Eat chocolate and still lose weight!

There’s chocolate here, chocolate there, temptation everywhere!

While most sweets supply only empty calories in the form of fat and sugar, chocolate actually has some nutritive value and most of its nutrients come from its main ingredient - the cocoa bean.

Chocolate Facts

- Chocolate is a surprising source of copper with one ounce of dark chocolate providing 0.25mg! Although we only need this mineral in small amounts (approximately 1.2mg per day), it is required for healthy bone formation and to help in wound healing.

- Chocolate contains magnesium, which is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions. Most importantly, it helps with calcium absorption for good bone health and proper muscle function for normal heart rhythm. Magnesium also helps with the production of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone. The Recommended Daily Amount for magnesium is 300 mg per day; an ounce of dark chocolate has about 33mg.

- Chocolate is a source of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols and flavonoids. These natural chemicals help protect against free radicals - unstable molecules that damage healthy cells and tissues. Research indicates free radicals may contribute to cancer and heart disease.

If you can't resist those chocolate cravings any longer, here are two delicious recipes guaranteed to tickle your taste buds - and both less than 100 calories per serving!

Chocolate Profiteroles

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Melt 100g of polyunsaturated margarine in a small pan, add 300ml of water and bring to the boil. To this, add 130g of plain flour (sieved) and beat until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan. Leave to cool.
  3. Beat together two medium eggs and two eggs whites and add to the mixture a little at a time, beating vigorously.
  4. Dampen 2 large baking sheets with water. Place a tablespoonful of the mixture in rows on the baking sheets, leaving enough space in between each to allow for expansion.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 190 degrees C for a further 20-25mins until golden brown.
  6. Put a slit in the side of each profiterole and allow to cool on a wire rack. Fill each profiterole with a spoonful of very low fat fromage frais.
  7. Place 100g plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is smooth in texture. Drizzle the chocolate over the profiteroles and leave to set.

Makes 20 servings.

Nutritional information: 100 calories, 6g of fat and 5.3g carbohydrate (2 Units) per serving..

Chocolate Chip Muffins

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  2. Sieve 200g of self-raising flour into a large mixing bowl and add 30g soft brown sugar and 50g plain chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl or jug, gently whisk a medium egg and add 250ml skimmed milk and 1 ripe mashed banana. Stir until well mixed.
  4. Place 15 large paper baking cases onto a baking tray or muffin tin.
  5. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture, being careful not to over beat.
  6. Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Makes 15 servings.

Nutritional information: 85 calories 1.5g of fat and 16.6g carbohydrate (1 Unit) per serving..

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