The 7th of July is World Chocolate Day, and we’ve got great news for all the chocolate lovers out there — your favourite sweet treat can be part of a healthy diet. Forget demonising food, these days nutritionists and health coaches are all about promoting food positivity where no food is off-limits and even sweet treats like chocolate can be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet.
Many foods have been given a bad rap at one time or another, and you may have eliminated them from your diet (or still eat them, but with guilt). But, today following a healthy diet is less about restriction, which can lead to overindulgence in the long run, and more about keeping tabs on your daily calorie intake and tracking overall macronutrients. This dietary approach is said to be better for your overall mental health and ensures your body is getting all the good stuff it needs while still allowing for a few treats here and there. Foods have different calories and macronutrient contents and fuel the body differently, deciding what you put into your body and what’s healthy for you is about personal preference. Many nutritionists and health coaches today are of the opinion that viewing certain foods as unhealthy can warp your perception and negatively impact your eating habits and mental health.
Chocolate: The good, the bad, and the ugly
When it comes to chocolate, you’ve heard a gazillion times that dark chocolate is a good choice, thanks to research that suggests its disease-fighting flavanols can help reduce blood pressure and protect against cardiovascular disease. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only chocolate you can consume. Both dark chocolate and milk chocolate have a place in a healthy, balanced diet. One may be more nutritious than the other, but that doesn’t mean the other can’t be enjoyed. Deciding which types of chocolate you want to indulge in is a personal choice and may change from day to day, and hey, that’s ok!
For the occasions when you’re looking to indulge in a sweet chocolate treat that satisfies your cravings while also helping you meet your daily macros, there are loads of options available for South Africans with a sweet tooth. But with so many options on the shelves how do you figure out which ones are worth a try? To help you I’ve rounded up some of my favourite ‘healthy’ chocolate options that offer a little more than just a straight-up sugar rush.
GD Chocolate Slabs
These vegetarian, sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate slabs contain no cane sugar, are sweetened using raw honey, and flavoured with fresh non-artificial ingredients. Plus, the brand’s use of a pure and ethically sourced superfood, cocoa, means that your treat is loaded with important mineral magnesium, theobromine (which aids heart health), anti-oxidants and tryptophan (a natural anti-depressant that helps stress relief). What’s more, GD chocolates contain no soya lecithin, preservatives, artificial colourants or flavourants. Basically, it’s the chocolate treat that keeps on giving.
GD Chocolate is passionate about bringing deliciously healthy chocolate options to the South African market and we thank them for it. When it comes to sugar-free, nutritious chocolate GD Chocolate is knocking it out of the park. The GD chocolate slabs are available in a variety of decadent flavours including, Lemon & Black Pepper, Plain, Vanilla, Coffee, Orange, Mint, as well as Rooibos & Matcha. The Plain and Vanilla flavours are also available as a vegan and keto-friendly option without honey, using Erythritol as a sweetener. I’ve tried the Plain vegan slab, Mint, Coffee, and Lemon & Black Pepper. The slabs sweetened with honey have a unique texture that is beyond anything you’ll find in ordinary chocolate slabs. While still luxurious and creamy the chocolate has a touch of that lovely honey crunch you get when you eat raw, natural honey. It’s divine and oh-so-satisfying. The Plain vegan option is also delicious but has a smooth texture similar to normal chocolate bars.
Find it at Wellness Warehouse at R55.95 per 100g slab.
Coti Zero Sugar Added Chocolate Slabs
Appease your sweet tooth while lowering your sugar intake with Coti Zero Sugar Added chocolate slabs. Locally manufactured in Port Elizabeth, Coti says it “strives to make the best tasting chocolate it can at an affordable price to consumers.” The Coti Zero Sugar Added range was added to the Coti Chocolate product lineup to help chocolate lovers get their Coti fix while still reducing their sugar intake as part of a healthier lifestyle. The chocolates are made using Fairtrade certified cocoa from West Africa and all the milk comes from South African cows. It is this milk that gives the natural sugar elements to the recipe in the form of lactose. For sweetness instead of sugar, Coti uses Maltitol, a gluten-free and tooth-friendly sweetener.
Despite having no added sugar the Coti Zero Sugar Added chocolate tastes great. The range features three varieties including Mint Choc, Milk Choc and Dark Choc. Coti believes that there is no point in developing a zero added sugar chocolate that does not match up the same taste of a bar made with sugar and so the team set out to make the very best tasting zero sugar added chocolate in South Africa at an affordable price. With many zero added sugar chocolate bars coming in at more than twice the price of a standard product Coti made it a goal to offer a more budget-friendly option with Coti Zero Added Sugar Chocolate Slabs being sold at the same price of any standard slab. I love the Mint Choc flavour, which has the same strong chocolate taste as the Coti Milk Choc slab, with a wonderful twist of fresh strong Mint flavours. All three varieties offer chocolate lovers smooth, creamy chocolate that is almost indistinguishable from ordinary chocolate!
BioMedCan CBD Chocolate Slabs
Indulge your chocolate cravings whilst reaping all the general wellbeing benefits of CBD. If you’re looking for healthier ways to get your chocolate fix then CBD-infused chocolate is it! For the chocolate lover, it’s a discreet way to include CBD into everyday life. Meticulously handcrafted and designed together with famous Chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, BioMedCan’s artisanal CBD chocolate slabs offer a silky, smooth chocolate treat that is will delight your tastebuds.
Available in milk and dark chocolate 100g slabs, this CBD chocolate is made with 70% chocolate and 20mg of high-quality CBD. Just one block of this delicious chocolate can appease your sweet tooth while also offering a variety of health benefits. CBD has been known to help boost the immune system, improve sleep, lower high blood pressure, improve memory and focus, increased brain clarity, as well as decrease anxiety, stress, depression and mood swings. BioMedCan’s products contain zero THC and therefore don’t have hallucinogenic effects and are not addictive, making these chocolate slabs, a daily delight anyone can indulge in.
BioMedCan CBD Chocolate Slabs are available at a RRP of R129 online as well as at selected Wellness Warehouse stores and other retailers.
Minimalist Sugar-Free 60% Dark Milk Chocolate Bar
Truth Coffee’s David Donde and his team of taste masters introduced Minimalist Chocolate to the world a few months ago, and it’s causing quite a stir. The Minimalist sugar-free chocolate 60% Dark Milk Chocolate Bar is made from just 2 ingredients and offers a truly minimalist approach to chocolate making. With a focus on guilt-free, clean, ethical ingredients and no sugar at all, Minimalist Chocolate is daring to go where no chocolate brand has gone before. The cocoa beans used in the creation of Minimalist are fair trade, from bean to bar, giving you peace of mind when indulging in this delicious treat.
Much like with Truth Coffee, Donde’s secret is once again in the roasting processes: with this unique treatment, chocolate can reach its most flavourful form without the need for sugar, additives, soy lecithin, fructose and all the other sugar alternatives usually found in chocolate. The result is a rich, creamy, delicious chocolate that will blow your mind. Minimalist’s classic chocolate bars are crafted from just cacao and milk, making for an after-taste and creamy texture that is seriously moreish. Tasting the chocolate for the first time was indeed a special experience. Being dark chocolate, I was expecting it to taste bitter, like many other dark chocolate brands on the market, but the flavours of Minimalist’s chocolate dance across your tongue, leaving no sign of bitterness behind.
Find it at Truth Coffee, the Minimalist Chocolate website, as well as selected retail outlets nationwide at a recommended retail price (RRP) of R80.
GD Chocolate Buttercups & Loaded Logs
The GD Chocolate range also includes single-serving Loaded Logs and Buttercups which are great for a quick treat when you’re on the go or as a pick-me-up at your desk.
The bite-sized GD Buttercups are sure to satisfy your cravings for something sweet without the temptation of over-indulging too much. The artisanal, gourmet dark chocolate bites pack a powerful but delicious health-boosting punch. Free from dairy, preservatives, refined sugar as well as HFCS, and sweetened only with raw honey, these little bites are made with 71% dark chocolate and about 80% raw ingredients, providing all the superfood benefits of cacao. The buttercups are available in five deliciously indulgent soft-centre fillings to choose from including Mint, Mocha-Coffee, Turkish Rose, Almond Butter and Vanilla. The Almond Butter, with its gooey almond butter centre, is my favourite. I love that the honey flavour really comes through in each bite of these chocolate treats and the different flavours combined with the bitterness of the dark chocolate helps to ensure they’re not overly sweet.
A chocolatey friend with major benefits, GD’s Loaded Logs are deliciously nutritious. They’re loaded with health-giving, flavourful goodness and nothing else. Each of the four flavours at the centre of these raw honey-sweetened chocolate logs has unique nutritional properties. The one thing they do have in common is how deliciously each of the loaded flavours blends with the smooth, enticing taste of GD’s dark chocolate. Choose from Collagen, Vitamin C, Maca Moringa, and Turmeric Loaded Logs for a quick treat. I love the Vitamin C Loaded Log. It’s tart, yet sweet with a tangy citrus zing and as an added bonus it offers my body an extra dose of much-needed vitamin C. These little chocolates bombs are the ideal choice if you want to indulge in an irresistible treat while still offering your body some added nutritional benefits.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.