by Lauren Bongiorno
Last month’s Valentine’s Day had me thinking about how chocolate does not have a very good reputation in the Diabetic community. It is invariably put on the “bad food” list and often only eaten during cheat meals, holidays, or unplanned nighttime binges. From what I’ve observed, many diabetics are convinced that chocolate does not do KIND things to their blood sugar and so they try to stay away from it even though they love the taste and wish they could have it more often.
What if I told you though, that I’m a diabetic, and I not only eat chocolate almost every single day, but I do so without spiking my blood sugar?
Chocolate is not the enemy. In an article published on Mind Body Green, “3 Healthy Reasons To Eat Chocolate Every Day,” naturopathic physician Michael Murray explains the many great benefits of eating chocolate. According to Murray, chocolate is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants that are important in protecting the heart, chocolate produces arginine that helps regulate blood flow and blood pressure, and chocolate helps to prevent excessive clumping together of blood platelets that can cause blood clots. Plus, it tastes DELICIOUS!
So why not learn how to incorporate it into your diet more without it affecting your blood sugar? From my experience and observation, I’ve learned that diabetics and chocolate do not mix well when the wrong type of chocolate is eaten, and in large amounts.
So what’s the right type of chocolate and how do you manage to not overeat it? Oh, I’m so glad you asked! The right type of chocolate is one that does not have both high carbs AND high fat. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. The high fat will block the insulin from treating the carbs, and you’ll be left with a spike. Most candy bars, milkshakes, and restaurant desserts are HIGH FAT and HIGH CARBS. You’ll want to select a chocolate that has either high fat/low carb or moderate carb/low fat ratio.
When we look at how to have self-control when eating chocolate, think of the “don’t touch the cookie jar” phenomenon. When someone says, “don’t touch the cookie jar” it’s equivalent to “don’t eat chocolate during the week” or “no chocolate this month during my diet”. Restriction just wants to make you have it more! I allow myself to have chocolate every day so my body doesn’t feel like the one time a week I allow myself to have it I need to stuff my face and go overboard. It’s about moderation.
Below are three recipes to make at home as a way to start sneaking chocolate into your diet more often without having the negative effects of high blood sugar!
1. Chocolate Bliss Balls
Carbs: 5g per ball
Fat: 4g per ball
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup peanut, almond butter or sunflower seed butter
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp flour
- Chocolate chips
Directions: Melt the nut butter in the microwave for a couple of seconds. Then, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. Roll into balls, place on a plate or tray, store in fridge and enjoy!
2. Chocolate Zucchini Waffles (Recipe adopted from Thriving Home), Makes 12 square waffles
Carbs: 17.3 per waffle
Fat: 6g per waffle
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 and ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder sifted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¾ cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup zucchini, pureed in a food processor
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Directions: Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar and melted coconut oil. Whisk in beaten egg, milk, and pureed zucchini. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour about ¼ cup mix per waffle and cook according to waffle iron instructions.
3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, *Makes about 12 mini cups
Carbs: 4.5g per cup
Fat: 4g per cup
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil
- Drop of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons organic peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter (make sure the brand has no oils, or sugars added)
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- *12, 1 1/2 inch baking liners
Directions: Melt chocolate and oil on stove top on low heat while continuously stirring (It’s really important not to let the chocolate burn!) Spray oil inside of baking liners (I used a coconut oil spray from Whole Foods®). Add a tiny bit of chocolate to the bottom of the liner (this is your bottom layer) and place in freezer for 5 minutes until hardened. While bottom layer is setting in the freezer, combine nut butter, honey and vanilla extract in a separate bowl to prepare your filling. After the bottom layer has hardened, remove from freezer and add 1 teaspoon of your nut butter filling to each cup and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Add the rest of the chocolate to each cup until filling is covered. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until cups harden and then you’re done! Store in fridge or freezer.
These are suggested recipes that work for me, but always remember to consult your physician first if you have concerns about integrating chocolate into your daily meals.
If you have any questions about the above, please let us know by clicking on “Leave a Reply” at the top of this post.