Dark chocolate-covered apricots are perfect for American Heart Month!
Actually, I figure that dark chocolate is perfect for pretty much everyday. Most people who know me well know that dark chocolate is among my very favorite foods.
Why Do I Love Dark Chocolate-Dipped Apricots?
These sweet treats are a super delicious way to keep portions in check. Three pieces provide just barely over 100 calories. And for my friends and clients with diabetes, three pieces ring up only 15 grams of carbohydrate. The apricots are loaded with nutrition, and dark chocolate is – or at least can be – a healthful treat.
Some chocolates contain the same types of health-boosting flavonoids found in apples, berries, grapes, peanut butter and tea. Researchers study flavonoids for their potential health benefits including:
- reducing risks of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- maintaining the flexibility of the blood vessels
- reducing blood pressure
- tamping down low levels of chronic inflammation
- boosting antioxidant status within the body
- improving cognitive function
What's tastier than chocolate for Heart Month! How to pick a better-for-you chocolate.Click To Tweet
How to Pick Dark Chocolate for Health
The darker the chocolate – meaning the greater the cocoa solids – the greater the likelihood of getting disease-shielding flavonoids. Unfortunately, manufacturers often remove these health-boosting compounds during manufacturing. It’s usually impossible to know for sure. However, a square of chocolate with 85% cocoa solids will likely have more than a square with only 72% cocoa solids, which will have more than a square with 56% cocoa solids. White chocolate has none. Another benefit to darker chocolate is that it typically has less sugar than other chocolates.
Skip the ooey-gooey add-ins like vanilla cream, nougat and caramel. They add nothing but unhealthful fats and too much sugar. Dark-chocolate covered nuts are treasure troves of nutrition and deliciousness.
Regardless, pick something that you really enjoy, and eat a small portion.Pair dark-chocolate & dried apricots in this heart-healthy dessert recipe from @NutritionJill #HeartMonthClick To Tweet
For more suggestions about fitting chocolate into a healthful diet, read Spotlight on Chocolate!
What are some of your favorite chocolate treats, and how do you manage your portions?
- 1½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2½ ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 24 dried apricot halves
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, lemon juice, cinnamon and dried apricots. Bring to a boil. Then cover and leave to simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the dried apricots are plump.
- Meanwhile place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for about 90 seconds or until thoroughly melted. Stir every 15 or so seconds.
- Using tongs, remove the apricots one at a time, shaking off the excess water. Dip half or more of each apricot into the melted chocolate.
- Place the dipped apricots onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before removing.
- Store the apricots in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Check out my post all about my love for chocolate and how it loves you back, How to Love Chocolate and Keep Your Diet Healthy.