Delicious, Nutritious… Chocolate!

Delicious, Nutritious… Chocolate!

With Lightning 100’s A Chocolate Affair quickly approaching on Saturday, February 6th at Riverwood Mansion, and Valentine’s weekend shortly after… coupled with your resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier, this is no doubt a very difficult time in your life.

Rest assured, you can enjoy both and not feel guilty about it! We asked Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Amber Robertson with BlissHolistic, to share with us a few nutrition facts about chocolate.

Here’s what she had to say:

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If you had to give up eating chocolate, could you do it? I know I couldn’t! And with all the amazing benefits of chocolate, there’s good reason to keep enjoying it. If you are consuming chocolate to support your health, then it’s important to choose high quality dark chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa content so that you get the maximum benefits. In addition to snacking on dark chocolate, you can easily make chocolate a part of a nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner. So without further ado, here are my top ten reasons to indulge yourself with a little chocolate every day.

  1. Dark chocolate tastes sinfully delicious, yet it’s full of nutrients that protect our bodies, especially the heart and brain.
  2. It helps keep your skin beautiful. The antioxidants in dark chocolate and raw cacao help to get rid of toxins that promote premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, and even help protect against sun damage.
  3. It’s fun to experiment with different flavors. There are many health-supporting spices and seasonings that taste great when mixed with chocolate. Think sea salt, ginger, cayenne, and tart cherries. Combining each of these ingredients with dark chocolate can be a savory and satisfying explosion of taste. You can add a little chocolate to your favorite chili recipe to enhance the flavor, making dinner a lot more interesting!
  4. Studies have shown that people who eat dark chocolate regularly have lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and lower risk of heart disease.
  5. You can even use chocolate in salads. Any kind of salad is suitable for experimenting with chocolate, but if you’re skeptical, try sprinkling cacao nibs on a fruit salad for starters. Or try tossing cacao nibs into a salad with arugula and roasted beets, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious for lunch!
  6. Dark chocolate contains fiber which is filling and satisfying, so snacking on one square of dark chocolate could theoretically help prevent you from mindlessly snacking on five other things you don’t really want.
  7. People who eat dark chocolate regularly have reported feeling less stressed out!
  8. Using raw cacao in your breakfast smoothies adds delicious depth of flavor and can easily curb a chocolate craving before it begins.
  9. You might feel smarter, or at least more alert. Dark chocolate boosts blood flow to the brain which can help clear out that dreaded brain fog, leaving you feeling more focused.
  10. It makes you happy! We chocoholics have always known this, but now there is research that supports the claim that eating dark chocolate boosts your mood.

To prove that chocolate can be both delicious and nutritious, test out this Avacado Chocolate Pudding recipe, which was first introduced to Team Green Adventures during a “Curb Your Sugar Cravings” wellness workshops, and is featured in the corresponding recap blog!

Recipe: Avocado Chocolate Pudding (serves 2)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • Pure maple syrup to taste (stevia or honey would work, too)
  • Fresh fruit such as strawberries or raspberries

Instructions:
Combine first three ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until well combined. Add maple syrup (or other sweetener) to desired sweetness. Allow to chill at least one hour before serving. I like to let it chill for several hours to let all the flavors meld deliciously together. Serve with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or fruit of your choice.

-Amber Robertson (Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, BlissHolistic)

 

Amber Robertson is the official presenter for the Team Green Adventures Nutrition Workshop Series at the Nashville Farmers’ Market on the third Wednesday of each month. Check out her presentations from March-December and stop by her booth at our Spring Resolution Health & Recreation Fair on March 12th at Riverwood Mansion from 11am-3pm. You’ll likely also bump into her scoping out all the wonderful chocolatiers at Lightning 100’s A Chocolate Affair on February 6th at Riverwood Mansion from 7pm-11pm!

About the Author:
Amber Robertson is a Wellness Educator and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach based in Nashville, TN. Working with busy professionals and entrepreneurs, she specializes in eating for energy, optimizing digestion, and reducing inflammation. Using the principles of clean eating, self care, and mindfulness, Amber helps take the mystery out of eating well and makes the transition to a healthier lifestyle fun and rewarding. Visit her online at www.blissholistic.com.

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