Hi, my name is Claire Leaden, and I’m a chocoholic.
Those of us addicted to the sweet, velvety goodness that derives from the cocoa bean believe that chocolate can be eaten at any time of the day. In your coffee with breakfast, on waffles, in pancakes, on ice cream, in small nuggets or large bricks — the possibilities are endless. But, sometimes a particularly strong hankering comes at a specific time of day. Right after you finish a filling dinner, get in your PJ’s and are curled up on the couch to watch a little TV before hitting the hay…it suddenly hits you. You need chocolate. Now. And fast.
Of course if this happens every evening, you won’t be living your healthiest life before long. As a fellow cocoa junkie, I have encountered the same dilemma, and luckily came up with three different healthy ways to curb those cravings while still fulfilling your chocolate-covered needs.
- Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
One of my favorite ways to fill my dessert craving at the end of dinner is with a smoothie — but no almond-milk-frozen-fruit combo is going to satisfy me. To “trick” myself into feeling like I’m getting a chocolate peanut butter milkshake, I blend together 1 frozen banana, roughly 1 cup milk (regular, skim, almond, soy, whatever you like, and the exact amount can depend on how thick you like it. You can add a little, blend, add a little more, blend, until you get the consistency you like), 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice). The intense chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder makes it taste like a rich, decadent shake, and the addition of peanut butter makes me feel like I’m eating my favorite candy. I also love ice cream as a dessert so this appeases multiple sweets cravings!
2. Nutella Tea
I was ordering tea off Amazon one day and stumbled upon this Chocolate Hazelnut Tea. Watery chocolate? I was skeptical, but thought I would give it a chance. Turns out it was really yummy — and also helped me kick nighttime chocolate cravings! I found that steeping it for a longer time period really helped it absorb all of that Nutella-esque flavor, and that adding a little splash of cream or milk made it taste like chocolate milk or hot chocolate. Very cozy and comforting at night, especially during the colder months, and it’s also decaf so it will help you fall asleep more easily! I’ve found a few others since then (love Peppermint Chocolate) and would recommend giving it a try.
3. Dark Chocolate Casings
As I found myself shoving handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips into my mouth one night after dinner, I came to the realization that usually I have an intense craving and after just a few minutes of chocolate, I feel fine. Basically, I don’t go after a full tray of brownies or order-in an ice cream sundae — I just need a little something to take the edge off. As a way to curb the baking cabinet raids, I purchase dark chocolate covered healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit (no sugar added). I found that after a few of these I feel content and like I indulged, but without the guilt if I had gone for a full brownie tray (we’ll save that for the weekend)!