Valentine’s day is creeping ever closer and that means one thing: I can eat as much chocolate as I want for a whole day. It’s a national day of no judgement, right? Honestly, as much as I would love to just curl up in bed with one of those massive heart-shaped chocolate boxes and declare that Netflix is the only one for me, I know that Valentine’s day is just that, one day. As soon as the sun rises on February 15th, I’ll regret my chocaholic choices. Here are 5 ways to indulge on the 14th (or any day, for that matter) without regret:
1. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
I don’t know about all of you but one thing I loved about the winter holiday season was the array of warm and flavorful drinks – from Pumpkin Spice Lattes and eggnog to hot apple cider and spicy ginger tea. My favorite, of course, is classic hot chocolate. 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder is only about 10 calories. Plus, cacao is full of awesome antioxidants. Find out how to make it here.
#SpoonTip: Use skim, almond or coconut milk to make a silky smooth and extra-healthy hot cocoa.
2. Cacao Nibs
Crunchy snacks are super-satisfying. While I usually try to stick to carrot sticks or an apple, those won’t satisfy a chocolate craving. But Cacao nibs (essentially crunchy cacoa beans) will and for only 130 calories per ounce. Add them to greek yogurt or enjoy with peanut butter and banana and you’re good to go. If you’re still stuck, consider making a fancy dessert using cacao nibs like a velvety chocolate mousse.
Carob is low in fat and high in fiber, plus it’s got calcium. Unlike your standard chocolate bar, carob is caffeine-free. Don’t worry, it still had plenty of sugar.
#SpoonTip: Sub carob for chocolate when you bake.
4. Chocolate Milk
The calcium and vitamin D found in chocolate milk are valuable nutrients (even for us quasi-adults), but steer clear of highly processed versions. Save your chocolate splurge for brands like Horizon and Organic Valley, which use organic ingredients. For the vegan and lactose intolerant among us, soy, rice or almond chocolate milk are available to make sure you can still get your fix.
#SpoonTip: Get creative with your chocolate milk by adding cinnamon or coconut cream.
5. Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
This may be cheating considering it is still chocolate, but I’m sure you’ve heard how dark chocolate has a ton of health benefits. A 100g bar with 70-85% cacao contains Iron, Magnesium, Copper and fiber. When it comes to choosing your chocolate, the higher the cacao percentage, the lower the sugar content. Plus, the bar will have undergone less processing during manufacturing.
There are so many ways to stay healthy while still getting the chocolate you are craving. Go ahead and try some or all of them this Valentine’s Day.