Hands up if you want to eat healthy but you’re a serious chocoholic or have a persistent sweet tooth.
Well good news, you don’t have to exclude chocolate from your diet to eat healthily! It’s all about making better choices.
I negotiated myself a sample of the snack packs from The Raw Chocolate Company, and I think these make a delicious and more wholesome replacement for your traditional chocolate snacks.
The Raw Chocolate Company use fair trade cacao from Peru and as you can tell from the name, the ingredients are raw! They say that this means that the chocolate will retain more of the nutrients from the cacao beans, which heat processing can destroy.
Let’s look at the ingredients for the chocolate raisins since I’m a sucker for them.
The Raw Chocolate Company chocolate raisins, which have been certified by the organic soil association and vegan society, contain: raw raisins (44%, includes sunflower oil), raw cacao mass, coconut palm sugar, virgin cacao butter, cacao powder.
In contrast Sainsburys chocolate raisins contain: Milk Chocolate (54%) (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Skimmed Cows’ Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Whey Powder (Cows’ Milk), Lactose (Cows’ Milk), Butteroil (Cows’ Milk), Emulsifier: Soya lecithin; Flavouring), Raisin (45%), Glazing Agents: Acacia Gum, Shellac
I just Googled ‘Shellac’ and apparently (according to Wikipedia, which isn’t the gold standard of evidence, but the information was supported by other sources!), Shellac is “ a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes and dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture. Phonograph (gramophone) records were also made of it”…. so decide for yourself if you’d like to be eating that.
Reality check – if you eat a small bag of any chocolate raisins I doubt it will have that much long term negative impact on your health goals. However, if you eat them regularly, or like me circa 2012, you could go to the cinema and demolish two whole bags of chocolate raisins before the trailers had finished, then you probably want to be thinking about a) the quantity that you’re eating and b) the ingredients!
I like the chocolate snack packs from The Raw Chocolate Company because they come in a friendly size that is perfect to stop you from over indulging and also handy for carrying round. The bags contain under 75 calories each, and because they are quite dark chocolate I find them very satisfying. Even if you wanted to open a second bag you’d still be under 150 calories, which I feel is a good amount for a snack.
The chocolate rasins, goji berries and mulberries are my favourite in terms of snackability since you get more in a bag because they’re small. There were only 7 chocolate almonds (yes I counted) and about 10 pieces of ginger (I didn’t count those), so you can finish those quite quickly! Obviously, a single almond is heavier and more calorie dense than a goji berry so I understand why there is less in a pack. But I enjoy dibbing my hand in for more snacks, so I prefer the smaller berries.
Taste wise they’re pretty yummy and all pass the taste test.
I also got my boyfriend to sample them. Usually he turns his nose up at raw chocolate but I think he actually enjoyed trying these! Overall, they aren’t as sweet as a typical chocolate bar. But there is a brilliant variety of tastes so you’re bound to find something that you like or to suit your mood.
The raisins are the sweetest.
The mulberries and vanoffee mulberries have a delicious caramel type taste.
The golden berries are super sour- be warned!
The goji berries do have a subtle twang of… goji berry!
The ginger isn’t too strong, but has a little kick and is quite sweet.
The almonds are quite creamy and blend with the chocolate.
My boyfriend’s favourite was the chocolate mulberries and I was surprised that he liked the goji berries because I think they have a very distinctive taste. My favourite was also the mulberries.
These are currently selling for £1.49. At first look this seems pretty steep for a little bag and I have to admit that when I buy them (maybe once or twice a month), I usually spend a bit of time thinking about if I really want them. But considering the good quality ingredients and the cost of similar products I think it is a reasonable price. Also, standard chocolate bars aren’t as cheap as I remember- sadly gone are the days you can buy a Freddo for 10p. So you wouldn’t be paying a lot more of these healthier alternatives.
Also, I try not to waste my money on too many take-away coffees or other things that I don’t need so that I do have more money to spend on things like this.
What’s your favourite chocolate bar and do you know a healthier version of it or recipe to make one?