Inside: Learn how to make the easiest dark chocolate raspberry bark that’s packed full of antioxidants with only 52 calories per serving!
Valentine’s Day is typically celebrated with sweet treats and chocolate – and while sometimes it’s okay to indulge a little bit, holidays like these can also be tough if you’re trying to cut back on how much added sugar you typically eat. This dark chocolate bark with raspberries is aimed at satisfying your sweet tooth without loading up on empty calories.
We all know that too much sugar is bad for you. It’s a little more complicated than that, of course, because not all “sugar” is created equal. The huge problems – and so many of the health issues we face as a society – comes from added sugar. The difference is simple to understand. Added sugars are just that – sweeteners added during processing, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit or milk.
Those added sugars stack up, like the ones commonly found in soft drinks, candy, processed foods, and so on, and increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. They are already in so many of the foods you find on the shelf, so sweets-oriented holidays like Valentine’s Day can mean overindulging even more, and thereby increasing your risk factor for the negative effects sugar can cause.
So, with all of that in mind, we’ll be looking at how to make dark chocolate bark with raspberries! It’s a much healthier sweet treat you can enjoy this Valentine’s Day – one without a ton of added sugar, and much better for you than the candy you buy in the store.
First, however, let’s take a closer look at the damage too much sugar can do to your body (and mind)…
This is why you need to cut back on added sugar
A 2017 study found that European adults consume as much as 17% of their calories in the form of added sugars, and based on what we know of the troublesome Standard American Diet (SAD), we can make some assumptions that American consumption is similar – or higher. Most dietary guidelines suggest restricting added sugar consumption to 10% of your caloric intake.
Beyond weight gain and diabetes, excessive sugar consumption has been linked to a host of other ailments:
- In teens, frequent sugar intake has been shown to increase acne prevalence
- A 2014 study found that those with a high sugar diet (17% to 21% of calories from added sugar) had a significantly higher risk of dying from heart disease
- Depression studies that look at dietary behaviors point toward sugar consumption as a factor for increased odds of self-reported depression, and make symptoms more severe for those already suffering
- Excess sugar damages teeth and overall dental health
- Eating sugary foods can increase the risk of developing gout
- Sugar consumption may accelerate the skin aging process
- The “crash” from sugar leaves you feeling sluggish, and over time, this can become a cycle of sugar binges and deep crashes
This is really the tip of the iceberg. It seems that researchers are constantly finding more negative effects associated with sugar intake – and yet, it’s all around us… In sauces, beverages, chips, fast food, salad dressing… The list just goes on and on.
The good news is that with a little bit of intention, you can drastically reduce your sugar intake. It just takes some know-how, what types of food to prepare, and what things to avoid… And it doesn’t mean sacrificing everything sweet!
A naturally sweet alternative to reduce added sugars
Today’s raspberry chocolate bark recipe is one such example – a delicious Valentine’s Day treat focused on simple ingredients. Not only is it easy to make, it’s so much better for you than the average candy bar! Not only does this dark chocolate raspberry bark contain less sugar, it also has only 52 calories per serving – compared to 148 in your typical candy bar serving.
To top it off, you’ll get the added benefit of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate AND antioxidant-rich raspberries! Raspberries are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin e, selenium, beta carotene, and fiber.
This Valentine’s Day “sweet treat” will still have some decadence – even dark chocolate has its own kind of sweetness, and the freeze-dried raspberries bring an excellent balance of fruity sweetness and a little bit of tart!
Best of all, this healthy alternative to Valentine’s Day candy is super easy to make. Enjoy your dark chocolate raspberry bark!
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cacao or higher)
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries
Melt dark chocolate and spread evenly onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
**My easy tip for melting chocolate: put the chocolate into a plastic Zip-Lock bag and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Rotate and heat for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the chocolate is melted, then cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag and squeeze the chocolate out onto the parchment paper.
Sprinkle the freeze-dried raspberries evenly over the top. Allow the tray to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours until dark chocolate hardens.
Break into pieces and serve!
This treat is best enjoyed within 1-2 days, as humidity can cause the freeze dried fruit to soften over time (it still tastes great, but the texture will be less crispy)
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
52 Calories, 7 grams Carbs, 0 grams Protein, 3 grams Fat