You started the day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruit and then grabbed a veggie-packed salad for lunch. And for dinner, you’re planning on whipping up a chicken and broccoli stir-fry with a side of brown rice. Not to be smug about it or anything, but you’re basically the epitome of good health. Except that it’s almost three o’clock and you’re starving. Not only that, but you’re hankering after something specific. Yep, you’re craving chocolate real bad. What gives? Here, some possible explanations for why all you can think about is that Snickers that’s lying at the bottom of your purse.
BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
Now that you’ve pinpointed the source of your cravings, here’s some good news—there are a couple of very cool perks to your favorite snack. Well, sort of. Allow us to explain: Cocoa is rich in antioxidants (substances that fight harmful free radicals in your body) and studies have linked it to lowering cholesterol and improving memory. So far, so good. But here’s the rub: Your favorite candy bar probably doesn’t have that much natural cocoa in it. Instead, it’s most likely loaded with sugar which, you know isn’t exactly great for you. In order to reap the benefits of chocolate, experts say you should opt for dark varieties—at least 70 percent. And remember, moderation is key. (So, a couple of squares is fine but the entire bar, not so much.)
WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU’RE CRAVING CHOCOLATE
1. Fresh fruit. We hear you—boooring. But you know it’s good for you and it just might hit the sweet spot. Make things a little more interesting by turning up the heat—grilling fruits like peaches or pineapple will give you a delicious caramelized flavor.
2. Trail mix. Sure, the chocolate chips are the best part but the nuts, seeds and cereal are pretty tasty, too.
3. Frozen yogurt. Skip the sugar-loaded variety and make your own fro-yo dessert instead. It’s easier than you think, promise. Here’s a recipe for frozen blueberry bites to get you started.