Chocolate isn’t just good, it’s good for you. The raw cocoa or cacao bean (what chocolate is made out of) contains a significant amount of soluble fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and powerful antioxidants. Plus, the flavanols (super nutrient) found in dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
In addition to those benefits, studies show that if you love chocolate it will love you back. In fact, eating two servings of dark chocolate per week can lower the risk of artery plaque by 32% (the stuff that can clog your arteries and increase your risk for a heart attack).
Beware of additives in chocolate
All that said, not all chocolate is created equal. The chocolate we oftentimes consume on Valentine’s Day tends to contain milk, sugar and other ingredients mixed in to temper the bitter taste and improve shelf life. To get the most out of your store-bought chocolate experience, reach for high-quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 80% cacao. That dark chocolate treat has a bit more fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese and copper than the milk chocolate variety. In both cases, however, store-bought chocolate has added sugar and should be enjoyed consciously and in moderation.
The healthiest chocolate
Chocolate bars aren’t the only way to get your chocolate fix. The best chocolate is the raw kind. Raw cocoa powder and cacao nibs are the perfect way to enrich yogurts, smoothies or oatmeal for a nutrient boost and antioxidant hit.
If that’s not enough, consume a square of 80% cacao or higher chocolate mindfully. Coach Jennifer recommends popping a square of chocolate in your mouth, closing your eyes and letting it melt and enjoying every chocolate-filled second.
8fit healthy chocolate recipes
Looking to log some chocolate treats this Valentine’s week? Try one of our mouthwatering 8fit recipes. First up are our protein-packed Tahini Chocolate Bites. The protein comes from sesame seeds, protein powder and tahini. The chocolate comes from nutrient-dense raw cocoa powder.
Next up is our Chocolate Greek Yogurt Dip which makes the perfect snack or healthy dessert. Protein comes from the Greek yogurt and chocolatey goodness comes from raw cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate. Turn it into breakfast using muesli instead of chopped chocolate on top.
Did someone say brownies? Make our 4-Ingredient Protein Brownies for dessert (or a decadent nibble) this week. They’re packed with protein and the ideal balance of carbohydrates and fat. Desperate for a pre or post-workout snack? One of these brownies should do the trick.
As the saying goes, you eat with your eyes first. Create a visually appealing Valentine’s Day snack by coating a banana in almond butter and chocolate and make our delectable Banana Sushi. You’ll find it in your 8fit recipe book and you can log it as a snack. Pro tip: Freeze these treats before popping them into your mouth for an ice cream-like treat.
5 Recipes from our favorite healthy bloggers
If none of the 8fit recipes above speak to you, try a recipe from one of our favorite healthy bloggers. Deliciously Ella’s Peanut Butter and Cacao Energy Balls and Cacao (and Avocado) Mousse both use raw cacao for chocolate flavor and dates for sweetness. Chocolate Covered Katie, like her name suggests, has hundreds of chocolate recipes on her blog. Some of our favorites are her Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Workout Brownies. Last up is a fancy-looking (but easy-to-make) recipe from Oh She Glows. Try Angela’s Vegan Peppermint Patty Slice and tag us in a photo on social media if you make it!
Add any of these recipes to your 8fit app and log them as part of your meal plan. Happy Valentine’s Day, 8fitters!