How to Serve Up Health with Chocolate

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 Chocolates

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.
8. Enjoy!