Chocolate Swaps For A Healthier You

Let’s be real. Chocolate is the best thing ever invented. Chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, hot chocolate, chocolate covered in chocolate (you see where this is going), it’s all bloody marvelous. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Hell, yeah!’ but you’re also slightly concerned about what all that sugar is doing to your waistline (not to mention your skin, teeth, liver, etc) then this feature is right up your street.

As much as we love to consume that magical sweet treat, the refined sugar in chocolate has no nutritional value whatsoever and, without getting too technical on you, it’s not doing your body any good.

But, stay with me now, there is an up side. Hooray! Cacao, which is the bean that chocolate actually originates from (that’s right, chocolate comes from A BEAN), is totally good for us. #winning.

Raw chocolate is packed with essential minerals magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper and potassium. It has antioxidant properties, essential vitamins, good fats and even protein. Yep, you could basically live off it. With all this in mind, it would be completely crazy for me to advise you to stop eating it, so instead I have come up with a few smart swap ideas that will help you to get the full benefit of chocolate without the added nasties.

Now let’s be sensible, people. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean you can go and consume 25 bars of Doisy and Dam chocolate and be in the best shape of your life (sorry, I’m not a miracle worker) but it’s the small swaps that could make a big difference. You can thank me later. 

Stick to dark chocolate…  

It might be stating the obvious for some of you but dark chocolate is a better option than milk or white chocolate. It is higher in cocoa powder and therefore higher in those minerals and vitamins. It contains less sugar and the richness of dark chocolate means you probably won’t need to eat as much of it to satisfy your craving, therefore less calories consumed – always a bonus. The higher the percentage, the better. 

Try raw cocoa/date bars…

There are quite a few brands that offer a similar product, but Nakd and The Primal Pantry are two readily available names that produce tasty cocoa and nut bars. They are still fairly high in sugar and calories due to the dried fruit and nut content so don’t go too crazy on them but they are still a much healthier alternative to that family-sized bar of Dairy Milk.

It’s also so easy to make your own raw cacao bites – just mix almonds, dates, cashew butter, raw cacao powder and coconut oil, squish them into balls and whack them in the fridge. Cheers, Deliciously Ella.

Add raw cacao powder to foods…

Stir into natural Greek yogurt, add to a smoothie, put it in your pancake mix or add to your porridge – all great ways to get that sweet fix.

Turn to Rebel Kitchen and Coyo…

Rebel Kitchen do a great dairy free chocolate ‘Mylk’ which is literally made from organic (obvs) coconut milk, spring water, organic date nectar and cacao. And it tastes ah-mazing. Also try their cacao coconut yogurt.

Coyo‘s dairy free chocolate coconut yogurt tastes like actual chocolate moose.

Choose the best bar…

If you’re going to eat a chocolate bar, make it a good one. Here’s my top 3: 

Doisy and Dam

Ed and Richard, the guys behind Doisy and Dam have created a lovely range of organic dark and milk chocolate. The Maca, Vanilla & Cacao Nibs 74% bar is the dream and contains only cocoa mass, cocoa butter, Maca, raw cacao nibs, vanilla essence and vanilla powder. Also try the Mulberries, Black Sesame & Spirulina and Ginger, Chilli Flakes & Hemp Seed.

Pana Chocolate

Another great and incredibly tasty option. All bars are raw, gluten and dairy free with no refined sugar and cost more than my weekly wage. But for good reason. Their Coconut & Goji bar contains cacao butter, cacao powder, dark agave nectar, coconut oil, goji berries, coconut flakes, carob, cinnamon and Himalayan crystal salt. Himalayan crystal salt, for crying out loud. Slightly excessive, I know but you can’t put a price on health (is what I tell myself in an attempt to justify spending a small fortune on chocolate).

OMBAR

OMBAR‘s slogan says it all; ‘Cacao is incredible, why on earth would you want to roast away all the goodness?’ Exactly. Raw chocolate sourced from the best of the Ecuadorian cacao farms containing super-healthy ingredients, including unrefined coconut sugar, real fruit and live cultures. Sound good? It is.