We don’t think it’s a good idea to take away the delight of good food, and we definitely want you to indulge in (albeit in moderation) your sweet tooth every now and then. To begin with let’s just put it out there that moderate chocolate consumption has been known to cause muscle changes that improve athletic endurance. Also, in 2011, the University of Cambridge reported that eating dark chocolate can lower rates of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease, thanks to its high concentrations of antioxidants called flavonols.

That’s good news for runners and non-runners alike. Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean you dive head first into a barrel of chocolate. You have to be very prudent with your portioning and you can reap the above mentioned health benefits only when you eat the right type and amount of chocolate – basically up to 50 g of dark chocolate per day.

We are going to help you with 3 chocolate-based desserts which are healthy (as healthy as dessert can be) and wrapped in the goodness of cocoa. Remember, portion control is key, and keeping that greed in check is all about mind over matter.

Chocolate truffles

What you need

• 1 cup cocoa powder
• 1 cup raw and unsalted cashews
• 1 cup (about 12 large) pitted medjool (or regular) dates
• ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• ½ tsp vanilla
• ¼ tsp sea salt

How to make it

▪ In a food processor, process the cashews and cocoa until the cashews are like a fine flour.
▪ Add the dates, oil, syrup, vanilla and salt. Process until the mixture is completely smooth.
▪ Put the mixture into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to let harden/cool to make it easier to roll into balls.
▪ Roll into small balls the size of a truffle and roll in unsweetened raw coconut, icing sugar mixed with cocoa powder, chia seeds or hemp seeds.
▪ Freeze. To consume, leave out for 5 minutes and then enjoy!

Almond Butter Cups

What you need

▪ ¼ cup pure, natural almond butter (crunchy or smooth)
▪ ¾ finely ground raw, unsalted almonds OR use almond meal/flour
▪ 1-2 Tbsp honey (depending on your palate)
▪ 150 grams dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher)
▪ 1½ tsp melted virgin coconut oil
▪ 32 mini parchment paper muffin cups

How to make it

▪ Process your almonds until finely ground.
▪ In a bowl, mix the almond butter, almond meal and honey.
▪ Divide the batter into 32 individual balls, roll into smooth balls and pat flat into coins.
▪ In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and oil on low, stirring constantly. Do not overheat. It should melt into a liquid pool of chocolate.
▪ In the mini paper muffin cups, drizzle a small amount of the chocolate to cover the bottom of each cup.
▪ Place an almond butter coin on the chocolate.
▪ Drizzle more chocolate over each almond butter coin until just covered.
▪ Freeze for 10-15 minutes until set.

Chocolate cherry cookies

What you need

▪ ½ cup spelt or whole wheat flour
▪ ⅓ cup raw cacao (or cocoa)
▪ ⅓ cup raw cane sugar
▪ ½ tsp baking powder
▪ ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
▪ ¼ bar (25g) dark chocolate
▪ 2 Tbsp tart cherry juice

How to make it

▪ Heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
▪ Mix the flour, cacao, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
▪ In a small saucepan, melt the oil, baking chocolate and cherry juice.
▪ Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix thoroughly.
▪ Form into 12 round balls, place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
▪ Bake for 10 minutes.

As easy as that! Remember, sharing is caring, so one way of making sure that you don’t overeat these chocolate treats is to share them with your friends. That way you stay fit and surrounded with friends!

Bon appètit!

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