Chocolate: A Few of My Favorite Things (and giveaway!)

I have three dietary vices that I feel compelled to consume regularly: coffee (daily), red wine, and chocolate. Sure, they all boast health benefits, namely disease-fighting antioxidants, but in terms of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, chocolate and sweetened coffee would fall into the SoFAS (solid fat, added sugars) group. I still don’t know how wine fits into the mix. It doesn’t contain sugar. Maybe they need to add an optional “fermented juice” group.

Today, let’s hone in on chocolate. A fine line lies between enjoying a moderate amount and consuming an excess. Here is a list of my current favorites, all offering an indulgently satisfying experience.

Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate Caramel (70 calories per square)

I love how these portion-controlled squares are individually wrapped. One is usually all I need.

Navitas Naturals Cocao Power lip balm

Before slathering it onto my lips, I inhale a big whiff. Ah… Navitas sent me a sample since I’m a blogger, and oh how I love it! It lacks sunscreen though, making it best to apply indoors or at night.

Q.bel 52% Dark Chocolate Wafer Rolls (60 calories per roll)

These are individually wrapped, too, making it easier to stop at just one. I tried them as free samples, but they are also available at Whole Foods and other natural foods markets. Other very honorable mentions include Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut wafers (60 calories per roll) and Loacker Quadratini Chocolate wafers. They’re packaged in bulk, though, making it challenging for me to put them away!

Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (140 calories per 1/4 cup)

This chocolate mix made of sugar, cocoa, and unsweetened chocolate may be used for many things like brownies and frosting. I like to make hot chocolate with it after dinner occasionally, by dissolving 3 tablespoons mix into 1 cup warmed milk.

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (190 calories per 2 tablespoons)

This chocolate hazelnut butter is the best one I’ve found in terms of wholesome ingredients, listing hazelnuts first in the ingredients list, rather than sugar, and containing no icky, partially hydrogenated fats. It also offers 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Bear Naked Heavenly Chocolate Granola (130 calories per 1/4 cup)

This brand of granola tops my list because it is composed largely of whole grain oats, rather than relying on mostly added sugar. The chocolate chips in it make the granola a real treat, and the blend contains beneficial flax, oat bran, and whole grain crisp rice.

E. Guittard Chocolate Bars (not shown)

I sampled a few varieties from this brand at the International Association of Culinary Professionals Expo and I loved the Tsaratana 61% Cocao Semisweet Chocolate the most. This line is high quality, rich and robust, with a square being all you need. Find it at Whole Foods and other specialty food shops.

Next time your chocolate craving nudges you on the shoulder, I hope you will indulge in one of my favorites with a little more peace of mind.


Giveaway to Subscribers Only!

I expressed so much love for the lip balm that Navitas Naturals gave me another sample to send to one lucky reader, along with a bag of their bomb cocoa powder. Enter by either commenting on this blog here or on my Facebook page and share your favorite healthier chocolate indulgence. You must be a blog subscriber of to win (membership has its privileges). If you’re not yet a subscriber, you can register here. Entries will be accepted through July 22, 2011.

Update: And the winner is…Suzanne! Congratulations and enjoy your cocoa goodies.


You might also like:

A Nutrition Expert’s Carb Crazed Day

What Happens in Vegas Stays on My Blog

Thin Mints: For the Sake of the Freezer Challenge


  1. Fiona says:

    I love stirring cacao powder into oatmeal with milk, peanut butter, and almonds for a late night snack! It’s amazingly decadent and tastes like it should be much, much unhealthier.

    1. Michelle Dudash says:

      Your oatmeal concoction sounds amazing! I’m going to have to try that. And I think that would make for an awesome TV segment or article once the colder months arrive.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I like to spread a little Nutella on whole wheat bread. Is Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter better than Nutella? I hope they sell it around here!

    1. Michelle Dudash says:

      Hi Suzanne,
      Comparing Justin’s to Nutella is like comparing natural peanut butter to conventional (Jif, etc.) in terms of taste and texture. Justin’s has a little more rustic consistency, you could say. Nutella is more silky smooth, but I think that’s due in part to the partially hydrogenated oils that they add to it. You can find Justin’s in the natural food section of mainstream grocery stores, or in gourmet or natural food stores.

      I like spreading Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter on whole grain crackers and rice cakes, or for dipping apple slices into. Funny how I haven’t tried putting it on toast, since that is how Nutella markets it.

      1. Suzanne says:

        Thanks for the info. I had never heard of Justin’s before. Yes, you should try it on bread/toast! Yummy! 🙂

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