Congrats to you, if you’re able to make it through February without caving in to a cute little, or big, heart shaped box of chocolate. In Community Education,we adhere to the all-food-fits mentality, and the 80-20 rule (eat 80 percent healthy & awesome, leaving 20 % for treats and eating out). Meaning, go ahead and have chocolate in moderation. But when it’s everywhere we go, how does “moderation” stay in play?
First, consider your whole diet. If you eat very limited amounts of added sugar and fat, 1-2 pieces of chocolate a day may be just fine. For others, just eating 1 or 2 isn’t an option, the flood gates will open and then it’s hard to stop. Buying single serving options, or taking one and physically moving yourself away from temptation can help.
If you’re more of the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too type, maybe limiting sweets during the week, in order to enjoy a chocolatey dessert on the weekend is your best bet. If you do plan on dessert, make sure to eat enough during the day so you aren’t overly hungry when dessert rolls around. Choose a healthier than usual entrée, think grilled protein and veggies minus the bread or other starches or an appetizer size entree, to make sure you have tummy room for dessert.
Finally, if chocolate is going to remain a consistent love in your life, for yourself or the ones you love, just like any other food, read the label. Choosing a less processed chocolate means you may get a little more of the flavanols, one of the types of anti-oxidants, found in cocoa beans. Compare the fat and sugar content of some of your favorite brands and go with the lower options. Dark chocolate is typically lower in sugar and fat, but it’s still a good idea to check.
Enjoy snapping off a little of your favorite bar, or eating the last piece in your fancy box, knowing that you’ve found a way to fit chocolate into your healthy lifestyle.