If you’re like our weight loss clients (and like us), you want to enjoy chocolate without feeling heavy or experiencing a sugar crash after, but you’d still like to feel completely satisfied, ideally from a healthy no-bake dark chocolate dessert.
If there’s anything we’ve learned as registered dietitian nutritionists who also happen to own quite a sweet tooth 😉 , it is that there’s nothing better to keep you on the healthy track than a go-to chocolate recipe that’s just as easy as unwrapping a chocolate bar and just as delicious, yet low in calories, has health benefits and that has built-in portion-control so that you don’t have to worry that you’ll overeat it. That’s why we created this Healthy No Bake Dark Chocolate Dessert.
It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo and Whole 30-friendly, so everyone can enjoy it! Best of all? It completely squashes a chocolate craving with no added sugar. Yes, it’s naturally sweetened (from dates) and with its’ built-in trick to help you to avoid overindulging, we’re so excited for you to try it!
Watch the video (or read below for the scoop minus the jokes!) on the ingredients we do (& don’t) use.
Guess what our clients tell us? Our healthy dark chocolate dessert is reminiscent of a tootsie roll combined with a powdered donut! Not bad for a treat with no added sugar! We can’t wait for you to try it—and learn what makes this recipe so good—and good for you!
Why do we believe in the power of desserts for weight loss?
In order to make a weight loss plan sustainable, it must include foods that you truly enjoy. Otherwise, it becomes a fad diet or a quick fix, not a lifestyle. If you like sweet foods, avoiding them forever, just won’t work. Our clients tell us they love the desserts we share with them (and buy certain ones that we recommend) too because they’re delicious, satisfying have weight loss benefits and keep them on the healthy track.
You may be tempted to swap some of the ingredients that we use with others that you have laying around your house, but we don’t recommend doing that. Once you learn why the ingredients in this dessert with no added sugar work wonders for weight loss, we think you’ll agree with us!
Why do we use no (or very little) added sugar in our sweet desserts?
Sugar affects your brain so that you crave more sweets…
Have you ever had a handful of chocolate chips or a cookie or Reese‘s peanut butter cup and wanted another? 🙋♀️ Us too, ah! Sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gives us that happy “high” feeling so it makes us more likely to want to get that feeling again, —i.e. eat another cookie & keep eating them day after day.
As we eat sugary food more often, our brain adjusts and releases less dopamine. The only way to feel the same “high” as before is to eat more sweet food in larger amounts and more often. Oy! We’ve been there, done that, sigh! Read on…
Sugar changes your taste buds to favor weight gain.
It trains your taste buds to appreciate super sweet food rather than less sweet food. That ups the bar for the level of sweetness that will satisfy you.
Sugar, inflammation, and your waistline (and health), oh my!
Sugar creates inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is at the root of all diseases– and it’s a hallmark characteristic in all of our clients who are overweight. Inflammation puts additional stress on the body, and it actually makes it more difficult to lose weight because the body is trying to put out fires from the inflammation.
Since sugar adds to this firestorm, it causes more havoc on the inside and makes the entire body operate less efficiently. This includes the metabolism.
In summary, sugar causes cravings and leads to weight gain…
We’ve totally been down that sugary road…
Don’t let our veggie-stuffed fridges fool you, at heart, we’re still the twins we once were, only in more control! 😉
We’re not sure who is who here, but we both meant business when it came to sweets! (We think Lyssie may be the one holding the spoon with her left hand since she’s a lefty).
As we had a hard time controlling our favorite sweets that we used to eat back in high school. We thought nonfat frozen yogurt was a good dessert choice because it was “fat-free”, so that’s what we ate.
Instead of setting ourselves up for success when indulging in this sugary dessert that we loved, we’d arrive at the frozen yogurt store after skipping lunch so we were totally ready to indulge—and we would! One cup would lead to 2—or even 3! Ah! And, we kept wanting more and more.
That sugary dessert changed our sweet palate for the worse.
As if all that sugary frozen yogurt wasn’t bad enough for our waistline, our mom’s healthy cook-everything-from-scratch very low-sugar desserts that we previously loved, no longer satisfied us. They weren’t sweet enough compared to the sugary frozen yogurt.
We started getting frozen yogurt every day and we truly were like Pavlov’s dog salivating just at the thought of that sugary treat! Yes, our taste buds had been hijacked by the sugar-loaded yogurt. Lower sugar, healthier items no longer cut the mustard, or shall we say no longer cut the yogurt?!
We’ve seen similar situations with our new clients. We did ultimately turn it around for ourselves—and for them! More on that below, but all of this is why we don’t add sugar (or we use very little) in our desserts!
We make naturally sweet desserts with weight loss benefits.
Naturally sweet desserts come with health benefits that help to put out inflammation and that help your taste buds to readjust to enjoy less sugary sweets.
In nature, sugar in fruit is surrounded by fiber, and it naturally comes in a “container” that produces a shorter blood sugar response and helps you to feel full, unlike refined sugars that are concentrated. That’s why we typically make desserts with little to no added sugar. Don’t worry; we still make them totally satisfying and super easy to make, (like this healthy no-bake chocolate dessert!)
You may also like these no (or little) added sugar desserts:
Why do we use wholesome ingredients?
They haven’t been dolled up with sugar, fat, or other ingredients that add many calories, leading to weight gain and increased inflammation.
When it comes to chocolate, we don’t mess around!
We love it with all our heart (keep reading why this is a pun intended! 😉 ). That’s why we typically use the ones that also come with health benefits. We’re talking raw, unprocessed cacao powder and nibs and raw chocolates and dark chocolates without added preservatives, colorings, and dairy.
The reason we choose unprocessed/raw chocolates is that as chocolate goes through more processing, the high heat destroys many of the health-promoting antioxidants. Often that’s when sugar, oil, milk fat, and other additives are added—so you lose the health and anti-inflammatory goodness and gain other things that can contribute to weight gain and that aren’t necessarily good for you.
The active compound, in cacao (aka our lover, chocolate, of course!), theobromine, is a naturally bitter flavor that helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients more efficiently throughout your body by dilating your blood vessels and allowing more blood flow. It contributes to heart health and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol while helping with PMS, and possibly even improves mental clarity and focus.
Bloated? High blood pressure? If you tend to hold water, you’ll appreciate that theobromine is also a diuretic, so it helps to rid the body of excess fluid by causing you to urinate more.
You can see why choosing the best chocolate is important. You wouldn’t want to lose these benefits. Adding sugars, oils or preservatives would make it pro-inflammatory and also add extra calories that contribute to weight gain.
Belly fat bonus!
Research shows the unique antioxidants found in chocolate may help with lowering cortisol and other “stress hormones.” Cortisol is a stress hormone that can lead to belly fat. You can read more about how cortisol puts the brakes on fat burning and increases cravings and what you can do about it here. Remember, we’re talking about the cacao/cocoa with very little if any, processing.
When you choose unprocessed chocolate, you’re fighting inflammation and you’re also creating less stress in the body, lowering cortisol in that way too.
Why do we add dates?
Sink your teeth into a date and you’ll feel how satisfying it is. Sweet and chewy goodness. While dates are dried fruit, making them higher in calories and sugar than fresh fruit, they are magical in recipes and in their health benefits.
Like any food that contains sugar (and that’s higher in calories), even natural sugar like the kind found in dates, you don’t want to eat them in unlimited quantities. Portion control is always king. That being said, the difference between dates with their naturally occurring sugar compared to processed, refined sugar in a recipe is night and date. Whoops, we mean night and day. 😉
While added sugar increases inflammation in the body and spikes blood sugar, the sugar that comes with the date is packaged with antioxidants and fiber (to stabilize blood sugar, preventing it from getting too high after eating and preventing constipation).
Plus, dates protect your cells from free radical damage and prevent inflammation, thanks to their antioxidants. This means they help to keep your body in better working order. A healthier body has fewer fires to put out and can focus on weight loss. And the antioxidants help to lessen inflammation and appear to lower the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancers, macular degeneration, and heart disease.
Why else is this dessert magical for your waistline? It’s PORTION-CONTROLLED!
Yes, it’s got built-in portion control!
Once you make this easy dessert, the key is to store these treats in the freezer. When you want to indulge, you can’t eat it immediately, (believe us, we’ve tried—and nearly broke a tooth trying to bite into the frozen delicacy!)
You need to let it defrost for a few minutes– so you can’t eat impulsively the way you could stand in the freezer with a spoon eating from a container of ice cream. Also, you can decide to eat one and take it out to thaw for a few minutes, take a few deep breaths as you wait for it to soften, and then slowly enjoy! You must plan before you eat it and that’s what sets you up for success.
Ready in minutes, you don’t even have to clean a blender!
We hope you’re getting excited because this dessert is also hassle-free. We want our clients (and you) to have a dessert that’s so easy to make that it’s nearly as quick as opening a wrapper to chocolate candy, so it’s a realistic option to turn to. This healthy weight-loss dessert recipe takes moments to make and it’s a no-bake recipe that doesn’t even use a blender!
Simply drop (a date) and roll. Eat one and freeze–or freeze them all.
The dates and cacao are an inflammation-fighting, sweet tooth-busting machine. They satisfy your sweet cravings in a healthy way that just happens to keep your heart healthy too while preventing constipation and the gut bulges that come with it.
Healthy No Bake Dark Chocolate Dessert
This chewy sweet goodness is something you can really sink your teeth in and it’s so satisfying. The intense chocolate flavor from the cacao powder gets sweetened by the naturally sweet date, and together, they make pure magic.
The powdery cacao is a bit reminiscent of a tootsie roll and powdered doughnut and when you sink your teeth into the date, that’s when you hear the music! 🙂 The key is to freeze these so you can’t eat them on an impulse. You can take one out at a time to thaw, rather than standing in the freezer the way that you could with a container of ice cream.
And if you’re gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, or if you follow Whole 30, this recipe is for you!
- 6 Medjool dates pitted*
- 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
- Place the cacao powder in a bowl. Roll each date in the cacao powder and then place in a single layer on parchment paper in Tupperware or place it flat in a plastic bag. Put in freezer. Take one or two dates out and allow them to thaw for about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!
*Delget dates are more minor than Medjool, you can substitute with delget dates but may want to decrease the cacao powder. Calories will be lower too.
1 chocolate date = 74 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and no added sugar!
How did we beat the sugar cycle we mentioned?
Thank goodness we busted through that vicious cycle and now we eat in such a way that cravings don’t get the best of us and our favorite ways to squash a sweet tooth craving is with naturally sweet desserts and store-bought desserts that use no (or very little) added sugar.
We help our clients to do the same by eating well during the day so that their body is much more resistant to cravings in the first place and so that a small amount of dessert satisfies them. Plus, we have tricks to eat occasional sugary treats without it the best of them. We (and they) can eat a small portion of the sugary foods we all crave without overindulging.