Shopping with The Holistic Dietitian: Chocolate
I was asked by a participant of my RESTART® class about what to look for when shopping for chocolate (for post-RESTART, of course!). So, I obliged and took a trip out to Central Market to drool over chocolate in the chocolate aisle. In my previous yogurt blog post, I laid out the “ideal” and “standard” options along with a list of what to avoid. I will follow the same fashion in this post.
Chocolate can actually be a superfood in that it is a healthy, nutrient- and antioxidant-rich food, but it’s important to know what to look for when shopping. Many chocolates in the store can be considered counterfeit and lack much of the nutrients it possessed when it was in it’s true state as cacao. So let’s talk chocolate!
What to look for
Choose chocolate based on ingredients list. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. The basics that the chocolate bar may include would be cacao beans, sweetener, and possibly cocoa butter. To put it simply, look for the darkest chocolate bar available (70% or higher). If you’re avoiding dairy, there are plenty of chocolates that are dairy-free, just be sure to read the label carefully. Try to find ethically traded chocolate made with unroasted, organic cacao beans. For the sweetener, best choices would be honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. I haven’t been able to find any in stores with honey or maple syrup but did find quite a few with coconut sugar.
What to avoid
– refined flours
– refined sugars
– soy lechitin
– sugar alcohols