Best Healthy Chocolate Snacks | Munch Guilt-Free
Believe it or not, chocolate isn’t entirely unhealthy. Chocolate and coffee are both very similar in flavor and nutritional content. The problem only comes from all of the additives used to sweeten chocolate or change its taste.
If you’re craving chocolate, that’s not a bad thing. You don’t need to teach yourself to crave something else or seek an alternative. You can have a substantial amount of chocolate.
The Health Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa is rich in many nutrients. An ounce of dark chocolate comes in at 200 calories. It provides 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, 22% of your recommended daily iron, 30% of your copper, 20% of your magnesium, and 32% of your recommended daily manganese. Dark chocolate also naturally contains small amounts of phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and potassium.
Dark chocolate contains more naturally occurring antioxidants than blueberries or acai berries, which are often regarded as a superfruit. In fact, chocolate beats virtually all fruit in the antioxidant department. Many of these antioxidants are flavanols, and flavanols have been shown to promote healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Chocolate itself is incredibly far from unhealthy. It’s something your body will undoubtedly benefit from, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Milk chocolate and chocolate flavored desserts do not have the same health benefits that very low-sugar dark chocolate has, and that’s a crucial thing to remember.
Dark chocolate with an 85% cocoa content provides the most benefits for the least amount of sugar. If you need a little more sweetness, go for the 70% cocoa variety. Every other version of chocolate will have more milk and sugar than actual chocolate. The chocolate in milk chocolate acts more as a flavoring than an actual ingredient.
Don’t equate the two -- a candy bar is not the same as a bar of unsweetened baker’s chocolate.
1. Pure Dark Chocolate
There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. You don’t need to mix or prepare anything. If you just want chocolate, you can have chocolate. Choosing the right variety is the key to keeping plain chocolate as a snack or a dessert a healthier option.
An entire 75 gram bar of 90% cocoa dark chocolate contains about 8 grams of sugar and 500 calories. While it isn’t wise to eat a whole bar of chocolate in one sitting, it’s good to know that half a bar won’t sabotage your efforts to eat healthier.
The key to mastering guiltless chocolate is as simple as reading the nutrition label.
Understand how much a serving size is -- it’s almost never the whole bar. That’s why chocolate bars are divided into pre-portioned squares. Stick to the amount of squares the manufacturer calls a serving to be sure you’re not loading up on more sugar and calories than you might think.
2. Banana Chocolate Ice Cream
Slice up four ripe bananas and freeze them. Drop the frozen slices in the food processor and let them go for a few minutes, until they become creamy.
While they’re mixing together, drop in a few tablespoons of melted dark chocolate. If you’re feeling up to it, a couple tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter would make wonderful additions. Once the mixture is blended and creamy, put it in a covered bowl and freeze it for a few hours. You now have banana chocolate ice cream.
This simple recipe provides more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than traditional ice cream or dairy free ice cream. Since the base of the dessert comes from fruit instead of milk or plant milk, it’s also slightly more satisfying. The texture is substantial and perhaps even creamier than your average pint of ice cream.
3. Chocolate Covered Nuts
Chocolate covered nuts or dark chocolate dusted nuts are a great way to indulge in a chocolate craving while packing in some extra protein and minerals. Chocolatey nuts provide a satisfying crunch and taste delicious, making it easy to accidentally eat way too many of them. A serving of nuts is not as many as you may believe. If you opt to use chocolate covered nuts to satisfy your craving, look for pre-portioned single serving packets to prevent you from mindlessly munching down on this delicious treat.
4. Chocolate Yogurt Parfaits
Low fat yogurts or plant-based yogurt alternatives always come in plain, sugar-free varieties. If you’re like most people, you probably have a hard time conceptualizing why someone would want plain, bland yogurt. The truth is that this yogurt is more of a canvas. You can add spices to it and use it to make tzatziki sauces or curries. You can also use them to make dessert.
Fold a little bit of cocoa powder into your plain yogurt or yogurt alternative. Layer it with bananas or berries. Top it off with some toasted oats for a little crunch. Make your own parfait. These parfaits work as snacks, desserts, or breakfasts. The high protein content of the yogurt and the fiber from the fruit will keep you fuelled and feeling full for longer.
5. Chocolate Superfood Squares
When your chocolate craving pops up in the middle of the day, you may not have time to prepare yourself a proper snack to hold you over until lunch or dinner.
That’s what Mid-Day Squares are made for. Our superfood squares use ingredients like raw chocolate and nut butter to satisfy your craving for something sweet without pumping your diet full of empty calories.
6. Loaded Chocolate Oats
Pick up a box of those 100 calorie packets of plain oatmeal. By themselves, they’re boring. With your creativity, they’re delicious healthy snacks that can be fully customized to your liking. Cook up the plain oats with some almond milk. Sprinkle them with cinnamon and ginger. Toss on some dark chocolate chips. Blend in some fresh blueberries or strawberries to pack your oats with vitamins and flavor.
You can also keep your oatmeal basic by mixing in some plain cocoa powder. The end result is something akin to a high fiber, very filling chocolate porridge. It will certainly fill you up a lot more than chocolate pudding thanks to the heartiness of the oats. Oats help to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day, making them a great breakfast or a great dessert that will dull your temptation to snack throughout the night.
If you’re not a fan of oats, you can substitute low fat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, vitamins, and essential nutrients. Its creamier texture is a bit more satisfying than your standard plain oats.
7. Chocolate Dipped Fruit Slices
If you’re having a hard time getting the recommended servings of fruit into your diet, combine them with your preferred servings of chocolate. Melted dark chocolate can be used to coat strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, or even carrots if you’re a little too curious for your own good.
Because fruits are naturally sweet, you won’t miss the sugar content of milk chocolate. It will all blend together with every bite.
8. Guiltless Chocolate Truffles
The sticky texture of dates mixed with raw chocolate and almond butter makes a delicious chocolatey snack that boasts more nutritional benefits than your average chocolate truffle. Mix and mash up two dozen medjool dates, and toss in half a cup of nut butter and a few tablespoons of raw chocolate powder. Blend them together thoroughly. Then, roll them into little balls. You can coat the outside in crushed nuts for a little extra crunch.
The end result is a protein rich dessert with a little bit of fiber. These alternative truffles are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. You can sub out nut butter for seed butter to make them nut-free if you’re catering to someone with a nut allergy.
Not a big fan of dates? Swap out coconut milk for a creamier truffle. Use 9 ounces of dark chocolate and 7 tablespoons of coconut milk. Finely chop the chocolate, warm the coconut milk, and stir the two together. Chill your mixture for a few hours, and then use a melon baller to portion small truffles. It’s as easy as it sounds.
There are tons of nutritious and guilt free ways to get a little more chocolate into your life. Some of them require a little work in the kitchen, but if you have the time and you love to cook from scratch, you’re probably excited to try a few recipes.
If you’re always on the go, Mid-Day Squares can provide you with an effortless chocolatey boost of protein with no effort on your part. Sweet and convenient? What the heck are you waiting for -- grab some for yourself now!