5 Guilt-Free Chocolate Treats You Have to Try!
Feb 9, 2015
At the end of this week we'll celebrate Valentine's Day and so sweethearts (and sweets) are definitely on our minds! But did you know that you can please your palate AND help keep you and your lover's hearts healthy by choosing chocolate? Fantastic news, right?! These delicious ideas are bound to please any chocolate lover, and you can chuck the guilt because they're heart-healthy too!
Guilt-Free Chocolate Truffles
Fifty percent of Americans prefer chocolate over any other flavor. If you’re one of them, choose natural, unsweetened cocoa powder – it contains 16 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Add it to warm low-fat milk or try this Guilt-Free Chocolate Truffles recipe that includes just 4 easy ingredients.
- ½ cup good quality chocolate chips (try Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)
- 1 tablespoon all natural almond butter (or peanut butter)
- ¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt (try Chobani)
- ⅓ cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (try Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder)
- Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (at 20 second intervals) or on a double boiler
- While the chocolate is still warm, stir in almond butter and mix until well incorporated
- Carefully fold in Greek yogurt, mix well and refrigerate for about 15 minutes, until it starts to harden
- Working with approximately 1 tablespoon at a time, form truffles, roll them in unsweetened cocoa powder and refrigerate until ready to serve
Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal
You can even add cocoa powder to your morning bowl of oats. This breakfast recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal from Bakerita will knock your socks off!
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 heaping teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or almond butter)
- 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon unsalted peanuts
- In a small saucepan, combine oats, banana, almond milk and cocoa powder. Simmer until milk has absorbed into the oats, about 3-5 minutes.
- Place into a small bowl, swirl in peanut butter, and top with chocolate chips and peanuts. Enjoy!
Chocolate Nut Bark
For a doubly healthy boost for the heart, try this super simple Chocolate Nut Bark recipe from Eating Well, which has just three steps.
- Melt 2 cups semi-sweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips in microwave for 1-2 minutes
- Stir in 1½ cups assorted nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds and cashews
- Spread on pan coated with aluminum foil and refrigerate
Or, get your chocolate fix in the form of a super recovery drink. Researchers found that chocolate milk was just as effective at relieving muscle soreness after sprints, and it also better prepared athletes to perform in endurance tests the next day. Try this easy smoothie recipe from Cooking Light to refuel post-workout. It's a hearty recovery drink that deliciously delivers about 330 calories.
- ¼ cup low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- ½ frozen sliced banana
- 4 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt
- Mix in blender until smooth and enjoy!
Chocolate Almond Hot Cocoa
If you’re looking for a before-bed snack, try this Chocolate Almond Hot Cocoa from Nutritionist Joy Bauer:
- 3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Just heat the almond milk on the stove and whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
- Divide into three servings and enjoy!
Whether it’s a homemade treat or something special from the store, chocolate is an indulgence you can feel good about this Valentine’s Day!
*Read the research by the University of California
Author: Kristen Ciuba
Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!