Can I eat chocolate this Easter?

Lent finishes on Saturday and for many of you Sunday is all about indulgence. For those who have given up chocolate, you’re likely looking forward to an Easter egg or two.
When I tell people I am a nutrition and fitness coach, I typically get asked a multitude of questions. One very common question is “I have heard chocolate is really good for you – is that true?”. My answer is “Yes and no”.
Studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average Cadbury’s chocolate bar. They are referring to raw cacao, made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. Raw cacao is actually one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Health benefits include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, reduced blood pressure, nervous system protection and enhanced mood.
Cocoa powder is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. The roasting significantly reduces the nutritional value. Regular shop bought chocolate is made of cocoa powder, not raw cacao. Dark chocolate has a relatively high cocoa content. Milk chocolate has a relatively low cocoa content and is full of added sugar, condensed milk and often a whole list of other ingredients.
So a Cadbury’s bar is very different to raw cacao. Hence my answer “Yes and no”.
If you fancy being health conscious over Easter, go for raw cacao. You’ll find lots of delicious raw cacao recipes online. Otherwise, choose dark chocolate over milk and opt for a high percentage of cocoa ie 85%.
Most importantly, enjoy spending time with family and friends. Easter is one weekend of the year, so don’t beat yourself up about indulging in an Easter egg. I’m not recommending you add chocolate to your daily nutrition plan but as long as you don’t go over the top, you will be absolutely fine.
Here’s wishing you all a very happy, healthy and nutritious Easter.