Dessert and weight loss aren’t two words that typically go together, but with the right tips and recipes, can you make delicious guilt-free desserts! Dark chocolate is one of the most beneficial ingredients you can use in desserts. High in nutrients and antioxidants, dark chocolate can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer, and improve your mood, mental health and cognition. Plus with other healthy substitutions, you’re on your way to making healthy yet delicious desserts. Take a look at 36 dark chocolate recipes for weight loss!
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. Rich Source of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants. It contains phytonutrients called flavonoids that act as antioxidants and can decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Cocoa also contains theobromine, which can help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
2. Boosts Your Mood and Improves Cognition
Consuming dark chocolate is good for your brain. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa has been shown to increase neuroplasticity in the brain, which can have positive effects on memory, cognition and mood. The flavonoids in dark chocolate may also have beneficial impacts on the brain, accumulating in regions of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s response to germs and other harmful substances, but chronic inflammation can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis and certain types of cancers. Dark chocolate contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation in the body.
4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Eating dark chocolate can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. The flavonoids in dark chocolate affect high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease. Flavonoids help produce nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax and blood pressure to lower. Polyphenols and theobromines may lower levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the body and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol.
5 Tips for Creating HEALTHY Dark Chocolate Recipes
1. Use Chocolate That is 70% Cocoa or Higher
Cocoa is packed with antioxidants, so when using dark chocolate for cooking or baking, make sure to use chocolate bars that are 70% cocoa or higher for the most health benefits. Cocoa contains nutrients including calcium, iron and magnesium, and offers benefits such as improving heart and brain health. Bars with lower percentages of cocoa have more added sugars and unhealthy fats. Cocoa nibs are a great substitute for chocolate chips.
2. Substitute Your Flour
Flour is a key ingredient in many dessert recipes, but white all purpose flour offers little to no health benefits. It contains no fibre, congests the system and slows down digestion, which creates a sluggish metabolism. Whole wheat flour is a great alternative that offers fibre and nutrients, and you can also get more nutrients from flours like almond flour, coconut flour and oat flour.
3. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Butter
Greek yogurt is nice and thick, which makes it an excellent swap for butter. Plus, it’s swimming in nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin B12. It’s also packed with probiotics – healthy bacteria that can help boost your immune system and decrease stomach issues. Butter on the other hand is a saturated fat, which can increase unhealthy cholesterol, clogging arteries and leading to heart disease.
4. Swap Coconut Cream for Heavy Cream
Coconut cream is an easy, healthy swap for whipped toppings and fillings for anyone who wants to make healthier desserts. Heavy cream is a high-fat dairy ingredient that contains tons of calories. Much of the fat in cream is saturated fat, which can increase your risk of high cholesterol and weight gain. Coconut cream is high in fibre and is also a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E. For coconut cream, just refrigerate your can of regular coconut milk, then scoop off the heavy coconut cream that solidifies on top. Whip it with an electric mixer for a few minutes, and voila!
5. Substitute White Sugar
Refined sugars can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They’re also linked to an increase in depression, dementia, liver disease and certain types of cancer. Instead of using white or refined sugar in your dessert recipes, opt for natural substitutes like maple syrup, honey or dates. You can also use fruit to sweeten your recipes to give them more fibre and nutrients.
12 Healthy Dark Chocolate Recipes
1. Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries | Healthy Recipes
2. Natural Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups | Healthy Liv
3. Paleo Cashew Truffles | Better Homes & Gardens
4. Dark Chocolate Yogurt Brownies | Nutmeg Nanny
5. Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies | Peas and Crayons
6. Whole Gain Chocolate Chip Cookies | Better Homes & Gardens
7. Mini Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes | Simply Recipes
8. Orange Cardamom Chocolate Mousse | Oh My Veggies
9. Crispy Chocolate Tahini Cups | Olive and Mango
10. Double Dark Chocolate Cookies | Better Homes & Gardens
11. No-Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies | Two Peas and Their Pod
12. Dark Chocolate Banana Nut Pops | Better Homes & Gardens
12 Vegan Dark Chocolate Recipes
1. Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake | Rainbow Plant Life
2. Vegan Donuts with Chocolate Glaze | Vegan Heaven
3. Espresso Avocado Chocolate Mousse | Unconventional Baker
4. Chocolate Chunky Monkey Cookies | Go Dairy Free
5. Raw Chocolate Molten Lava Cake | This Rawsome Vegan Life
6. Vegan Chocolate Cake | Vegan Heaven
7. Chocolate Cashew Cream Cupcakes | Protein World
8. No-Bake Chocolate Banana Tart | Bakerita
9. Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge | The Big Man’s World
10. Dark Chocolate Vegan Peanut Butter Cups | Veggie Inspired
11. Vegan Dark Chocolate Pots de Creme | The Endless Meal
12. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge | Bakerita
12 Keto Dark Chocolate Recipes
1. Dark Chocolate Keto Fudge with Cream Cheese | Low Carb Yum
2. Keto Dark Chocolate Cookies | The Best Keto Recipes
3. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark | All Day I Dream About Food
4. Keto Dark Chocolate Mousse | Keto Pots
5. Creamy Keto Dark Chocolate Cups | Keto Diet App
6. Low Carb Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake | Low Carb Maven
7. Low Carb Chocolate Truffle Creme Brulee | Low Carb Maven
8. Rich Chocolate Pudding | Joy Filled Eats
9. Keto Chocolate Bacon Toffee Ice Cream | I Breathe, I’m Hungry
10. Low Carb Chocolate Cookies with Sesame Seeds | Low Carb Maven
11. Keto Chocolate Soufflé | The Nourished Caveman
12. Chocolate Banana Brownies | Low Carb Maven
If you love desserts but are looking for ways to make them healthier for weight loss, give a few of these dark chocolate recipes a try!