I confess I am a chocoholic. There are very few days when I don’t eat some form of chocolate – or probably rather something containing cacao.
You might think that enjoying chocolate every day is something to feel guilty about and fear that chocolate is something you will have to give up when you work with a Nutritional Therapist.
Chocolate is actually a nutritional powerhouse and in this blog post, you’ll discover how you CAN eat chocolate every day (if you want to!) and maintain a healthy weight.
And no, you do not have to compensate eating chocolate with tons of exercise and hours on the treadmill!
What’s the catch?
There is no catch and I’m not trying to sell you a magic pill either.
Filling up your plate with goodness around your chocolate-y moments is the key!
1.Keep your plate as colourful as possible.
Eat the rainbow! One of the simplest ways is to look out to have at least 3 different colours on your plate with each meal. With a variety of vegetables, you are not only getting plenty of nutrients, but you are also getting fibre to keep you fuller for longer (and stop the cravings) and you are feeding your gut bacteria – who will keep your gut healthy, look after your energy and also keep you happy.
2. Add good sources of protein and healthy fats to each meal – and even your chocolate-y snacks.
This will help keep you fuller for longer, reduce cravings and add nutrients.
3. Cook from scratch!
You can prepare your chocolate treats yourself and you know the ingredients! Many shop-bought products contain additives that are addictive, making it hard to stop overeating.
4. Reduce overall sugar consumption.
The less sugar you eat, the less you crave it and then you won’t miss it! The more sugar you eat, the more you need to eat to get the “sugar-fix” and to activate your “happy hormone” Dopamine. If you know you are going to have a chocolate treat or dessert, avoid having sugar from other sources where possible.
5. Become Food Label savvy:
Check the labels for Carbohydrates, of which are sugar, and if it’s more than 20g/100g – leave it. The sugar content varies hugely – even with the same cocoa content in dark chocolate. So you can get 2 70% Dark Choc, and one contains over 40g/100g and the other only around 10g/100g!
6. Eat mindfully!
Make eating chocolate an occasion. Choose how much you want to eat, put it on a plate or bowl. Let the chocolate melt in your mouth, well before you swallow it. The brain receives the “pleasure” signals much sooner that way.
7. Choose dark chocolate containing nuts.
Or have your dark chocolate with a few Brazil nuts. You can also create your own chocolate-covered Brazil nuts, by dipping the nuts in melted chocolate.
8. Try some unusual chocolate snack recipes!
There are plenty of delicious recipes available that contain a bit of chocolate (which will help your choc cravings) but are also very nutritious and filling. Some of my favourites are: Cookie Dough Blondies, Chocolate-Hazelnut-Cheesecake, Sweet potato brownies, Keto Brownies, Chocolate Seed Soldiers (with dried fruit and seeds and a chocolate/coconut topping). See recipes on this page
9. Quality of chocolate.
As with anything you eat, it is always important to look at the quality. Support a small local chocolatier, you might pay a little more, but you will also make sure to enjoy it a little more.
10. Be creative!
You can add a few raw cocoa nibs to your breakfast granola, you can enjoy a hot chocolate with raw cocoa powder and coconut milk, you can add some raw cocoa powder to your green smoothie, you can add raw cocoa powder to your healthy ice cream (see recipe below!). If you have any further tips, I’d love to hear them.
As you can see, it is all about balance and making better choices. So, don’t worry, I’m certainly not going to tell you to give up chocolate for life!
On the contrary, I will be here to Listen to you, to give Advice, to Support you and if need be I can help with functional Testing, to help you create results that will LAST.