Chocolate is definitely one of life’s little pleasures which is difficult to resist. Chocolate is rich in calories, but in moderation it can be part of our diet. Make allowances for it in your daily calorie intake. In my book The Mamma Mia! Diet, I recommend a dose of dark chocolate, 1 oz or about 30 g, two or three times a week.
Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is certainly the best choice because it is almost sugar-free and is rich in many nutrients (such as antioxidants, flavonoids, and minerals). It also contains caffeine and theobromine, which are both involved in energy metabolism, adiposity, and obesity, and cathechins, which are compounds that may help prevent cancers and heart diseases. You can even pair dark chocolate with some strawberries like in the recipe below for fragole cioccolato from The Mamma Mia! Diet.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooling time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
16 large strawberries (about 6–7 oz or 170–200 g)
4.5 oz (125 g) dark chocolate (70%)
Double boiler and sauce pan
A piece of Styrofoam
Rinse strawberries under cool running water and gently pat dry with paper towels. Strawberries need to be completely dry before dipping into the chocolate; otherwise, chocolate coating will not stick very well. Insert a toothpick into the top of each strawberry.
On a cutting board, cut chocolate in pieces. In a double boiler and saucepan, bring water to a simmer, then add chocolate and let melt, stirring occasionally with the spatula. Remove saucepan from heat. Let cool until the chocolate reaches a temperature of 115°F (45°C).
Dip one strawberry at a time in the chocolate, holding it by the toothpick. Twist and turn the strawberry in the chocolate to completely coat it. Be careful to leave a band of red strawberry at the top not covered by chocolate.
Let cool by turning upside down and inserting the toothpick into a piece of Styrofoam covered with paper towels. Let cool for about 30–40 minutes, depending on the temperature of the room. You can place the strawberries in the fridge to speed up this process.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Strawberries are superfoods, packed with antioxidants (such as vitamin C), minerals (such as potassium), and fiber (helpful in managing weight loss). Strawberries are a good food option for weight loss, as long as you are not adding them to ice creams or cakes. Instead, use them with healthy food options such as smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal. Strawberries also contain xylitol, a sweet substance that prevents the formation of dental plaque and kills the germs responsible for bad breath.
Paola Lovisetti Scamihorn is an Italian pharmacist, researcher and food writer. Cooking, eating healthy food and staying active have always been her life-long passions. She has a cooking blog “Passion and Cooking,” and contributes to several international magazines. She has previously published in Italy Love is Eating, focusing on Italian culinary culture.
Paola Palestini is a biochemistry professor at the Medical School of the University Milano-Bicocca, Italy. Recently, Paola has been actively involved in the promotion of the principles of a healthy diet through conferences and in collaboration with several magazines. She is the author of seventy-six scientific articles published in international journals.
Learn more about The Mamma Mia! Diet at www.mammamiadiet.com.