When it comes to chocolate, there is no such thing as “just one bite”. We promise ourselves to stick to just one piece of chocolate. Then a few minutes later we find an empty box on our lap staring back accusingly at us.
It is genuinely hard to limit yourself when it comes to chocolate and this is one of those few things you’ll not get judged for since this sweet, brown stuff pretty much makes everyone its slave. It’s only when chocolate comes back to bite us that things may turn ugly. What we don’t know, however, is that most of the chocolate products we eat are unhealthy because of additives like sugar. Cocoa, by itself, is actually very healthy, since it comes from the highly nutritious cocoa bean.
Here are some great ways to add raw cocoa powder to your diet without having to worry about various health perils.
Healthy Ways To Include Raw Cocoa Powder In Your Diet
1. As A Dip For Fruits
Chocolate and fruit are like a match made in heaven. Whether you’re throwing a little get-together, or just want to make your fruit intake a little more interesting, this dip will do the trick.
Simply add some raw cocoa powder to some coconut cream. Alternately, you can even use some yogurt as the base. Mix these ingredients thoroughly together, and if you want a little more sweetness, try adding some honey or brown sugar. Serve with whole strawberries or cherries, sliced bananas, raisins, pears, and raspberries.
2. Blend It Into Smoothies
The next time you make yourself a smoothie – add a teaspoon of raw cocoa powder. Blend as usual. This is an especially useful tip if you’re making yourself smoothies that have bitter or strong flavored vegetables in them. The cocoa will mask the overwhelming flavors and you can probably even sneak in a few extra servings too if you like!
3. Sprinkle It Over Toast Or Cereal
If you aren’t already a breakfast person, this tip is sure to have you sold. Whether you’re eating buttered toast or a steaming hot bowl of cereal, a little sprinkling of raw cocoa powder will transform your regular breakfast into a real treat for your sweet tooth. You can even add some fruit to increase your nutrition intake. Sliced bananas go really well with bread and butter, while berries are a good topping for cereals.
Interestingly enough, researchers claim that weight loss-seekers who eat “dessert at breakfast” don’t go for rebound weight gain. This is because a good dose of sugar at the beginning of the day reduces hunger and keeps excessive snacking under control. This strategy even reduced the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin.
As if you needed another reason to eat chocolate at breakfast!
4. Fold Into Nut Butter
Nut butters are versatile and healthy. They’re even a huge hit with the kids! But even the best of foods can make us bored after a while, so you shouldn’t be too surprised if your child comes back from school with a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich in his lunch box.
The next time, fold in a few teaspoons of raw cocoa powder into the nut butter and mix it well before spreading it onto the toast. You can even add other goodies like desiccated coconut, whole oats, or chopped dry fruit. Finish off with a final sprinkle of the cocoa powder and you’re good to go!
If you want a healthier substitute for bread, why not use slices of apples, figs or pears instead? Glue two slices together with the nut butter and cocoa powder spread and you have a fruit sammie in no time!
5. Granola Bars
Granola bars are one of the easiest things to whip up at home and make for very healthy snacks. You’ll need some oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Add in some peanut butter and a little honey for some sweetness. Add a few teaspoons of raw cocoa powder. Now give all of this a good stir till the ingredients are well combined. Spread the mixture over a greased baking tray and pop it into the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Cut into squares or rectangles, wrap in butter paper and store in a cool, dry place.
These bars are super versatile, and can relieve that rumbling tummy after breaking a sweat at the gym or in between your meals!