Its World Chocolate Day: Dark chocolate can help stress levels: 6 unusual ways to get more into your diet

By Prudence Wade. Published 2020-07-07
BOLD-Wellbeing
As if we needed a Boldie excuse to eat more?

Good news for chocoholics – yet another study has been released singing the praises of dark chocolate.

This one – presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting – has found that eating the good stuff can help decrease your stress levels, as well as boost your mood and memory.

Sounds pretty amazing to us, but sometimes a block of dark chocolate on its own can be a bit boring. That’s why we’ve looked at some weird and wonderful ways you can fit more dark chocolate into your diet, if you’re feeling a tad adventurous.

In porridge

Chocolate doesn’t always have to be dessert; it’s also a brilliant way to start the day. If you’re heading into a particularly hectic string of meetings at work, what could be better than starting the day with a mood booster?

The good thing about dark chocolate is it’s not overwhelmingly sweet, so you won’t have your head blown off by sugar just after waking up. Shave some into your porridge, add bananas and nuts and you’re good to go.

In chilli

Hear us out on this one, because if you’re not already one of the initiated, dark chocolate really is an amazing addition to chilli con (or sin) carne. No, you won’t be overwhelmed by a chocolatey taste in your main meal, instead it serves to enhance your other flavours, and add silkiness.

In Mexican cuisine, savoury sauces called mole tend to include chocolate, used to bring out spicy flavours. Just make sure the chocolate is shaved or melted when you cook with it – you don’t want to serve chilli with big lumps of sweetness in it.

In hummus

Tahini (sesame seed paste) is a commonly used (and delicious) ingredient, and as the main ingredient in hummus, it goes better with chocolate than you might have thought.

However, don’t go serving this dip with crudites before dinner, it’s definitely more of a dessert option. Try your hand at this recipe, and we recommend pairing it with fruit, brownies or cookies.

In bread

Chocolate bread is the perfect answer for when you can’t decide what to have for afternoon tea. It treads the line between savoury and sweet – it’s more savoury than a cake, but will still appeal to chocoholics.

Essentially you just lace a standard dough recipe with a little dark chocolate, and once you’ve mastered a recipe you like, you can experiment with adding your favourite nuts or dried fruits.

Pro tip: Have it fresh out the oven with peanut butter and you’ll be in heaven.

In a cheese toastie

Putting chocolate in a toasted cheese sandwich might not be the first thing you’d think of, but it’s one of those weird combinations that just works – if you’re brave enough to try it.

Bizarrely, a tangy cheese goes perfectly with the sharp-sweetness of dark chocolate. Everyone loves melted choc, and who can resist gooey cheese? So why not put the two together?

In Colombia it’s traditional to dunk cheese into hot chocolate, so if the toastie floats your boat, that should be the next thing you try.

In pasta

We all know that dark chocolate and red wine is a perfect match, and few things go better than a glass of red with your favourite pasta dish. So why not have them together?

You can buy chocolate pasta in some larger supermarkets, Italian delis or online, or if you’re feeling particularly bold, you can make your own -try this recipe for chocolate pasta with a hazelnut cream sauce