The Secret to Eating Chocolate Every Day in a Healthy Way.
1:30-2:00 p.m. That’s the time that my energy usually starts to slump or that I just simply need a pick-me-up. What do I turn to? Chocolate! That’s right. Nearly every day. I can do this because I eat the healthier kind – dark – in a very intentional but delicious way. If you crave chocolate or just need something sweet to give you an afternoon boost, I’m here to tell you how and why you can eat chocolate every day in a healthy way.
What is Dark Chocolate?
According to a tour of Switzerland’s Maison Cailler chocolate factory, there are three main kinds of chocolate. Those are dark, milk and white. For our purposes, we’re focusing on dark. The National Confectioners Association says that dark chocolate is “simply chocolate liquor (the centers of cocoa beans ground to a liquid), extra cocoa butter, sugar, an emulsifier (often lecithin) and vanilla or other flavorings.1” Bittersweet chocolate is the darkest of eating chocolate and has the highest amount of chocolate liquor. You can get a fairly good idea of what that amount is from the cacao percentage listed on the packaging.1 70 percent or higher is the best. In addition to high amounts of chocolate liquor, dark chocolate also contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate.
Why You Should Eat Chocolate Every Day
Here are my top reasons for why I feel strongly that it’s okay to eat dark chocolate every day.
It’s a small hit of sugar to increase energy
Let’s face it, most of us have a time during the day when our level of energy dips. If it’s a large dip or you regularly feel like you’re dragging through the afternoon, you should definitely take a look at the amount of sleep that you’re getting, your eating habits overall and the amount of water that you’re drinking2. It’s also important to keep in mind that while a large amount of sugar may quickly increase your level of energy, you’ll probably feel a fairly dramatic “sugar crash” after. If it’s simply that you feel like you need a little something to help you shift into a different gear, a small amount of sugar from eating dark chocolate can do the trick. With the way that I eat it, we’re talking about a VERY small amount of sugar that does not result in that dreaded crash later.
Dark chocolate may be a mood booster
If you’re feeling down, a study published in Depression & Anxiety shows that eating dark chocolate may help boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression3.
It’s an easy and relatively healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth
If you have a sweet tooth, the last thing that you want is to feel like you’re depriving yourself. In most cases, that only increases the chance of binging on your favorite sugary food at some point. Letting yourself enjoy a little something each day or on a regular basis, prevents any feelings of deprivation. In addition, that small amount becomes your satisfying norm.
Dark chocolate has health benefits
Studies show that even 1-2 small squares of dark chocolate every day can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes4.
How to Eat Chocolate Every Day
I usually buy dark chocolate with a 70-85% Cacao content that comes in a bar with rows of three pieces. The nutrition label says that 10 pieces are a serving size. Unfortunately, that includes 190 calories, 15 grams of fat (9 of them saturated) and 7 net carbs with 4 grams of added sugar. That’s all a bit much for me for a small snack. However, if I break off and eat one row of three pieces, that’s 57 calories, 4.5 grams of fat (2.7 of them saturated) and 2.1 grams of net carbs with 1.2 grams of added sugar. Those aren’t unhealthy amounts at all and honestly, it’s just the right amount to help me round the curve for the afternoon. As an added bonus, doing it that way makes one bar last for 10 days, making it a very affordable treat.
Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate
It’s important to note that when we’re talking about chocolate, I believe that buying a brand that is organic and Fair Trade is the way to go. While heavy pesticide use on cocoa is not as prevalent as it once was, if chocolate doesn’t indicate that it’s organic, it was probably sprayed with chemicals at some point. Since the International Cocoa Organization said as recently as 2015 that application practices remain one of the most neglected and “weakest links” in pesticide use, I prefer knowing that my chocolate had little to no chemical exposure5.
In addition, the Fair Trade symbol tells you a lot about your chocolate. It means that it was grown in a way that supports responsible companies, treats farmers and workers fairly and protects the environment. To me, that makes eating chocolate every day all the more delicious.
My Favorite Brand of Dark Chocolate
My favorite brand is by far Green & Black’s organic 85% dark chocolate. It’s organic, fair trade and delicious! While it can cost up to $3.50 in the grocery store, you can buy a pack of 10 bars through Amazon. (Not an affiliate link. Just a great price!) Remember though, if you make it last for 10 days, even paying $3.50 is only 35 cents a day.
Green & Black’s is the one that has the nutritional values mentioned above.
Bottom Line on How to Eat Chocolate Every Day
You certainly don’t have to eat chocolate every day, but hopefully you’ve seen here that you don’t have to avoid it either. You just have to be strategic in how you get your daily dose of indulgence.
If you enjoy eating dark chocolate, let us know in the comments below what your favorite brand is.