Valentine's Day Treats: Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit
It’s no coincidence that Valentine’s Day falls during National Heart Awareness Month. Let’s take care of our hearts – anatomical and emotional – this week with these dark-chocolate dipped treats. Chocolate Dipped Fruit, especially when compared to other desserts, is low in calories, sugar, and saturated fats. They also have the benefit of added fiber (keep the skin on your fruits when able!) and vitamins and minerals.
Here’s how Chocolate Dipped Fruit does a body (and heart) good:
Dark chocolate. Choose good quality dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa content. Dark chocolate is rich in fiber (for healthy digestion), iron and copper (for making and circulating blood cells), magnesium (for healthy bones and proper metabolism). The high antioxidant content in dark chocolate may also drastically reduce the risk of heart disease.
Red fruit. Strawberries, the quintessential Valentine’s Day fruit – as well as watermelon, cherries, raspberries, apples, and more – are good sources of fiber (leave that apple skin on!), vitamin A, and vitamin C. Choose from the red spectrum for your Chocolate Dipped Fruit and your digestive system, immune system, and vision will all thank you.
Orange fruit. Carotenoids – the orange pigment found in citrus, cantaloupe, mango, peaches, and more – repair DNA, help prevent cancer and heart disease. Potassium and vitamin A strengthen our vision, keep our skin healthy, and protect our immune system.
Yellow fruit. Lemons, pineapple, and other yellow fruits are high in antioxidants that keep our immune systems strong and our hearts healthy.
Green fruit. Kiwis, grapes, honeydew, and more – like green vegetables – are nutrient powerhouses. Phytochemicals help prevent cancer. Vitamin K and carotenoids keeps our eyes, bones, and teeth strong.
White fruit. Bananas, pears, and other “white-ish” fruits have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. They also help keep our cholesterol low and our hearts healthy.
Blue fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, and other blue or purple fruits have a ton of antioxidants and many are high in vitamin C. These fruits improve circulation and prevent blood clots, which equals a heathy heart.
Do you sense a theme? Choose your fruit – you can’t go wrong! – or two or three, then dip in dark chocolate. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day or National Heart Awareness Month.
Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit
It’s no coincidence that Valentine’s Day falls during National Heart Awareness Month. Let’s take care of our hearts – anatomical and emotional – with Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit.
|1/4 cup high-quality dark chocolate chips (at least 70%)|
|Fresh fruit (large strawberries, pineapple spears, apple or pear slices, sliced banana, peach or plum slices, orange segments)|
- Place dark chocolate in a microwave save bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to combine. If necessary heat another 15 seconds until chocolate is smooth.
- Prepare fruit of choice by slicing or segmenting, leaving the skin intact when possible (for more nutrients!). Dip pieces of fruit about halfway into melted chocolate and lay on wax paper to dry. Refrigerate 10-20 minutes until firm.
Written by Danielle Cushing, RD, LDN, CNSC. Photos by Sandy Koehler, RDN, LDN.