It is actually the cacao which is the source of the many health benefits which are attributed to "chocolate". I found lots of articles and studies about the many good health benefits to be found in cacao. Here, for those interested, is a link to one such article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820066/ .
By using the unsweetened 100% cacao bar as a base, I get all of the health benefits of dark chocolate without added sugar.
Of course, eaten by itself, 100% dark chocolate is not at all sweet, so I combine it with other pure foods to balance the flavor. One of my favorite combinations uses just three ingredients to make what I have found to be the perfect energy snack:
Just Enough Fig Pockets.
I always have a serving in my pocket for those times when I find my energy flagging.
Just Enough Fig Pockets are also the perfect snack when it comes to storage and preparation. None of the ingredients require refrigeration, they have a long shelf life, they are not easily bruised or damaged, they meet TSA requirements, so you can take them with you on a plane.
Step 1: Just Three Ingredients.
There are 3 ingredients:
100% cacao dark chocolate baking bar.
I always use Ghirardelli's 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate.
Organic dried figs.
These provide natural sweetness and fiber.
Organic dry roasted almonds or walnuts. These are a source of protein .
I find this combination to be perfectly in balance: I never feel a sugar rush, or a carbo load, just a nice lift and an energy boost which can keep me going.
Step 2: Just One Utensil (and a Cutting Board).
Step 3: Prepare Your Ingredients.
Break off a square from the bar, then break the square into smaller bits.
2. Use the knife to slit one side of the fig.
Gently spread the sides to open a pocket in the fig.
3. The nuts will be used whole, so they need no special preparation.
Step 4: Fill the Fig Pocket. Wrap Individual Snacks.
If you have time to prepare ahead, you can easily make a week's worth of Just Enough Fig Pockets from one Ghirardelli bar, a pack of dried figs and a pack of nuts.
If you are pressed for time, you can make a single Just Enough Fig Pocket to take with you that day.
If you are in a real time crunch, you can just put the 3 ingredients in a bag, and combine them at snack time.
To Make a Just Enough Fig Pocket:
Place nut(s) and Ghirardelli bits into the pocket you cut in the fig. The goal is to balance the flavor and texture of the 3 ingredients to your taste.
Close the sides of the fig over the filling.
Wrap the fig in plastic wrap or foil.