February Super Food- Dark Chocolate

For the month of February, let’s learn about the health benefits of Dark Chocolate:

  • A little treat is good for your emotional health. Dark chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma (cocoa tree) seeds and has been around for over 3,000 years. It has a bitter taste compared to traditional milk chocolate simply because it has a higher content of cocoa solids then milk chocolate, which contains high percentages of milk.
  • Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants and can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Keep in mind 1 dark chocolate bar has about 200 calories, 13 gm fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams fiber and 24 grams total cholesterol. Even though it is good for you dark should be consumed in moderation along with a well-balanced diet.
  • Dark chocolate can be substituted for milk chocolate in many recipes. Look for dark chocolate chips in the baking and add them to things like- protein breakfast granola bites, a small bowl of fresh strawberries for texture variety and even to a bowl of oatmeal for an additional flavor component.

Recipes

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oatsDark Chocolate Oatmeal
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 bananas sliced into coins
  • ½ cup dried cherries, plumped in warm water

Directions

  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oats, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and cook, stirring regularly, until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the honey. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes.
  • Top each serving with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, half of a sliced banana and 2 tablespoons cherries. Serve immediately.

No Bake Chocolate Chia Energy Bites

IngredientsChocolate Chia Energy Bites

  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup oats (old fashioned or quick cooking)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter and honey until smooth. Stir in cinnamon and salt.
  • Add oats, chia, coconut and flax seed meal to the bowel and stir until evenly incorporated.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all ingredients are combined then stir in chocolate chips
  • Use a small/medium cookie scoop to form into bite-sized balls. Can be served immediately or chilled if you prefer them cold.
  • Energy bites can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.