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Chocolate energy bites

Disaster has struck here at Mummy HQ. The Lovely Husband is gallivanting around the world on business and after wrestling my little monkeys into bed I have arrived downstairs to face the sad reality of No Wine.

Given that I have been looking forward to a reviving glass of something since about 9am, this is devastating.

I do realise that makes me sound a little alcohol-dependent. However it is nearing the end of February and we are still listening to Dora's Christmas Fiesta every morning in the car. I assume that is a sufficient explanation.

Fortunately, what I lack in wine, I have in chocolate. I have recently been experimenting with raw food energy bars and found these little gems along the way.

They are a perfect after-dinner treat when you fancy something a little sweet.

Having said that, researchers from Tel Aviv University would have you eating them at breakfast instead.

In their recent study of 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic patients, they found that eating dessert at breakfast time amounted to a weight-loss advantage of more than 40lbs.

The subjects in this study were split into two groups and given an even allocation of calories each day.

However the first group was given a low-carb plan and the second group was given a high-carb, high-protein plan that included dessert at breakfast time.

By the end of 32 weeks, subjects in the second group had lost an average of 40lbs more than those in the first group and reported a greater level of dietary satisfaction.

Be careful in how you interpret this information though. The lesson here is not simply that you can eat dessert and lose weight, but rather that the average person's metabolism responds better to a greater proportion of calories being allocated at the beginning of the day, rather than at the end.

It's logical really we need food to fuel our activity and we manage that best when we fuel ourselves well at the start of the day.

Eating too much towards the end of the day means that calories ultimately get stored instead.

The problem is, most of us prefer to treat ourselves at night as we unwind. So what's the solution?

It's twofold. Firstly, eat a good-sized breakfast to kick-start your metabolism and begin the day feeling full and satisfied. This will help you to make healthy choices later on.

Secondly, if you do have a sugar craving in the evening, choose something that nourishes you and works with your body, rather than against it.

This recipe uses raw cacao (instead of regular cocoa), which is incredibly antioxidant rich. The seeds provide a healthy dose of good fat which helps to slow the release of glucose from the fruit and also delivers a sustaining energy boost.

Sustained energy equals more satisfaction, which equals less likelihood you will dive head first into a bowl of ice-cream.

For more nutritional know-how and tips on how to lose weight and lose it for good, check out the details for my nutrifit class at www.natural.bm.

Nutrifit will transform your approach to what you eat and gives you all the information you need to make smart, informed, ethical and economical food choices.

Not only will you shape up, but you'll double your energy too!

Chocolate energy bites (makes 10-12)

Ingredients:

Ÿ ¼ c dried cranberries

Ÿ ¼ c dried blueberries

Ÿ 15 Medjool dates, stoned

Ÿ ¼ c raw sunflower seeds

Ÿ ¼ c raw cacao powder

Ÿ 2 tsp coconut oil (e.g. Spectrum from Lindos)

Ÿ 45g raw cacao chocolate bar

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients (apart from the bar of Raw Cacao) in a food processor until you get a dough-like consistency. Then roll the mixture into balls.

2. Next, gently melt the raw cacao bar and spoon a small amount on top of each ball.

3. Transfer to the fridge until set!

Notes: I use the Eden dried blueberries and cranberries from Supermart (where they are most reasonably priced).

Raw cacao powder and bars are available sporadically from Miles and from health food stores. If you can't find them, replace with good quality dark chocolate/cocoa instead.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA hons, dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For contact details please go to www.natural.bm.

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Published February 24, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 24, 2012 at 7:35 am)

Chocolate energy bites

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