That’s the thing about chocolates: They’re sweet to taste, but could be an enemy to your waist. Surely, this rhyme makes sense, but what doesn’t is the idea that one should completely ignore the taste buds and deprive oneself from the guilty pleasures of life completely.
Not to mention, living off chocolates in life sounds almost impossible because that self-control is bound to break at some point or the other. So, what if we told you that you won’t have to reach that breaking point or ban chocolates from your life? What if we told you that it is absolutely possible for you to enjoy your favourite chocolate without gaining weight?
“It cannot be denied that consumption of chocolate leads to weight gain as many chocolates contain a high amount of sugar and milk,” says nutritionist and fitness consultant, Ms. Diksha Chhabra.
“However, despite its bad reputation, chocolates have more benefits than side effects—if eaten the right way,” she adds.
What is the “right way”, you wonder?
Chhabra recommends following these guidelines to enjoy chocolates without gaining weight:
Choose your chocolate wisely
Now, this may sound like a tongue twister, but there’s absolutely nothing twisted about the fact that milk chocolates or the commonly available ones contain milk and sugar for the sake of a better taste.
On the other hand, authentic dark chocolates and its variants have less or no content of these high-calorie ingredients, making them a more suitable choice for those looking to lose or maintain their weight.
“Darker the chocolate higher the concentration of cocoa in it, which means, more antioxidants, minerals, and good fat,” Chhabra points out.
Fewer cals and detox plus immunity and metabolism-boosting goodness of the antioxidants and minerals. What more do you want from life?
Make your own chocolate
You can take safety against weight gain through chocolate indulgence a notch up by making chocolate at home for yourself. After all, the food industry is not to be trusted and homemade chocolate is going to be free from any added preservatives or chemicals, making it a safe bet, you see.
Now, this may sound like a tedious job, however, according to Chhabra, it can be made in five minutes by melting unsweetened cocoa bars available in the market, adding very less sugar and butter, and refrigerating the mixture, forming chocolate bars.
Use healthy sweetening options
You can use raisins, dried orange peels, or dried berries to add some sweetness to your chocolate bars and save on some empty calories from refined sugar. Alternatively, you can even opt for a relatively-safer artificial sweetener like stevia to make your chocolate taste sweet.
Don’t forget the portion-control rule
Whether it’s chocolate or any other so-called “weight-loss hindering” food, portion control is the only thing that can save you from gaining weight post its consumption. Surely, staying completely away from sweets and junk helps.
However, you very well know that this kind of deprivation is not sustainable and the day you lose control is going to be the day you’ll hog on these foods and lose your fitness battle. Hence, eat everything—including chocolates—but in moderation.
Don’t lay your hands on it when you’re hungry
To implement the portion-control rule effectively, it is important not to turn to chocolate when you’re at your hungriest best. Because, we all lose our better sense of judgement on an empty stomach and tend to have the entire bar instead of a few cubes to satiate that maddening hunger while enjoying the pleasure-giving properties of sugar.
Don’t forget that this pleasure will be followed by a lot of guilt later and who knows? You might even end up eating more chocolate to feel better to tackle that guilt. And thus, get into the vicious cycle of emotional eating.
Time it right
The key to enjoying chocolates without putting on weight is the right timing of its consumption, hands down. The best bet is to have chocolate, in moderation, of course, during the first half of the day; so that your body can utilise the calories when its metabolism is at its fastest best.
So, without further ado, make mindful decision before you hog on that chocolate bar.