Let's be honest: we've all woken up with chocolate cravings. Rather than denying yourself, we're here to shed some light on smarter ways to satisfy your sweet tooth at sunrise.
To begin, when it comes to breakfast, something is always better than nothing. "Skipping breakfast can lead to unhealthy cravings later on in the day, and missing a meal (breakfast or another) means you're not supplying your body with the energy it needs to power through your day," says Samantha Cassetty, RD, MS.
But all breakfasts aren't created equal. In the case of adding a little bit of chocolate to an otherwise healthy meal (like unsweetened oatmeal or plain Greek yogurt), the key is to read the product's label, keep moderation in mind, and pick chocolates that don't have tons of sugar and processed ingredients. Lily's Sweets chocolate is our favorite—they offer dark and milk chocolate chips, bars, peanut butter cups, and more without any added sugar that (we promise) taste like the real deal.
"You're way better off having delicious low-sugar chocolate as part of a healthy breakfast since these products add sweetness without any added sugar or sacrifice! Having a little chocolate in the morning can be a fun way to infuse flavor and sweetness into a healthy breakfast," says Samantha. "Seemingly healthy breakfast foods, like flavored whole grain breakfast cereals and instant oatmeal, plant-based milks, and fruity yogurts can all have way higher amounts of added sugar than chocolate. The impact? Your breakfast could easily put you above your sugar cap for the whole day." Moderation is key: overdoing in on sugar, she says, can increase fatigue and reduce your focus for the rest of the day.
But now that the R.D. is on board with having a teensy bit of cocoa in the a.m., let's move on to the fun part. Here are six delicious, nutritious ways to satisfy your chocolate craving at breakfast.
Top Off a Coffee Smoothie
Blend iced or cold brew coffee with frozen bananas, vanilla, and ice before sprinkling the top it with dark chocolate shavings and coconut flakes.
Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Parfait
Layer plain Greek yogurt with fresh-cut strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Add a dollop of peanut butter between layers, and finish with a few milk chocolate chips.
Swirl Into Oatmeal
For a fun take on steel-cut, old-fashioned, or instant oats, you can stir a couple chunks of chocolate into your warm bowl; it'll melt and give the oatmeal a heavenly hit of cocoa flavor. Add cinnamon and fresh berries or banana slices.
Make Trail Mix
If you' re short on time in the morning, you can quickly prep a blend of roasted almonds, peanuts, dried apricots, coconut chips, and dark or milk chocolate chips the night before work. The protein and healthy fats will keep you full as you power through morning meetings.
Top Your Toast
Toast tasting a little… dry? Cover a slice of sprouted grain or whole wheat bread with almond butter, apple slices, and chocolate shavings. Eat open face or fold in half to take it on the go.
Acaí is a zero-sugar fruit found in the Amazon that serves as the perfect base for a beautiful breakfast bowl. Blend frozen acai with a little coconut water, pour into a bowl, and top with kiwi, mango, flax seeds, toasted cashews, and cut-up pieces of dark chocolate.