Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the reality is that many of us will be getting a little extra dose of sweets! Keeping your sugar and goodie intake to a minimum is always a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that chocolate has to be off the table. According to Healthline, chocolate, or cocoa more specifically, has many benefits. It can be a nutrient and antioxidant dense food, can help with blood pressure issues and brain function. And, I just read an article the other day that suggested people who eat dark chocolate tend to be less likely to be depressed!

That the important part though, is that is you eat dark chocolate! Don’t go running for a sugary milk chocolate bar. Keep your chocolate as dark as you can handle to enjoy the benefits and not the downsides. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy chocolate.

If you’re looking for a bar, I love the Endangered Species brand. They use simple ingredients and have lots of dark chocolate offerings to keep the sugar to a minimum. They’ve recently released some bars that use oat milk instead of dairy for a slightly less dark chocolate experience! This could be great for anyone who is lactose-intolerant or who is avoiding dairy.

If you are looking to avoid sugar completely, I’ve been enjoying the Lily’s chocolate bars. Stevia and erythritol sweetened, they have a good variety of flavor options for their dark chocolate bars. They even have some extra dark options that are dairy free!

Lastly, if you’re wanting to enjoy chocolate not a bar, try this dairy free homemade banana chocolate peanut butter “ice cream.” By combining frozen banana, cocoa powder and almond or peanut butter in the blender, you can make a really easy, and naturally sweetened treat that’s balanced out with a little protein! Add chocolate chunks or nuts if you want a little texture added.

I hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day!