Easter is coming, so it seems the perfect time to have a chat about the much loved chocolate that so many women like you often feel guilty about enjoying. This is so common that women feel it needs to be banished from the diet to lose weight, or be healthy. Well let me tell you chocolate can be enjoyed throughout a weight loss journey and it can even benefit your health!
It is a fairly obvious fact that chocolate is a much loved treat, I mean you only need to take a look at the billion dollar industry it is just here is Aus!
Did you know the Australian chocolate market stood at $ 2.9 billion in 2017 and is projected to surpass $ 4.3 billion by 2023. How HUGE is that?!
In this blog I am sharing some chocolate facts + I will discuss some of my recommendations + I am sharing a delicious dark chocolate snack recipe, that even the kids will love😊
Ok, first up lets talk facts starting with my fave - dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is made from the seed of the cocoa tree, and is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. The planet! Yes! So all you dark chocolate lovers you are on to a good thing. Here is a little more info.
Dark chocolate (70%+) is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, here are some facts:
Dark chocolate’s cocoa polyphenols may be involved in cholesterol control so evidence suggests dark chocolate could be especially protective against heart disease.
Studies suggest there is some evidence that dark chocolate may improve blood flow and help to lower blood pressure
Dark chocolate could be supportive of brain health – yep you read that right. Research has shown that “acute as well as chronic ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa is associated with increased blood flow to cerebral gray matter and it has been suggested that cocoa flavanols might be beneficial in conditions with reduced cerebral blood flow, including dementia and stroke.” Brain smart!
But What About The Sugar?
Dark chocolate does typically contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain. There is really so much more to the amazing benefits of dark chocolate, it's an amazing food that when consumed in small doses regularly can have incredible health benefits even throughout a weight loss journey and especially when looking at enhancing your health, include this baby.
But What About Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate?
These two chocolates don't seem to have quite the same outstanding nutritional profile or health benefits as dark chocolate, but let's take a closer look. Milk chocolate does have some cocoa, but it also does have higher amounts of sugar, so being mindful of your amount when looking at consumption from a health / nutritional profile perspective is probably wise here.
If weight loss is your goal, it is important to be mindful of amounts and perhaps looking at swapping out some milk chocolate for dark, this is called the SWAP strategy. You could try half / half and progress from there. Typically for health reasons, milk chocolate is best enjoyed in moderation and my recommendation would be to reduce the milk and increase the dark when looking at health and weight loss.
Contrary to dark and milk chocolate, white chocolate has no cocoa. With milk being a main ingredient, it has some calcium -however overall lacks nutritional benefit. If you are neither here nor there about white, you could avoid it mostly, or if you love white chocolate, again enjoy in moderation 😊
What Do I Recommend?
Firstly and most importantly I recommend reducing any guilt associated with eating foods you enjoy. Listening to YOUR body is one of my most important recommendations I have for you. You are the expert of you, and when you are relaxed you will metabolize better, so that means if you are enjoying some chocolate, dark, white or milk - chill out and really enjoy it.
To help you enjoy it my next recommendation is to eat it mindfully - take your time- this will support you eating just the right amount for you in the moment, and will further support your relaxation state.
Be kind to yourself, there is not a hard and fast rule, or black and white right or wrong, but if you want to take a look at some nutritional recommendations here are some things to consider...
The dose makes the poison – so how much you have and how often will make a difference to your body and your health.
From a nutritional stand point chocolate is classed as a discretionary item, to be enjoyed in moderation and mostly reduced from your diet. A serve is 25 grams, that amount is approximately 2 squares, or half a small bar. So with a balanced and healthy diet, a small amount of chocolate is usually completely fine :)
For health & weight loss benefits - I recommend eating small amounts of minimally processed dark chocolate with at least a 70 percent cocoa content or higher. This is the healthiest type of chocolate – closest to its wholefood form and contains the most powerful antioxidants and with the least amount of sugar, providing the most benefits of dark chocolate you can get – winner!
Ultimately the more in tune you are with you - the more you will enjoy your food and feel confident in your choices.
The Secret? Reduce that guilt sister, its a major step to better health💃
When we have a healthy and positive food relationship, our bodies will caloric burn better and metabolize better because it is stress free! This isn't always easy, and it is certainly not always straight forward for every women, if you want to chat about your food relationship in some more detail please private message me here
Now it's recipe time - this recipe takes only 5 minutes and has only 2 ingredients!
It is a delicious and nutritious snack celebrating the amazing dark chocolate (although you can really use any type of chocolate you like ;)
And don’t even get me started on the amazing raspberry! Paired with dark chocolate they are a little nutritional powerhouse snack – enjoy 😊
Recipe - Dark Chocolate Stuffed Raspberries
What you Need
2 cups Raspberries (washed)
1/4 cup organic dark chocolate chips
What You Do
Place a chocolate chip into the middle of each raspberry. Divide & Enjoy!