If you love chocolate but want to lose weight, there are ways to keep those calories from sabotaging your diet. Pick the right kind of chocolate, control your portions, and eat a balanced diet. Here are some suggestions for taking care of your health while you indulge your sweet tooth.
How to choose the right chocolate:
- Eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is good for your heart and overall health. Studies show that it contains plant flavonoids and antioxidants that can improve the functioning of your blood vessels and protect you from clogged arteries. When you want something sweet, go with dark chocolate.
- Drink cocoa. Cocoa is the ingredient that endows dark chocolate with its health benefits. Drinking unsweetened cocoa powder in skim milk is another way to get the flavor you crave without much fat or calories. Just keep in mind that milk can interfere with how your body absorbs the antioxidants. Another alternative is to sprinkle some cocoa in your yogurt.
- Try chocolate-flavored products with no calories. Suck on sugar-free hard candies in chocolate flavors. A small indulgence can help keep you from feeling deprived, which will keep you from splurging on something that will wreck your diet.
- Enjoy chocolate scents. In between meals, surround yourself with chocolate scents. Today, you can find products ranging from candles to lip balms.
- Avoid milk chocolate and white chocolate. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids, and milk chocolate contains much less than the darker version. Dark chocolate is much more nutritious, especially when you’re trying to limit your overall calories.
How to control your portions:
- Plan ahead. Limit your treats to once a day. If you want fudge brownies with dinner, pass on the birthday cake at the office. When you’ve had a chocolate croissant for breakfast, eat berries for dessert.
- Eat slowly. Enjoy your food by sitting down and savoring every bite. Eating slower will also help you notice when you’re full.
- Share desserts. Many restaurants serve huge portions. Ask for one dessert and two spoons so you and your companion can share. You’ll both be better off.
- Give away holiday chocolates. Getting a huge assortment of chocolates for Christmas or your birthday may be too much temptation for any chocolate lover. Take them to the office or put them out for your houseguests to enjoy. Most artisan chocolates should be eaten while fresh, but some varieties may be frozen for a later date.
- Buy individual truffles. Many bakeries, candy shops, and department stores sell individual pieces of candy or slices of cake. If you find it difficult to resist the lure of a whole box of cookies, take just one home.
How to eat a balanced diet:
- Know your calories. A three-and-a-half ounce chocolate bar contains about 480 calories. A single Hershey’s Kiss has about 25 calories. Even though dark chocolate is healthy, you need to closely monitor the amount you eat if you’re trying to lose weight. Those calories can add up fast!
- Replace other sweets with dark chocolate. One easy strategy is to replace less nutritious snacks and desserts with chocolate. Two Hershey’s Kisses is far less calories than a bag of almost any potato chips. And if you have a chocolate treat as part of your daily routine, you’ll be more motivated keep eating the complex carbohydrates, plant foods, and lean proteins necessary for a balanced diet.
- Get more exercise. Complement your healthy eating with regular exercise. Daily aerobics is the best way to lose weight safely. Take a walk or go ride a bike. Look for opportunities to stay active throughout the day, like doing floor exercises during television commercials.
As long as you stick with dark chocolate, the treats you love can be good for your health. Practice moderation, and you can eat a little bit of chocolate every day without gaining weight.