EASTER – and Chocolate
With Easter right around the corner, chances are that you’re planning a delicious Easter Egg Hunt with your kids, or – if you’ve been good, the Easter Bunny will be delivering a pile of decedent milk chocolate eggs and odd shaped bunny’s to the end of your bed on Sunday morning.
Why would you want to?
Okay, we know that chocolate doesn’t exactly rank up there on your list of healthy foods. But there are ways to celebrate the chocolate rush of the season without racking up the calories.
The trick is to get creative and use these healthy recipes to indulge in the sweet, succulent taste of chocolate without piling on guilt.
IS DARK CHOCOLATE A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE?
Dark Chocolate actually does pack in some healthy antioxidants that will boost your overall health. What provides the antioxidant benefit of dark chocolate? Cocoa. The higher percentage of pure cocoa that is in dark chocolate, the darker it’ll be. Usually this also means the darker the chocolate, the bitterer it is since cocoa is naturally bitter.
Indulging in a bit of dark chocolate can be a good way to enjoy the thrill of chocolate and promote overall wellness at the same time.
One study performed in Finland noted that consumption of dark chocolate increased levels of HDL cholesterol in the body, thus promoting a healthier heart.
No chocolate is low calorie, though, and chocolate shouldn’t be eaten as a snack. The calories in dark chocolate are slightly more than cheese and slightly less than nuts. Chocolate is calorie dense and does not provide the fibre or protein necessary to balance the blood sugar spike you’ll get from eating it.
Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Total time: 5 minutes
2 medium sized ripe avocados
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Fresh berries and shredded coconut for garnish (optional)
- Scoop out the ripe avocado flesh into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth.
- Garnish with shredded coconut and serve with fresh berries. Note: This recipe will keep well for up to three days in the refrigerator (assuming you can restrain yourself from eating it all in one sitting!).
Frozen Banana Sushi Recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
3 tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon chia seeds, optional
1 teaspoon hemp hearts, optional
1 teaspoon bee pollen, optional
1 teaspoon chopped nuts, seeds or other toppings, optional
- Peel bananas and coat with nut butter.
- Heat a pan of water and create a double broiler by adding another pan on top of the lightly boiling water.
- Add chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir continuously until melted.
- Pour over nut butter covered bananas and spread around to coat.
- Sprinkle with toppings of choice. In this case chia seeds, hemp seeds and bee pollen.
- Slice and enjoy.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
You can use any crushed topping of your choice to cover the chocolate coated banana. They are good stored in the freezer or refrigerator for a quick snack.
Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup honey
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- *3 scoops vital proteins collagen peptides (optional)
- *sea salt (optional)
- Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until completely melted.
- Remove from heat and whisk in honey, cocoa, collagen peptides, peanut butter and vanilla. Whisk until everything dissolved.
- Pour into a parchment lined bread pan (or pie dish), sprinkle with sea salt and let chill for 1-2 hours until completely set.
CREATIVITY GOES A LONG WAY WITH CHOCOLATE
But if you let your creative juices flow, you’ll be able to come up with tons of chocolate-lover-health-friendly recipes on your own!
JUST FOLLOW THESE BASIC GUIDELINES:
- Make it yourself-avoid store bought candies and out-of-box desserts.
- Use unsweetened cocoa powder to add chocolate-y goodness. Pure cocoa powder is naturally healthy and has great nutrition facts: 1 tablespoon has 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of carbs (2 grams of fibre), and 1 gram of protein. Go easy, because cocoa powder is bitter.
- Avoid refined sugar, stick to natural sugars. Splenda is very popular and widely available, but you can also try stevia, which is becoming more available at grocery stores t. And although honey and agave are not calorie free, they are natural and make a good alternative.
- Always balance your chocolate with protein! Use protein powders, natural Peanut or Almond Butter, and Egg Whites to make protein-packed goodies!
Take Away: Everything in Moderation.
If all of this is too much or you’re anything like us, everything is good in moderation! But it is good to be mindful about what you’re eating, and to try and balance your chocolate intake with exercise output. Try telling yourself that for every small Cadbury Easter Egg you consume you’ve got to burn 33 calories or 138 kilojoules. Thats around 30 minutes of walking – yep. So 7 of those tiny Cadbury eggs gets you a Hollywood class. Whoa.