When you think of chocolate, you probably associate it with decadent desserts that take their toll on both your health and your waistline. After all, foods that contain this rich ingredient usually pack in the fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates. Chocolate doesn’t have to be the enemy, however! You can actually enjoy all kinds of great, healthy snacks like chocolate chip muffins and cakes. You just have to know what to look for.
Cooking Healthy Chocolate Foods
While chocolate itself contains a moderate amount of fat, usually in the form of cocoa butter, you don’t have to use a lot in the rest of your recipe. Consider replacing some of the oil or butter in your chocolate-based foods with applesauce or low fat yogurt. It’ll produce a moist, delicious batch with a much better nutritional profile.
You can also easily substitute white whole wheat flour for all purpose and reduce the amount of sugar you use. You’ll still be able to enjoy brownies, muffins, cupcakes and more, but you won’t have to spend as much time worrying about your health.
Buying Healthy Chocolate Products
Of course, not everyone has time to bake. If you’re stuck dealing with the usual corporate manufacturers of sweets and other chocolate foods, you might feel a little trapped. These products almost always contain unhealthy ingredients and seem designed to make you gain extra weight. There are options, however.
Reading the label can do a lot to help you find chocolate chip muffins that taste great and won’t hurt your body. For instance, Vitalicious’s deep chocolate flavor includes muffins, muffin tops, brownies and more, all clocking in at around 100 calories. When you shop, look for labels that include relatively little fat – just one or two grams – along with plenty of extra fiber and protein. Even rich foods like brownies don’t have to leave a greasy feeling behind.
Beyond Plain Chocolate
You’ll be able to enjoy a better nutrition profile in your chocolate foods if you’re willing to think outside the box. Don’t just go for the usual suspects of chocolate, walnuts and peanut butter. Consider trying chocolate foods that include fruits like banana and antioxidant-rich pomegranate. You’ll bring some diversity into your diet, but you’ll also increase the range of vitamins and minerals you take in. That might seem like a lot for a humble muffin or muffin top, but experimentation can work wonders.
If you want to be healthy but aren’t interested in giving up your choco-holic ways, you can have your cake and vitamins, too. Just make sure you avoid unhealthy cholesterol, shortenings and processed flours in favor of their healthier counterparts. You might be surprised by how much better you feel without having to give up your chocolate.