11 Healthy Ways to Eat Chocolate

August 13, 2022 0 Comments

11 Healthy Ways to Eat Chocolate

Can chocolate be part of a healthy diet?  

Absolutely! During the warmer summer months, chocolate takes a bit of a back seat as not only does our taste preference switch to 'lighter' desserts e.g. fruit based or cold treats e.g. ice cream, but we're also often eager to turn to a perceived lower fat, 'healthier' diet in order to slim down and get into those gorgeous summer frocks!

However, by removing chocolate from the diet, a wealth of health benefits are being missed out on so how can chocolate be eaten without spoiling the diet.

It's also important to remember that the goodness of cacao be enjoyed both as 'chocolate' and in it's more natural state, so here we'll cover both forms.

11 Ways to enjoy chocolate without ruining your diet.

1. Buy Better Quality Chocolate

All chocolate is NOT created equal, just because something has chocolate in it/on it, or is chocolate flavoured, does not mean that it has the potential to be healthy, I'm looking at you chocolate fudge brownie, or big name supermarket 'grab bars' (although it'a one of my guilty pleasures, there's no way I can make a Mars bar healthy)! So we're talking items that are predominantly chocolate in composition with few or no extras like nougat, caramel, biscuit, nuts etc. 

Better quality doesn't just mean buying chocolate that's more expensive, it's also about looking at the labels and checking your cocoa solids levels - the good stuff is in the cocoa, so the higher the cocoa solids percentage, the less room there is for other additives that have fewer health benefits. Which brings me on to the next tip - dark chocolate.

Healthy Ways to eat chocolate - cocoa solids percentages

2. Switch to Dark Chocolate

The health properties of dark chocolate (chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids) have been known for quite a while, but it's a fact always worth re-iterating. If you currently prefer milk chocolate, try opting for a dark/milk (40-50% cocoa solids) at first and progress from there. Dark chocolate also has a more complex flavour profile that can be more satisfying as it lasts longer on the tongue than milk chocolate, meaning that lovely chocolatey after taste stays with you (unlike milk chocolate where you're tempted to pop another square in just to keep the pleasure alive :)!

Can chocolate be part of a healthy diet - switch to dark chocolate 

3. Create a Routine 

Surprisingly effective, doesn't require denying yourself anything, and makes it easier to monitor and reduce the amount of chocolate consumed daily, especially if you're a 'snacker' (like me). 

Most of us who make the choice to eat chocolate don't do it simply to stop a grumbling tummy, it's because we value it in some way e.g. it tastes good, signifies the end a meal, even serves as a lunchtime reward to make the afternoon at work more bearable, therefore many of us already see it as something of value.

All you need to do is specifically tie in your consumption of chocolate, with a pre-decided and designated time that's also of value to you, which can be daily, weekly or monthly (eeeeek) e.g. on the journey home after work, once the kids are in bed, or simply relaxing on the sofa with a cuppa watching your favourite TV programme, whatever you decide, set a routine and stick to it.

This should effectively improve both the quality of your 'me time' and make you savour and enjoy the chocolate more so you're satisfied more quickly, and ultimately need less of it.

Even if tempted to have a bar at lunchtime, go ahead and buy it but put it to one side, safe in the knowledge that it will be worth waiting for!

4. Portion Size

Many of us have experienced the unfortunate lack of self control, where we promise ourselves to eat just half the chocolate bar, or 1 or 2 squares, and then eat the entire thing because it was tantalisingly in reach, or on the table in front of us.

So, BEFORE you tuck in, no matter how big or small your chocolate bar is, break it into smaller pieces and pack each piece separately (in foil / paper / the original wrapper).

Take a piece or 2 for eating and put the rest away, out of sight, and preferably in a different room to the room you'll be relaxing and/or eating the chocolate in.

If you do fancy another piece then it's fine to go and get another, but only ONE piece at a time, and only after you've completely finished the first. You may find by the time you contemplate going to the effort of getting up and getting another piece, your chocolate craving has subsided. 

Healthy Ways to Eat Chocolate - Portion Size

5. Chocolate Dipped Fruit

We're not talking 'Dawn French submerging her whole head in the chocolate fountain in the infamous episode of 'Vicar of Dibley'.....we mean dipping a piece of fresh fruit in molten chocolate, shaking off the excess and leaving to cool until left with a very thin, crisp chocolate shell, but mainly fruit! The actual amount of chocolate is very small but just enough to get that chocolate hit and satisfy that craving.

Fresh fruit still contains sugars i.e. fructose so be sure to use fresh fruit NOT candied, and stick to lower sugar fruits.

  • Raspberries.
  • Strawberries.
  • Blackberries.
  • Kiwis.
  • Grapefruit.

 Healthy ways to eat chocolate dipped fruit

Photo Courtesy of www.RachelPaulsFood.com

6. Chocolate for Breakfast

Can eating chocolate at breakfast can be healthy? Absolutely, provided you’re not eating to excess! A few squares of dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) can provide a nutritious way to sweeten porridge / oatmeal or granola, chop into small pieces and stir in. You can also include a handful of nuts and/or seeds for an added healthy crunch, but if adding fruit, it's important to be mindful of overall sugar content (dried fruit in particular has a very high sugar content). 


7. Chocolate for Lunch / Dinner - Savoury recipes that contain chocolate 

From Pulled Chicken Tacos to Chilli Con Carne, there are lots of recipes on the internet, we're planning to add a few to portfolio shortly, but in the meantime, follow the link below for a selection of savoury recipes with a secret added ingredient - yep you guessed it, chocolate.

Savoury recipes with chocolate

Savoury Recipes containing chocolate

8. Drinking Cacao

Cacao undoubtedly has the most health benefits, cacao powder is packed with flavonoids which have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, aid in preventing blood clots and may help increase insulin sensitivity which in turn reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Cacao Powder: Health Benefits

It’s also packed with antioxidants with raw organic cacao having over 40 times the antioxidant levels of blueberries.  

Unfortunately regular cocoa powder and chocolate have been chemically processed and roasted which destroys a large amount of the antioxidants and flavanoids (a recent study suggests between 60% and 90% of the original antioxidants in cacao are lost through common “Dutch processing’). So stick to high 'cacao powder' drinking powders rather than standard hot chocolate to get full benefits.


Healthy ways to eat chocolate 

Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate Powder on Amazon 

9. Adding Cacao Nibs to your diet

Cacao nibs have a rich flavour but are substantially lower in sugar than other chocolate products so are more bitter tasting than even the darkest chocolate, but they provide an array of powerful health benefits. They're also widely available in stores and online and can be easily incorporated into a variety of both savoury and sweet recipes (sweetness may have to be adjusted when swapping regular chocolate for cacao nibs in recipes). Here are a few suggestions on how to add cacao nibs to your diet.


Is chocolate healthy - raw cacao nibs


 Green Origins Organic Raw Cacao Nibs on Amazon

10. Adding cacao powder to smoothies

Experimenting with smoothies is fun and easy, create your own delicious mix and add a couple of tablespoons of raw cacao powder, or browse the web for a huge array of smoothie recipes, but if you’re looking for a superstar combination to get you started, this Cherry Chocolate Smoothie recipe containing cacao powder is delicious and nutritious (and vegan friendly). 

Raw cacao powder to add to smoothies

 Sevenhills Raw Cacao powder on Amazon 


11. Finally, finding that balance

Often in life even the best laid plans as to when, where and how much chocolate to eat can go awry, so a little flexibility is needed and needn't mean all is lost. Simply be aware of what you are or have eaten and compensate with more low fat foods accordingly.

For example - If you plan to go out that evening for a slap up meal and anticipate tucking into an enormous slice of chocolate cake for dessert, then try to eat a little more conservatively during the day e.g. have a salad for lunch, or a piece of fruit for breakfast rather than toast and jam. Or if you've eaten far more than your planned quantity of chocolate early in the day, switch around the components of your evening meal by having more vegetables and fewer carbs on the plate.


So by purchasing the right chocolate, you can enjoy a 'guilt-free' indulgence every single day, that has a positive effect on your health and well being without necessarily punishing the waistline. 

I am not affiliated in any way to the products, companies or websites linked to in this post, and receive no gain financially or otherwise.