Trick or Treat? Get Your Mind, Tummy and Home Prepared for this Halloween.

Everybody get ready because Halloween is just around the corner. Unfortunately, Halloween has the tendency to haunt us for months, in more way than one. There are constantly sweets in our homes, place of work, kids’ school; no matter where you look you will find there’s temptation lurking around the corner. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to give into more than you would like to. Do yourself a favor and go into this highly sugared holiday prepared!

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to keeping candy around the house as a treat and even to give out to trick-or-treaters. My one piece of advice this year is to remember to always make it dark chocolate. There is no denying it, chocolate seems like a necessity in many peoples lives. Don’t deny yourself, this has the potential of making your sweet tooth craving even worse. One concept to keep on your mind this Holiday is to indulge in moderation!

Dark chocolate comes from the raw cacao bean, more commonly known as cocoa. Not many people realize that cocoa is a great dietary source of phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants. Phytochemicals possess a property to promote beneficial health reactions in your body. Flavonoids have the potential to raise your good cholesterol and cocoa also contains antioxidant-fighting elements to protect your cells.

It has been scientifically suggested that dark chocolate may aid in heart health, decrease blood pressure, increase blood flow, and positive effects on our blood vessels. Dark chocolate also possesses a phytochemical property that may decrease the effect of sugar on your teeth. Neither milk chocolate nor white chocolate have that effect and it is important to remember to always indulge in moderate amounts.

When finding your dark chocolate of choice, make sure to read the label or ingredient list. Make sure that the first ingredient is cacao or cocoa and it is at least 70% of the product or more if possible. The greater the percentage of cacao, the less the percentage of sugar is in your chocolate- and that means the healthier the treat! If you’re a chocolate lover you might as well get a higher quality product with the same great taste, but also has the added health benefits.

Another option that I think is great to keep around the house as a treat are dark chocolate covered fruits and nuts. My two personal favorites are dark chocolate covered almonds and goji berries. I find these sweets to be much more delicious and you’re getting some of the added health benefits of the fruit or nut that lies beneath. A few dark chocolate covered goji berries really kill that post dinner craving for something sweet before you jump right into to something crazy like a piece of cake or pie.

Remember the facts, research the brands, as well as the types of chocolate that are currently out there. Remember this Halloween and in general, “dark chocolate, read the ingredients and make sure that cacao is at least 70% of the product, and enjoy in moderation”. Your stomach and your heart will both thank you!