Brittany Darling is an Accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Herbalist and has joined the Vida Glow team as our Resident Nutritionist
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Tips to Choosing Healthy Chocolate
I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t love chocolate! When indulging this Easter keep in mind that a lot of chocolates are packed with refined sugar, thickeners and emulsifiers and other cheap nasty ingredients that have ill effects on health. Here are my 5 tips to help you choose a healthy chocolate.
- Look for a high cocoa percentage, at least 60% but the higher the better. The higher the percentage the more antioxidants!
- Avoid milk solids. Milk solids’ are a cheap additive that creates that delicious creamy thick texture in chocolate and other foods including yogurt. Milk solids are oxidized sterols (cholesterol) and have been linked to atherosclerosis.
- Keep sugar to the minimum or choose chocolates sweetened with coconut sugar, dates, maple syrup or other more nutritive sweeteners. The first ingredient on the list should not be sugar! Pana Chocolate is a great non-refined and lower sugar option.
- Avoid hydrogenated fats and oils (AKA trans fats). A lot of the more commercial chocolates add these unhealthy fats. Look for chocolates that use real cocoa butter and/or coconut oil.
- Avoid emulsifiers. Soy lecithin is the most commonly used emulsifier. I’m not the biggest fan of soy products. They are usually genetically modified and I’ve found them to be disruptive to the endocrine system.
Alternatively, you can try some of our “healthier” recipes below. Enjoy!
Easter Chocolate Cake
Gluten Free, Nut Free
425g of dark chocolate (I use green and blacks 70-85%)
250g block of organic butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
10 organic eggs (separated)
- Preheat oven to 180c
- Grease a 25cm spring form pan with butter
- Melt butter and chocolate in a heat resistant bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
- Beat eggs whites using a electric whisk (I use kitchen aid) until they form stiff peaks
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until pale
- Allow chocolate mix to cool, then add chocolate mixture to egg yolks and mix well.
- Gradually fold egg whites a little at a time
- Add mixture to spring from pan and place in oven
- Cook for 30-40 minutes in oven or until when pan is moved, the batter doesn’t. It’s ok if this cake is still a little moist in the middle. It’s delicious self saucing!
Serve with fresh organic cream, crème fraiche or whipped coconut cream.
Raw Chocolate Eggs
Gluten free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan
200g cocoa butter
30g raw cocoa powder
2 tbsps. maple syrup (real)
Pinch of salt
Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries (optional)
- Gently melt cocoa in a saucepan on low heat
- Once melted, add the maple syrup, salt and raw cocoa to saucepan.
- Whisk or stir until all combine well
- Place a raspberry in each egg mould (if using)
- Pour the chocolate mixture into silicon moulds
- Place chocolates into freezer and allow to set for at least one hour
- Remove chocolates from moulds and store in airtight container in freezer until ready to enjoy.
*Silicon moulds can be found at home ware and cookware stores.
Chocolate Nice Cream Sandwiches
Gluten Free, Nut Free, Refined Sugar Free, can be Egg Free
100g coconut sugar or rapadura
250g butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder or alcohol free vanilla essence
1 organic egg or use chia seed egg replacer (see note)
390g all-purpose gluten free flour (I like bob’s red mill because its bean based flour rather than white rice)
1 tsp. baking powder
A pinch salt
3 tbsp. raw cocoa
Banana chocolate nice cream
6 ripe bananas cut into small pieces
3 tbsps. raw cocoa powder
2 tbsps. of cocoa nibs or dark chocolate pieces (optional)
- Place bananas in freezer for at least 4-6 hours
- Preheat over to 180c
- Add butter and sugar to a food processer and blitz until creamed
- With the blade still running, add the egg or the chia egg
- Add all remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined
- Shape the dough into 2-3cm sized disks (should make roughly 8-12), using your hands
- Place disks onto baking tray lined with baking paper and flatten dough to roughly ½ cm thickness using a folk
- Cook for 12-14 minutes depending on your oven
- Allow to cool on a wire rack
- To make nice cream, place all ingredients into a clean food processor and blitz until smooth. Depending on the weather, you may need to put nice cream in the freezer for 1-2 hours if melting. If not melting, you can start to construct your sandwiches.
- Add one-two heaped tablespoons of nice cream onto bottom side of one of the cooled biscuits. Add another biscuit to the top and place in freezer immediately.
- Repeat process for remaining biscuits.
- Store in freezer until ready to enjoy!
To make chia seed egg, ground 1 tbsp. chia seeds into a fine powder in food processer or grinder. Mix in 3 tbsps. of water to chia powder. Allow to set into a gel for 5 minutes. Use as you would use an egg.