The Best Christmas Chocolate
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To be ranked a “best” Christmas chocolate, you had to be under 21 grams of sugar — the sweet stuff’s been linked to weight gain, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. While calories and fat also factored into our rankings, having more natural ingredients (and fewer ingredients, at that), earned certain chocolates that may have had higher calorie and fat counts more points. Having more quality calories will benefit you far more than fewer calories loaded with artificial additives, especially when those calories are from antioxidant-rich cocoa.
PER ¼ SNOWMAN (35 G): 180 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 3 g protein
Reese’s lovers rejoice — although Reese’s Bells got axed from the Nice List, there’s two ETNT approved holiday varieties. The first is this Reese’s Snowman, which is free of trans fats and nutritionally superior to the Bells (when you eat ¼ of the Snowman that is — that’s the serving size, and stick to it).
REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER TREES
PER 2 PIECES: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein
And your best Reese’s option is… these Reese’s Trees! You can indulge in one for just 90 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar!
LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN
PER 4 PIECES: 220 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein
If you’re one of those people who love giving oversized holiday-shaped chocolates as presents, try downsizing it this year. These mini Lindt Milk Chocolate Snowmen are just 55 calories a piece. Whether or not the recipient decides to eat the full serving is up to them, but at least the nutrition comes from quality ingredients.
GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS
PER ⅓ CUP (38 G): 200 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 2 g protein
Despite a lengthy ingredient list, these Chocolate Covered Pretzels are low in calories and won’t tap out your fat and sugar banks. They’re the perfect treat for any salty and sweet fan.
GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK
PER 3 PIECES: 190 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein
Peppermint bark may be a festive holiday staple, but unless you can limit yourself to just a square or two, it’s a slippery slope–especially if you’re trying to survive the holidays without love handles. Just three squares have nearly as many calories as an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces and an extra gram of saturated fat.
KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES
PER 5 PIECES (43 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein
Take a break from shopping with one of these Kit Kat Mint Miniatures. They pop right into your mouth and contain peppermint oil, a weight loss superfoods. In fact, researchers conclude that by adding mint to your diet, more of the fat you consume will be metabolized, as opposed to steadily making your pants tighter.
HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE SANTA
PER 1 BAR (34 G): 170 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein
Not a fan of mini? Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Santa is perfectly portioned so that you can indulge with boundaries.
GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK & DARK
PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (7.5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 3 g protein
Although we have listed the nutritional profile of three Ghirardelli Holiday Impression squares in order to keep our comparisons uniform, the actual packing serving size is only 1 square. If you have the self-control, that’s just 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar per individually wrapped square.
GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE
PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 200 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein
You already know that peppermint is a lethal weight loss weapon, but did you know that chocolate can actually help you burn fat? Chocolate boasts powerful natural chemicals called flavanols that have been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
RUSSELL STOVER CARAMEL SANTA
PER 1 PIECE: 160 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 1 g protein
I doubt Russell and Clara Stover were making these caramel Santas when they began their candy business in their home in Denver, Colorado in 1923. However, they’ve become a popular festive treat that would earn Mrs. Claus’ approval.
THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE
PER ½ BAR: 210 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 3 g protein
This Dark Chocolate Nutcracker Toffee bar is made with organic, wholesome ingredients — aka food that was not made in a lab. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, regularly consuming small amounts of high-quality chocolate fights stress that can lead to weight gain.
RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA
PER 1 PIECE: 100 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbs (14 g sugar)(all other nutritionals unavailable)
Your best Santa chocolate bar option is this Russell Stover Marshmallow Santa. It’s just 100 calories and has just 14 grams of sugar. Plus, marshmallow and chocolate? No brainer.
THE #1 CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR
PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein
It’s rather fitting that at the top of my Nice Chocolate List is this Chocolate Countdown to Christmas Calendar. Each window reveals a 50 calorie milk chocolate wrapped like a Christmas present. It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them — slowly, one day at a time! And to blast even more belly fat, pair the cup with a cup of Tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat.
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