Ah. That is my sigh of relief because my finals are done and I have officially completed my first year as a nutrition student! What a year it has been for me! These past few weeks have been both stressful, yet enlightening…and also filled with chocolate. Yes, chocolate. I consider chocolate to be a great stress reliever (when consumed in moderation) and for the past week or so I’ve been eating at least one meal or snack that has a chocolatey component. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that chocolate just makes me feel happy! But on a nutrition note, chocolate offers many benefits such as antioxidants and has actually been shown to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) levels overtime (which proves my point that chocolate is a great stress reliever!). I’ve also noticed that lately my diet is heavy in carbohydrates because of my new juicer and that leaves me craving a fat source. Chocolate is rich in fats (mainly saturated and monounsaturated fat) which is why eating a piece of chocolate after a meal can be ever so satisfying.
Two ways that I consumed chocolate this past week were in a delicious, guilt-free, microwave brownie recipe involving black beans (trust me, it tastes better than it sounds!) and a quick breakfast involving chocolate chips. Here are the recipes:
Black Bean Microwave Brownies (serves 1-2)
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup mashed black beans (you can either mash with a spoon or process in a food processor)
- 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- a tsp. or two of almond milk (if mixture needs more liquid)
- chocolate chips (for topping)
Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a microwave bowl, and heat for 3 minutes. Mixture should solidify into a cake-like brownie, but continue to heat if not yet cake-like. Top with chocolate chips and enjoy!
Chocolatey Rice Cake Snack
(This isn’t necessarily a “Recipe”, rather it’s one of my favorite snacks/breakfasts/healthy desserts)
- brown rice cakes
- almond butter (or peanut butter)
- chocolate chips
For a quick treat, eat rice cakes with almond butter, topped with chocolate chips. Make it a meal by pairing it with a juice or smoothie, or if you’re craving protein, eat an egg, cottage cheese, tofu scramble, or whatever your heart desires on the side!
As always, try to listen to your body. The past few weeks have taught me that when I’m stressed, chocolate beckons, and also that high-carb meals can sometimes result in cravings for fat-rich foods. Experiment with what works for you and obey your chocolate cravings in healthy ways! Lastly, if you haven’t done so, feel free to follow me on instagram @vitaminvalentine for daily pictures focused on creative food, wellness, and snapshots of my life!