By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
Valentines Day – a day when we make it a point to show appreciation for our loved ones with gifts such as flowers and of course chocolate! But did you know that chocolate can also be healthy for your heart?
Chocolate is known to have many health benefits through the presence of flavanoid antioxidants and ability to increase serotonin levels. New research is demonstrating that consuming chocolate may aid in improving mood and easing depressive symptoms. Recent studies demonstrate that chocolate stimulates neural activity in regions of the human brain associated with pleasure or reward; it’s no wonder it’s been called “the food of the Gods”.
This Valentines Day be sure to give dark chocolate which contains more of these beneficial antioxidants.
Healthier Valentine Treats
- Black Bean Brownies (recipe below)
- Raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips
- Dark Chocolate banana pops
- Red Jello topped w/ sugar free whipped cream
- Strawberry parfait
- Strawberry applesauce
Not sure what to prepare for your sweetheart? Try this fun twist on chocolate brownies, you’ll be amazed at how delicious they really are!
Black Bean Brownies
Looking to “healthify” your brownie recipe? Yes, you can use black beans in a brownie recipe and you won’t even be able to tell the difference!! The black beans allows you to use less fat in the recipe.
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
- 1/2 cup 70% Dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 square baking dish.
- Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.