9 Chocolate Desserts That Are Actually Good for You
Last Updated: Oct 03, 2016
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Attention, all chocolate lovers: Chocolate is good for you! Cocoa is naturally rich in dietary polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Plus, they can help protect against fatty deposits on artery walls. Unfortunately, when cocoa is transformed into decadent desserts, added sugars can outweigh chocolate’s potential benefits. But it doesn’t have to! There’s plenty of plant-based goodness and bonus nutrients packed within each of these chocolaty treats -- from raspberries, chickpeas and avocados to pistachios, chia seeds and more. So go on and get your chocolate fix!
RASPBERRY-LACED DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Small amounts of indulgent treats can be included as part of a healthful eating plan. And brownies are definitely indulgent! Our brownies are deliciously rich, yet they still provide nutritional benefits. Rather than white flour, this recipe uses fiber-rich whole-wheat pastry flour. Plus, these fudgy bites are loaded with tart raspberries, supplying you with heart-friendly antioxidants and additional fiber.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Raspberry-Laced Dark Chocolate Brownies
PULSE CHOCOLATE-CHIP COOKIES
Fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies are hard to say “no” to, especially for anyone with a sweet tooth. This gluten-free version contains pulses in two ways -- as garbanzo bean flour and as roasted chickpeas. These pulses are rich in phenolic acids and are notable for their satiety-boosting double whammy of protein and fiber. And the roasted chickpeas create an amazing crunch!
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Pulse Chocolate-Chip Cookies
FRESH MINT-CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE
This mint-chocolate smoothie is out-of-this-world refreshing. And it’s absolutely OK to make it scrumptious too. It gets its natural sweetness from a combination of fiber-rich pitted dates and frozen banana slices. Top it off with a few fresh mint leaves, which can help promote digestion.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Fresh Mint-Chocolate Smoothie
SIMPLE CHOCOLATE “GELATO”
Some folks call this banana-based frozen dessert “nice cream.” But it has such a velvety texture that “gelato” seems like a more apt descriptor. Either way, there’s no milk or added sugar here. This recipe uses frozen and fully ripened bananas, which are packed with potassium. You’ll whip the bananas with unsweetened cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract and sea salt. The salt helps to balance cocoa’s natural bitterness.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Simple Chocolate “Gelato”
DOUBLE-CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Our zucchini muffins combine cocoa and chocolate chips for a double dose of chocolaty goodness. For sweetness, a just-right amount of sugar is coupled with banana, pure vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon. Cinnamon is considered a “sweet spice” because it provides an essence of sweetness without added sugar. The spice can help regulate blood sugar levels too.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
FLUFFY VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH STRAWBERRIES
Have a ripe avocado? You’ll want to give this vegan recipe a go! It’s a mousse-like dessert that requires no dairy or eggs. Instead, avocado provides creaminess, heart-friendly fats and about 20 vitamins and minerals. You’ll simply whirl the fruit with raspberry preserves and coconut nectar for sweetness. Add cocoa powder and vanilla extract for flavor, and toss in sea salt and balsamic vinegar for balance. Chilling the mixture for a couple of hours marries these unique ingredients together. It’s topped with vibrant strawberries for a kick of vitamin C.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Fluffy Vegan Chocolate Mousse With Strawberries
CHIA CHOCOLATE-PISTACHIO BARK
Calling this treat “bark” doesn’t do it justice! It’s one of the tastiest and easiest desserts to make. This three-ingredient version is made with melted chocolate combined with chia seeds and roasted and salted pistachios. Pistachios are rich in protein and monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol. They also brim with antioxidants, which can help guard against free-radical damage. And chia seeds offer a plant-based source of heart-healthy omega-3s.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Chia Chocolate-Pistachio Bark
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED FROZEN PINEAPPLE MINI-POPS
For a fun and tasty snack, try making these mini-pops. They consist of pineapple dipped in dark chocolate, transforming fresh fruit into a fun food with benefits. In addition to providing vitamin C, pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which potentially plays a role in repairing tendon injuries and reducing the swelling of soft-tissue injuries. Though what may have you coming back for seconds is the cayenne in the chocolate coating; it delivers a surprisingly delightful kick.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Pineapple Mini-Pops
CHOCOLATE CRISPY RICE BARS
Goodbye, store-bought candy bars! There’s no need to buy any when you’ve got this recipe in hand. These easy, no-bake chocolate bars are loaded with 100 percent whole-grain puffed brown rice cereal. Enjoying one is definitely a fabulously lip-smacking way to boost your whole-grain intake. The puffed brown rice cereal provides airiness and crunch. It’s also healthier than commercial crispy white rice cereal, which likely contains BHT, a preservative that may have a negative impact on the thyroid. Skip the preservatives and enjoy this scrumptious bar as an anytime snack or dessert.
Related: For the Full Recipe -- Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars
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