After a stressful day, our tendency is to reward ourselves with a treat, most often, a gooey chocolate dessert. The problem is, once you’ve stopped thinking “I deserve this, I must have it,” the guilt sets in and start counting calories and sugar, thinking “Why did I do that?” Then, not only are you stressed out by your long day, but also by the reward that was supposed to make it better!
It’s time to stop the stress cycle for good. Here are five ways to indulge in chocolate without the guilt:
1. Choose wisely. First, there is a difference between a cheap chocolate cookie and a good quality dark chocolate. Picking an organic, fair-trade chocolate that is at least 60% cacao ensures you will get the great benefits in cacao (read on to learn what they are!) with the least amount of sugar and chemicals.
2. Let it melt in your mouth. Through amazing chocolate engineering, healthy fats in cocoa butter melt at about 90-93 degrees, a.k.a. the melt-in-your-mouth temperature. Not only do healthy fats help you feel satiated and contribute to better skin and hair, but letting the chocolate melt in your mouth can create a sort of mindful meditation and increase your feelings of well-being and satisfaction.
3. Crazy cravings. Your addiction to chocolate could be linked to a magnesium deficiency, since magnesium is a mineral found in cacao. Most adults in the U.S. don’t get enough of magnesium, particularly women and particularly during the menstrual cycle (See? You’re not as crazy-hormonal as you think!). Not only does magnesium play a role in over 300 biological reactions in the body, but it aids bone density and heart health and could help you feel more relaxed and get a better night’s sleep.
4. Let it glow. Can chocolate cause acne? Hardly. It actually has high levels of antioxidant flavanols, the same compounds in green tea and berries. Try a chocolate mask or foot soak for a total chocolate experience.
5. Power up. Just like your muscles become fatigued when you work out, your willpower also depletes the more times you use it. By letting yourself indulge in one piece of chocolate, you are saving your willpower for bigger decisions down the road.
Next time you feel a raging chocolate craving coming on, choose wisely, pick out your one to two squares, and then let them slowly melt in your mouth, benefitting from all the vitamins and minerals chocolate contains and feeling totally stress and guilt-free about the healthy choice you made.