I love, love love chocolate! Do you?
The reality is I cannot sit around eating it all the time if I want to maintain all of the hard work I put in at the gym. Yes, they say that Dark Chocolate has flavonoids (antioxidants) and various health benefits, but as we all know a bit too much indulgence in this decadent treat will quickly add inches to the waistline and dare I say……the hips! Yikes, who needs that.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder with nothing added to it is low fat and loaded with chocolate flavor. When used without the added sugars, flavorings and fat it can give us HUGE satisfaction with very limited extra calories. Cocoa is made from the flavorful chocolate liquor and not the fattening cocoa butter.
As part of my clean, lean, gotta be delicious non depriving meal plan I have found multiple ways to use cocoa powder so I can get my chocolate fix without crazy amounts of calories. Sometimes there are added bonuses to my cocoa indulgences, for example extra calcium and protein in my Mousse Parfait and across the board a vibrant caffeine buzz!!
(How else are we supposed to keep up with little kids without an all natural energy enhancer??!! ) To read more on the benefits of Cocoa please click: www.womenfitness.net
The caffeine and “feel good elements” in Cocoa helps me keep up with my waaaayyy active lifestyle. Adding cocoa powder to my pre-workout drink or snack is the perfect prelude to a high energy workout!
A bit about Cocoa Powder ~ Choices……
I love a very deep, rich chocolate flavor. You have 2 choices when buying cocoa, Dutch processed/Alkalized or natural unsweetened. The Dutch processed has a darker color and a bit milder flavor as it’s acids have been neutralized. The “natural”, non-Dutched has a stronger, more bitter/darker flavor, it is lighter and redder in color. I like them both, it just depends on your taste preference.
For more info and to learn which to choose for baked goods (the different acid contents causes them to react different when baking) click: http://www.joyofbaking.com/cocoa.html
My favorite Cocoa Powders
(Always read ingredient list to make sure the only ingredient is cocoa, generally there is about 1 to 2 grams of fat per tablespoon and 25 calories, super low compared to your average chocolate bar!)
(You can purchase the top 4 items at Whole Foods, the Ghiradelli and Hershey’s can be found at most supermarkets)
- 2 tablespoons high quality unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Liquid: A splash of warm water or any kind of warm milk: dairy, soy, rice, coconut, almond etc..... (use just enough to make a fudgey paste, the warm temperature will help it blend better)
- Vanilla Stevia Drops, sweeten to taste
- Stir all ingredients together, that's it. Use in parfaits, cakes, oatmeal, shakes, ice cream, frozen yogurt and more.
- The stevia drops I use rate 0 on the glycemic index, so this chocolate sauce has no calories and no sugar induced spikes and crashes. You can use honey, maple syrup, agave or brown sugar if you want. Remember that these will all add sugar calories. If you are watching sugar intake then be mindful as to how much sweetener you use.
Chocolate Sauce Recipe Links