Eat more dark chocolate? You heard right. Quality dark chocolate contains fiber, iron, magnesium and antioxidants, making it the perfect heart healthy food. According to Authority Nutrition, it improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure, overall lowering the risk of heart disease. With all the health benefits, it's a no-brainer that somehow, you need to work dark chocolate into your diet. Of course, you can't just go nuts with chocolate. While a large serving contains lots of good vitamins, it also has lots of calories and sugar, so be mindful that you add it into your day in moderation. And sure, you could just pop a square of dark chocolate in your mouth and call it a day, but here are some different ways to add dark chocolate into your diet, especially if you aren't a fan of the bitter taste.
>> Read more: 13 Healthy Benefits of Dark Chocolate
With fruit: Chocolate with fruit is a time-honored girls' night go-to that won't let you down. Melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle it over strawberries, cherries or bananas. Try dipping half of the fruit pieces into the chocolate and freezing it for a treat. Sprinkle chopped nuts over it for some protein and you have a great, healthy snack and your dark chocolate fix.
With veggies: This might seem weird, but it's kind of like peanut butter and celery. You put something really awesome with something not so awesome and suddenly it's your favorite snack. Here, you'll get the health benefits of the chocolate paired with the health benefits of your veggies and it doesn't get much better than that. Be bold and give it a go!
On popcorn: Ever heard of salty and sweet? Yeah, it's the best combination around. Ditch the chocolate-covered caramel (filled with calories and sugar) and skip straight to the chocolate. Drizzle melted dark chocolate on your popcorn for an insanely delicious treat. The Washington Post suggests using mushroom popcorn kernels for sturdier popcorn that won't wilt under the chocolate.
>> Read more: 50 Recipes to Satisfy Your Chocolate Craving
In a smoothie: Adding dark chocolate to your smoothie won't necessarily make it chocolate flavored, although you certainly could do so. Add whatever flavor you fancy and reap the benefits of having the antioxidants in your smoothie. Use dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet in this Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie for a great start to your morning!
In your cereal: You can add dark chocolate flakes to your cold cereal or dark chocolate chips to your hot cereal. Either way, you add a little something to your traditional breakfast option while also getting the heart healthy benefits of dark chocolate.
Added to your baked goods: Instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips in your cookies, muffins and brownies, try using dark chocolate. Try this Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake that calls for just two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips.
Mixed into your yogurt: Plain ol' low-fat Greek yogurt isn't the most satisfying taste to most people, but with a teaspoon of shaved dark chocolate, you can give that healthy snack a makeover and add a little something to make it yummy and heart healthy.
Covering your nuts and raisins: Opt for dark chocolate-covered raisins or nuts for a healthy addition to your favorite movie snack. Here are some more chocolate pairings that might seem weird but really enhance the flavor and wow your taste buds!
>> Click here for healthy substitutes for your favorite sweets when you're struggling to resist the temptation.