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I’m taking part in a HeartSmarts course taught by a New York Presbyterian Hospital nurse, where we discuss the science behind the heart’s function and how to keep our heart pumping strong. We’re learning to cut back on our sweet and salty cravings, but there’s one thing we don’t have to cut back on—chocolate!

 

Why is dark chocolate healthy?

Dark chocolate is abundant in flavanols, which help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function, reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. Milk chocolate doesn’t contain as much flavanols, so unfortunately, your Snickers bar is not Lil’ Fit Birdie-approved.

 

How do I know which chocolate is the healthy kind?

  • Look for dark chocolates with 65% or more cacao → The higher the percentage, the lower the amount of added sugar.
  • Avoid bars that say “processed with alkali” on the label. This means is has much less flavanols.
  • Frequently found Lil’ Fit Birdie-approved brands: Ghirardelli, Godiva, Lindt, Theo

 

Now, don’t get too excited. This doesn’t mean you can load your plates with dark chocolate truffles, brownies and cakes, as this can increase your sugar and calorie intake. Keep the portion size to 1oz per day. Remember, keep everything in moderation!

 

Serving Size: 36 truffles

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:IMG_1038

  • 1 container (16 oz) of Medjool dates, de-pitted  
  • 1 bar of your fave dark chocolate (65% or more cacaco)
  • ⅓ cup raw almonds

 

Instructions:

  1. Place the de-pitted dates into the blender. Blend until it turns into a dough-like consistency. Keep it in the blender for now. IMG_1039
  2. Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.IMG_1040
  3. Place a smaller pot into the larger pot and continue to simmer. Break off the dark chocolate bar into bite-size chunks and throw them into the smaller pot. Stir until fully melted, then dump the chocolate into the blender with the dates. IMG_1041
  4. Take a spoonful of chocolate-date dough and roll it up into a ball using your palms. (About 2” in diameter)IMG_1043
  5. Chop almonds as tiny as you can get them. (I made the mistake of blending the almonds in my brand new 2-horse power blender, and it turned into almond butter!)
  6. Roll the balls into the almonds and remold them using your palms.IMG_1047
  7. Choose your presentation style!IMG_1052IMG_1059IMG_1063These are perfect for your next holiday party! Let me know how it turns out! 
Categories: Recipes, Sweet

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