SMART WAYS TO EAT CHOCOLATE

If you can’t kick the chocolate habit, try these clever ways to minimise harm while sating your choccie monster.

  • Opt for small portions or hollow treats like eggs. Choose a bar rather than a large block and avoid jumbo and king sizes. They may be cheaper, but studies show you eat on average 20 per cent more when you graze from jumbo packs.
  • Portion sizes should be around 30g per day, which is two to three squares of Lindt chocolate or four squares of Cadbury chocolate. Eat more than that and you’ll negate the nutritional benefits through excessive consumption of fat and sugar.
    Stick to good quality dark chocolate. It’s better for you and it’s richer, so you won’t need to eat as much to feel content. While 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate is okay, 85 per cent is ideal as it contains more nutrients.
  • Be aware that dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, it may keep you awake at night. About three squares of Lindt Dark chocolate (about 28g) has 20mg of caffeine, while regular coffee has 110mg per cup, and tea contains 30mg per cup.
  • Drink hot chocolate made with low-fat milk.
  • To improve the taste of dark chocolate brew a cup of herbal tea and dip your dark chocolate in the tea before drinking. Not only does the melted chocolate taste better, studies show that melted chocolate covers more surface area within your mouth and tastebuds, increasing the intensity of flavour, which improves satiety without you having to eat more.
  • Try chocolate dipped fruit, like strawberries, bananas or dried apricots, or choc-dipped nuts. You still get the chocolate taste with fewer calories and you’ll get a good dose of vitamins, too.
  • Pick one part of the day when  you will eat chocolate. Confine it to afternoon tea time or allocate it to dessert – not both.


BURN IT OFF


If you really can’t resist, there are many simple remedies. Burton says that to burn off a Snickers bar (about 1,200kj), an average 70kg person needs to exercise for between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the intensity of the activity. If you’re not a fan of the gym, even doing some strenuous housework, mowing the lawns and shopping can help you to burn off your chocolate indulgence.

Running    30 min (8km/hr)
Walking     1 hr (6.5km/hr)
Cycling      45 min (16-20km/hr)
Shopping   2.5 hrs
Cleaning    the house, 1hr 45 min (physical work like vacuuming or scrubbing)
Mowing      the lawn, 45 min
Aerobics    39 min (high intensity e.g. step)
Netball       45 min (game)
Swimming  35 min (non-stop brisk laps)


TIPS FOR STOPPING THE CRAVINGS

  • Have a cup of herbal tea – try roasted dandelion, liquorice tea or English breakfast
  • Slice half a banana in 1/3 cup of low fat yoghurt and sprinkle with nutmeg
  • Make a half-serve protein shake
  • Avoid moreish foods such as nuts unless you have strictly controlled portion sizes as they can be easy to overeat
  • Clean your teeth
  • Call a friend
  • Get up from your desk and go for a brisk walk when the 3pm slump hits
  • Focus on eating healthy, filling foods and you’ll be less likely to binge on chocolate
  • To test a craving wait 10 minutes and do something else to see if it goes away. If you really can’t do without chocolate try having a few squares and put the rest away. Practise being able to leave some behind. Simply seeing  chocolate often triggers a craving (think walking past the vending machine). So if you don’t want to eat it, don’t leave it in your kitchen cupboard or on your desk