Your Winter Prescription: Dark Chocolate Date Delights. 

Chocolate, dark chocolate & cocoa powder: your inner wisdom doesn’t need research to tell you it’s good for body, mind and soul. I enjoy chocolate at least twice a day. My morning smoothie includes unsweetened cocoa powder, and I enjoy 2 pieces of dark chocolate after lunch. Every. Day. I tell my clients that it’s a health food. They chuckle and say thank you. And, I’m like…no, I’m serious. You SHOULD eat it, especially in winter.
The following are a few reasons why I highly recommend a chocolate daily prescription. 

Top 3 Benefits of Chocolate During the Winter Months

The benefits from chocolate, especially dark chocolate and cocoa powder, come from plant-based antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavanol, a type of flavanoid, helps to increase blood flow in the body. Research has shown that flavanols benefit our heart and brain health + the following: 

1. Mood Boosters.

Winter blues. We’ve all had our February “moments.” If you’ve ever craved chocolate, you can thank your brain for its good intuition. A study in British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that that consuming chocolate may help improve your mood. But, you need the good stuff: dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps boost the mood-elevating hormone, serotonin.

2. You’ll Beat Winter Brain Fog.

Research shows that mental performance takes a dip during winter and early spring. Mentioned above, the flavanols in dark chocolate may improve brain function with aging by increasing blood flow to the brain.

3. Winter Skin.

Someone complemented your skin’s winter glow? Nope. That never happens. Winter skin is more likely to be dry, flaky and pale. One study showed that dark chocolate helped increase blood flow to the skin, improve skin texture, and increase skin hydration. Let’s not forgo your winter skincare routine, but every bit helps! 

How Much Do I Get to Eat?

“My dietitian said I can eat as much chocolate as I want, it’s healthy.”  That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Most of the research on chocolate has shown we need at least 200 mg of flavanols to reap health benefits. You can get 200 mg in:
  • 2 T. of non-alkalized (or non-dutch processed) cocoa powder = 25 calories
  • 1.75 oz. of 70-85% cacao dark chocolate = 300 calories
  • 10.5 oz. of milk chocolate = 1500 calories
As you can see, you get the most bang for your calorie buck in the cocoa powder. I “prescribe” a supplement regimen of 1 Tbsp a day = to 25 calories of unsweetened cocoa powder + 100 calories from a dark chocolate bar with 70-80% cocoa content. 
Our mood boosting chocolate covered date recipe below contains just that…a mixture of both!
Check out our other chocolate recipes:
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Dark Chocolate Date Delights


  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1, 12 oz. package fresh Medjool dates, pitted (~1214 dates)*
  • 34 T. your favorite nut butter*
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Gently pull dates apart and fill with 1-2 t. nut butter.
  2. To make chocolate, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave cocoa powder, chocolate chips and coconut oil until it’s thick, liquid consistency.
  3. Pour 1/3 of chocolate sauce on a plate and roll 1/3 of your dates until fully coated. Place on a parchment paper covered sheet pan. Repeat until all dates are coated.
  4. Sprinkle sea salt.
  5. Freeze for for 20-25 minutes until chocolate is firm.
  6. Store in fridge. They won’t last long…

Notes

*I like Natural Delights dates because they are larger in size compared to other brands & easier to work with.

*I filled 1/3 of the dates with sunflower seed butter so the boys could take them to school; 1/3 almond butter; 1/3 peanut butter

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: freeze

Keywords: dark chocolate date delights

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.