.
- Mix in the cacao powder, almond butter and coconut sugar until smooth
- Pour into moulds and refrigerate until solid
- If you find the cacao paste and butter hard to get hold of you could replace with coconut oil, but increase the cacao powder