Here at the Zim’s blog we love talking about healthy living and how to live to our ultimate max each day. In previous entries we’ve answered the question- can granola, waffles, smoothies and more be healthy? Today we are tackling a key ingredient in many indulgent desserts: chocolate. Is healthy chocolate possible?

When first asked this question many will turn right to dark chocolate as the healthy chocolate and they aren’t wrong in that understanding. Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and has minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. Unfortunately these minerals are most present in very dark chocolate (70-85%) which many find bitter and unpalatable.

One creative way to add chocolate to your diet without the added fat, sugar and calories of milk chocolate desserts is to add cocoa powder to savory applications. For example, cocoa added to mole sauce or oatmeal in the morning adds a flavor where we don’t mind the bitter notes it gives.

So what about all those chocolates some of us got over the recent Valentine’s Day weekend? Like most foods it’s important to remember anything can be enjoyed in moderation. Maybe spread them out over a few weeks and have them once or twice a day? This way you will actually appreciate the delicious chocolates instead of the quick mindless consumption we get with a binge.

There are also low sugar and fat chocolate options including items made with carob powder that is often used to imitate chocolate. The biggest benefit to carob over chocolate is it doesn’t contain any caffeine or other stimulants which can be a challenge for people with cardiovascular and nervous system disorders. It also is naturally sweeter which may be helpful for those with diabetes and other sugar sensitivities.

What about you? How do you get your chocolate fix? Is it a gooey chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven or long drink of chocolate milk (many athletes do drink chocolate milk after a workout to refuel)? Let us know in the comments section! Either way, chocolate can definitely be a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle!