Chocolate Can be a part of a Healthy Diet

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Yes, your dreams have come true…research reveals that chocolate CAN be part of a Healthy diet!
Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. I SAY HURRAY!!
It’s all because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most studies highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids and, therefore, more flavanol antioxidants. Besides the great taste and texture, here are some more research-based reasons to enjoy chocolate;


Decreases Stroke Risk – Women who eat more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.

Boosts Heart Health – Regular chocolate eaters welcome a host of benefits for their hearts, including lower blood pressure, lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. One of the reasons dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy is its inflammation-fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.

Fills You Up – Because it’s rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you’ll eat less. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on "11 other things first" he said.

May Fight Diabetes – One small Italian study found that regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.

Protects Your Skin – Forget what you’ve heard about chocolate causing breakouts: Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The type of antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage from the sun. This does not mean you can skip the sunscreen!

Can Quiet Coughs – An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine seems to reduce activity of the vagus nerve , the part of the brain that triggers hard-to-shake coughs.

Boosts Your Mood – (What’s new about this one?) Chocolate eaters consistently report feeling less stressed.

Improves Blood Flow – Cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin which can improve blood flow and circulation.

May Make You Smarter – That boost of blood flow to the brain created by cocoa’s flavanols seems to make people feel more awake and alert, and in a small study, perform better on counting tasks.

Get rid of all that guilt and bring on the chocolate this Valentine’s Day!!

Double Antioxidant Chocolate Energy Bars

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 5 dried prunes, soaked for 20-30 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons cacao
  • 3 tablespoons (gluten free optional) oats
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon peanut or almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground walnuts for decoration

Use your immersion blender and cup to process the walnuts with prunes (or dates), cacao and
oats until a sticky mixture forms. You can also try using a food processor or a blender to make these. I always find the immersion blender the best option for energy bites.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix it with the peanut butter.
Use a scoop or a tbsp to scoop out the mixture and roll into balls with your wet hands.
Dip each ball into the melted chocolate, so that it's fully covered in chocolate. Place onto a plate or a sheet lined with parchment paper. Optionally you can sprinkle some ground walnuts over the balls.
Refrigerate for about 45 minutes and enjoy immediately or store in the fridge or freezer.
Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 97, Fat 6g., Fiber 2g., Protein 2g., Carbohydrates 11g.,
Sodium 2 mg.

Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa), finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan; stir with a whisk.
Gradually add low-fat milk and evaporated milk, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.
Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until thick.
Remove from heat; add chocolate, stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour about 2/3 cup pudding into each of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins; cover surface of each serving with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours. Remove plastic wrap; serve. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.

Mocha Phyllo Cups

  • 3 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 (1.4-ounce) packet sugar-free, fat-free chocolate instant pudding
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso
  • 3 sheets phyllo dough
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
  • 8 teaspoons whipped topping
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, chocolate pudding mix, and the instant espresso. Use hand mixer to mix ingredients.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Unroll phyllo dough and remove sheets. Working with 1 sheet at a time, lay out and spray phyllo sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon- sugar. Lay next sheet on top and repeat steps. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 8 rectangles, approximately 4 by 5 inches. Fit rectangles into muffin cups and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove phyllo cups from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove cups from pan and cool completely.
Spoon or pipe mocha pudding into cups and top with a 1 tablespoon dollop of whipped topping.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder.
*this recipe can be adjusted to use premade phyllo cups as well.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce

  • 1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin roast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (or green onion)
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest until the sauce is nearly done before slicing.
While the meat cooks, make the sauce. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth
and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the sliced tenderloin.
Serving size 3 slices of meat and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce. Per Serving: Calories 280;
Total Fat 9g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 4g, Poly Fat 0g); Protein 31g; Carb 7g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol
82mg; Sodium 375mg

Blueberry Dark Chocolate Bark

(This is a popular Tik Tok Recipe)

  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • Flaky salt

In a bowl, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil.
In a microwave, melt the chocolate in 2, 30-second increments, until fully melted and smooth. If you don’t use a microwave, you can melt the chocolate on the stove using the double broiler method!
Add the blueberries. Coat with the chocolate. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Add a pinch of flaky salt and freeze for at least one hour. Break into smaller pieces, store in a covered container in the freezer.