Just in case it being a day of the week that ends in "y" isn't a good enough reason to treat yourself to chocolate, July 7 is National Chocolate Day. Chocolate often gets a bad reputation as being an unhealthy food choice, but it's actually high in antioxidants and flavonoids that are linked to opening arteries, resisting heart disease and improving moods. It's really only when chocolate contains a lot of added sugar or is combined with other fattening foods that it can become a problem in your diet.
The recipes listed here are a perfect way to embrace National Chocolate Day without derailing your summer health goals. Simple switches like using dark chocolate instead of milk, or using avocado instead of cream are easy ways to lighten up treats like muffins, truffles and candy.
Dark chocolate avocado truffles
When you crave a decadent chocolatey treat, few things hit the spot like a truffle. Unfortunately, most truffles are made with heavy cream, which can be damaging to your waistline if you have trouble limiting yourself to just one. These rich little truffles substitute an avocado for the cream, making for a tasty treat with reduced guilt. The creamy texture of the avocado mixes with the chocolate to create the same ganache-like texture. And the best part is, you can’t even tell that a switch was made. Click here for the recipe.
Double chocolate avocado cookies
Chocolate avocado cookies are rich and decadent, but a few simple substitutions make them a bit healthier than your standard chocolate treat. Wheat flour is used instead of white. The sugar is reduced and used in combination with raw honey. And most notably, healthy fats from avocado and coconut oil make these cookies nice and chewy without the use of butter or eggs. While you won’t be able to taste the avocado or coconut oil, the texture they create is wonderful. The cookies are incredibly soft, and with a double dose of chocolate from cocoa powder and chocolate chips, they have a fudge brownie flavor to them. Click here for the recipe.
Chocolate zucchini oat muffins
These chocolate zucchini muffins taste more like a treat than something that’s actually quite good for you. Soft and moist and full of chocolate flavor, it’s hard to believe that they’re low in fat and calories and packed with nutritional value. Because of the way the ingredients are mixed in the food processor, even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time distinguishing that they’re really eating oats, yogurt and fruit. Click here for the recipe.
Chocolate-dipped clementines with sea salt
This recipe for chocolate-dipped clementines with sea salt is super simple, delicious, and has the bonus of actually being relatively low in fat and calories and high in nutrients. Made with just three ingredients and no baking required, it can’t get much easier. Just dip peeled clementines in your favorite melted chocolate and sprinkle a little sea salt on top before the chocolate hardens. The result is a treat that’s juicy, sweet and just a little salty. Click here for recipe.
Homemade peanut butter chocolate eggs
This recipe pays tribute to a favorite Easter candy, peanut butter eggs, but you can really make them any time of year. While the store-bought candies are undeniably delicious, there’s something special about making them yourself. A few tweaks are made here to make them a bit healthier than the commercial version while still maintaining that wonderful peanut butter and chocolate combination. Natural peanut butter is sweetened with honey and just a bit of powdered sugar. Oats add some nutritional value in addition to giving them a firmer texture for shaping. And while you’re welcome to use milk chocolate like the traditional candy, heart-healthy dark chocolate was used here for a richer flavor. Click here for recipe.
Dark chocolate raspberry oat muffins
Go ahead, eat chocolate for breakfast. These dark chocolate raspberry muffins have a rich chocolate flavor with a hint of fruity tang from raspberry fruit spread mixed in the batter. The best part is that they’re made with ingredients such as bananas, oats, Greek yogurt and iron-rich cocoa so that they’re actually good for you. Click here for recipe.