Sweets for your sweethearts can come with the gift of health. Thanks to the heart protecting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids that are abundant in dark chocolate and cacao powder, along with some other secret ingredients, you can serve up health in one of the following treats — and no one will be the wiser — but you. No time to whip something up? No worries, choose a bar of dark chocolate that has 70% or more cacao for the highest levels of antioxidants.
Below I offer my favorite trifecta of chocolate treats:
Chia seeds are rich in fiber, protein, healthy omega-3 fats, magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc—and they’ve been found to reduce the inflammation we have in our bodies. The best part? This nutritional superfood is tasteless (other than a pleasant crunchiness), so no one will ever know they are there. These chocolates are super easy to mix up, and they pack up as the perfect sweet surprise in a carry along lunch.
Makes 4 Servings
1 cup almond butter
1 tablespoon honey
1⁄4 cup chia seeds
1⁄4 cup cacao powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup rolled oats or granola
1⁄4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond butter and honey. Add the chia seeds, cacao powder, vanilla, and rolled oats or granola. Mix well. Roll into small balls. (If desired, use a melon scooper to portion out the dough and form it into 8 balls.) Chill in the refrigerator. Press the chocolate chips into the balls. Yum!
Cherry Chocolate Chia Pudding
Makes 1 Serving
(Dairy and gluten-free)
More health benefits from chia seeds here! Plus, cherries, cacao powder, and dark chocolate all pack the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory punch. The recipe can be multiplied for however many sweeties you have in your life.
- 1 cup of vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds, stir into milk to coat seeds
- 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
- 8 – 10 whole cherries, pitted (I like to use frozen)
- 2 teaspoons of cacao powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips
Starting with the almond milk, add each ingredient to a bowl, and mix with each addition. Stir everything together until cocoa powder dissolves in the mixture. If you’re using this for a breakfast treat or a post-work out meal, you may want to skip the added sugar. When it’s mixed well, sprinkle your chocolate chips on top and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The chia seeds will congeal with the ingredients to create a yummy, but healthy pudding that your family will love.
Rich and Creamy Brownies
Makes 9 Servings
I love brownies! Unfortunately, most recipes out there are full of refined flour and sugars. I created this recipe with avocado and coconut oil as the secret ingredients (shhh, no one will ever know). These two components are high in healthy fats and omega-3s, plus the antioxidants from the cacao powder.
- 1 large avocado
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut nectar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine avocado, coconut oil, coconut nectar, and vanilla in a food processor or blender.
3. Add these ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir in eggs.
4. Pour in coconut flour, cacao powder, chocolate chips, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir until well-combined.
5. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with coconut oil and add batter.
6. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.