Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m a chocolate addict.
I’m about to give it up for Lent since I give up all sweeteners, and it’s going to be rough. So I think I’ll talk about chocolate all week, including a chocolate frosting recipe and this great reader question:
My current problem lies with chocolate: how to choose it? Healthy/not healthy? When does it stop being real food and start being processed food? Also my kids are used to drinking chocolate powder with milk for breakfast, but it’s full of sugar and other things – what would be a healthy alternative? She’s in France, by the way, where this chocolate milk for breakfast is like a national tradition…
Such a good question! (says she who just munched a bar of chocolate at her desk) 😉
So can Chocolate be Healthy?
With chocolate, step one is that it’s always a sometimes food, a compromise, if it is sweetened at all (and when is it not, really?). So we start there –
don’t eat it often.
Sad news, I know.
To break down whether it’s a “processed food” or not, we can look at what other ingredients are in there. Are there any unhealthy fats? What kind of sweetener? For example, cocoa powder in a homemade recipe with a touch of raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!) is a different thing than a Snickers bar or a chocolate ice cream cone or a Hershey bar even.
Of course all chocolate is processed; we’re not eating cacao beans straight. But in the perspective of a “processed food that is so unhealthy and over-processed with additives that we shouldn’t even bother eating it,” there are some lines to draw in the sand.
Chocolate can be healthy – the actual cocoa – but it’s the sugar that comes with it that is a problem.
There’s also the fair trade issue – whether the chocolate farmers are getting fair wages and not using child or slave labor – but that’s another question entirely.
As for chocolate milk in the morning, I would personally go for a non-sugary drink, like just milk or water. But we’re boring like that! If your kids would really balk at anything but chocolate milk, why not add cocoa powder and a bit of honey or maple syrup to regular milk?
Some Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate
In case you needed an excuse:
- Mark Sisson’s mini-eBook about foods to eat for a healthy gut includes dark chocolate as one of the six! (I had to read that after downloading it from the PaleoDork bundle, which is totally free – crazy! – through February 12th. Hurry!)
- Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, a mineral that most Americans are deficient in.
- Dark chocolate has flavanoids, which contain cancer-protective antioxidants and heart-healthy flavanols that may lower blood pressure and heart disease risk. (sources: 1, 2)
- Food for Thought: Health Benefits of Cinnamon, Raw Honey and Dark Chocolate – Learn how these three ingredients can help your overall health (I know I enjoy them all separately and in one package!)
- “It’s not Fair!” We All Should Complain About Chocolate – You may love the taste, but do you know how it gets to your local store? Find out how human trafficking is related to cocoa harvesting.
- Homemade Healthier Chocolate Bars – Naturally Sweetened – Customize your craving with this super simple recipe!
- Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles Recipe (Dairy-free, Gluten-free) – Get the kids involved in creating these allergen-friendly sweets.
- The Secret to the Most Amazing Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Ever – Easy, hands-off, no-cook ice cream in under 30 minutes.
@ZelieandCo on Instagram, a group of Catholic Artisans including a friend of mine, have teamed up with some of their favorite bloggers for a charity auction to benefit 10 different Catholic charities! Starts tomorrow at 9am Central and bidding continues until midnight CST. There will be 11 different sets of handmade treasures, each set valued over $100!
You can hear all about it on Sirius XM Catholic Channel 129 @3:40pm EST on the Jennifer Fulwiler show! (Attend the auction just by gong to @ZelieandCo