Cacao or Cocoa?
Before you head out to buy items from the list I shared, please make sure you buy the right stuff. Buy organic, non-GMO, pure and natural products that are free of unwanted additives and chemicals wherever applicable and possible. Be extra careful about the cacao powder I mentioned. Yes earlier I had written cocoa powder but I realized my mistake and hence clarifying what exactly should we be using. I sat to research a bit on their differences and make the final decision whether cacao or cocoa should even be a part of our diet or not?
Thank God that it can be.
The main reason it’s on my list is because I like it how we can add it to almost anything and make children eat homemade chocolaty treats (yum!). That way they don’t feel left out from other children eating chocolates and candies around them. They know they may not be eating a chocolate out of a wrapper but they do get their fair share of chocolate at home.
I always try to explain to my daughter why she can’t eat all those chocolates, cakes and brownies etc. (sometimes repeatedly and even at the store if I mistakenly happen to go towards the snacks and chocolates section filled with crap) I try to tell her that they are unhealthy, loaded with unwanted chemicals and sugar which will harm her body. (What I really say in our baby talk is that they are all chee chee and filled with dirty chee chee things and lots of sugar and then Zahra ko foo hojaye ga).
Alhumdolillah she cooperates and inshallah I am sure any kid would. They just need some good explanation and delicious healthy alternates.
Another reason I added it was after reading the amazing health benefits of cacao. As I compare the differences, I have also summarised cacao’s health benefits.
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate meaning it’s raw and almost unprocessed than cocoa and any other chocolate we buy at the stores. Pure raw Cacao powder (without dairy, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals like additives and stabilizers found in almost all popular chocolates) is actually thought to be the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all the foods. It’s a good source of protein, potassium, zinc and fibre, and also iron and calcium in tiny amounts. Studies show that it reduces risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Cocoa powder on the other hand is a heated and mostly processed form of cacao. It can still be good for you but with what I have read and experienced, processed cocoa powder loses much of its nutritional value. When buying cocoa powder, make sure it is pure and free of added sugars, milk fats and oils because that’s what we usually get at the stores.
I had initially bought Hershey’s cocoa powder. After reading the benefits of raw cacao powder I switched to this:
I was amazed to see the difference in their nutritional value. Have a look at the pictures and don’t do the same mistake as I did.
The final verdict: I would go with Cacao powder of course. If unavailable my second option would be pure, (organic if possible) unsweetened cocoa powder.
Another chocolate powder widely used by mothers is the all famous Nesquik. Please try and stay away from this filth. It is loaded with unwanted additives and sugar. Even the sugar free version is not safe. Just read its ingredient list and be the judge yourself:
INGREDIENTS: COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (FROM MILK), MALTODEXTRIN, SOY LECITHIN, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, SUCRALOSE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (NON-NUTRITIVE SWEETENER), SPICE. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: CALCIUM CARBON
Get rid of all these additives and buy plain simple cacao/cocoa powder. We all can add our own sugar/honey as per our taste and liking. Don’t be fooled by these major corporations and save yourself and your children from crap.
In the end no one can really come and help you make your kids eat a healthy diet. It is your will and determination that can. We can start with these small changes and remember If I can do it, so can you!