Are you crazy about chocolate, but afraid to give in to your cravings lest you pile on the pounds? Chocolate has always been regarded as a strict no-no for weight watchers.
The high sugar and fat content of chocolate is the main reason for people trying to avoid it. But chocolate fanatics need not despair, as there are ways to savor it without fearing weight gain.
Furthermore, eating chocolate is not a bad thing as the hype surrounding it makes you believe. Studies actually prove that there are several benefits linked to chocolate. It can lower cholesterol levels, prevent cognitive decline and also reduce cardiovascular risk. Isn’t that awesome.
And dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which can boost your immunity and keep you healthy. So, are you eager to learn how to have your chocolate and eat it too?
Here are a few tips to satisfy your chocolate cravings without busting your waistline.
Portion Size Matters
Eating in moderation always works, regardless of the weight loss program, you are following. Here are a few ways in which you can do this.
- Fix a limit on the chocolate squares you can eat per portion. You will not feel guilty about eating chocolate. Guilt can trigger unwanted binging habits.
- Eat just one or two chocolate squares, whether it is daily or once in two or three days. The frequency depends on the weight loss you want to achieve and your capacity to limit your intake.
- You can even pack the chocolates in portions beforehand in bags of two or single squares.
- Have your chocolate treat for the day during breakfast or before lunch. This will help you feel energetic, less emotional and you will not try to binge on chocolate or junk foods to counter your stressful day.
- Fitness experts say that 50 grams of chocolate (dark) can give you all benefits you can get from chocolate without adding adverse calories.
Avoid Skipping Meals
Many people try to skip their breakfast or lunch to make up for the chocolate binge they want to indulge in later. This is a disastrous idea.
With just chocolate as your only intake, you are loading up on high GI content. This increases blood sugar levels and insulin and the chocolate will be rapidly digested and released as fast energy.
Thus, your blood sugar will see a sudden rise and fall. When the energy is lost, you feel tired, irritable and hungry. You try to compensate it by binge eating.
Instead, you should focus on a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure you add plenty of veggies and lean protein to your regular diet.
Stick To Dark Chocolate
Make sure you eat more of dark chocolate. And choose high quality brands to get the maximum benefits of chocolate. For instance, the percentage of cocoa will help in identifying the right one.
The higher the cocoa content the more the benefits you get. Cocoa powder has around 96% cocoa, while dark chocolate contains up to 80%. However white chocolate and milk chocolate contain very little of cocoa.
Avoid milk or white chocolate as they contain high calories with no antioxidant benefits. Look for dark chocolate that has a minimum of 60% cocoa and cocoa butter instead of coconut oil or palm oil. The less amount of milk solids, additives and sugar the chocolate contains the better.
Tweak Your Weight Loss Routine
Keep track of the calories you consume daily. This will help you know the number of calories you should restrict for reaching your weight loss goal.
Set a specific schedule and meal plan for every week or day and plan your menu beforehand. This will limit the calories you consume and also prevent you from choosing unhealthy options
Make sure the calories you consume are from whole grains, veggies, lean proteins and fruits.
Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This helps as an appetite suppressant.
Say no to candies, candy bars, Easter bunnies and other milk chocolate varieties. When compared to dark chocolate, milk chocolate has more of cholesterol and sugar, and less of nutrients and cocoa, thus no flavonoids.
Savor Dark Chocolate
Not a fan of dark chocolate? The bitter taste is not palatable to many. However, you can avoid this by choosing flavored dark chocolate varieties. Spices or essences are used to make dark chocolate taste better without increasing its calorie content.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids that provide various health benefits. However, the benefits can be attained only when you choose the right variety. The glossy, dark and solid bars indicate better quality than the bars with small holes, spots or grayish or white tints.
Try out dark chocolate recipes like cookies, pudding or mousse. Make sure you do not increase the fat or sugar content while making these delicious recipes.
Wine and chocolate pairing also work well and brings more benefits as both are rich in flavonoids. Similarly, chocolate and coffee combination are another great way to savor your favorite snack. But make sure you drink black coffee. Tea too has flavonoids and pairs well with chocolate.
Go For Chocolate Drinks
Hot chocolate is a favorite drink of many. Choose a low sugar or sugar free variety. Sip and savor the flavor without the guilt of piling up calories. However, avoid chocolate milk or milkshakes as these have more of sugar and calories.
You can crumble dark chocolate and sprinkle it on your fruit salad or yogurt. This can enhance the flavor and also satisfy your chocolate craving.
As you can see, craving chocolate is not as sinful as people make it to be. You can plan and schedule your meals and health program so that you do not forego your favorite chocolate. The above tips help you to add chocolate in its best form, savor it and still keep losing weight. While you are planning your chocolate added meals, make sure you focus on a proper exercise schedule. With the right foods and exercise, adding a bit of chocolate will not have any negative impact. Try out our tips and share your experience with us.