When it comes to a sweet snack, you can't go past chia pods for their fibre and nutrition. For this snack I've added some extra fruit and a couple of squares of chocolate. You can also vary the chia pod by adding in cacao powder to give it a choc flavour.
What is the difference between the common Cocoa and Cacao - (pronounced ka-kow)?
Both come from the same plant and studies have shown chocolate to have powerful health benefits. Cocoa is made from roasted and ground cacao seeds and usually they are treated with an alkali agent. In this way it is quite processed. The heat used in the cocoa-making process affects the cacao beans and causes them to lose nutrition. Antioxidant flavonoids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals are reduced. The beans are also pressed to remove the natural fats (cacao butter) and then refined sugar, unhealthy fats and flavourings are usually added back in.
Cacao is raw and is made by cold pressing non-roasted cacao seeds. This helps them retains more of the natural antioxidants of the beans themselves. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate. It's lighter colour is attributed to the natural cocoa butter still present. This is why I recommend using Cacao from a nutrition point of view. However, cocoa is the cheaper option and it still has some nutritional benefits.
Did you realise how little cocoa or cacao is present in regular chocolate! The average is only 22%. As discussed above, the rest of the chocolate is usually comprised of refined sugar, unhealthy fats and flavourings. This is why it's important to choose dark chocolate. Luckily, it is getting easier to find dairy-free chocolate like Lindt (>70%). It does have more of a bitter flavour, but coming from someone who used to love milk chocolate, your taste buds will change and you'll find that the regular kind will just taste too sweet for you in the end.
This chia pod is not as sweet as you may like it either. Feel free to add in some extra maple syrup, if you are still adjusting to less refined sugar in your diet. But most of all, I hope you will enjoy this sweet snack that will feed your body at the same time. Instead of overindulging, savour those two pieces and enjoy the moment.
vegan, dairy-free, gluten free, nut-free
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cup apple sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional - 2 Tbsp cacao instead)
1 1/3 cup raspberries
8 squares of dairy-free dark chocolate (>70%) or Carob
Mix the chia seeds, water, apple sauce, coconut milk, cinnamon (or cacao) together in a bowl and pour into 4 separate jars and refrigerate. It will thicken over time - after 10 mins and overnight. Serve with raspberries, chopped banana, and chocolate - enjoy!