Valentine's day is almost round the corner. Not that I actually look forward to it or do anything special, I don't actually do anything on Valentine's day. But at least, I think the day isn't complete without a little chocolate treat! According to recent studies*, dark chocolate, or more so the flavanols present in chocolate, are actually very beneficial for the body as a pre-workout snack. These flavanols reduce muscle fatigue by 30% and increase performance by 50%. But don't go eat a whole block, only a little amount (about 5g) is recommended before exercise.
I am a serious chocolate lover and I only buy dark chocolate. I've never actually paid much attention in having a little bit of chocolate before exercise. But if this can improve my exercise performance, then I'm in! And a pre-workout protein bar is something that Boyfriendlovlie has been requesting for a long time to assist with his training.
Although I made this as a pre-workout protein bar, it was so good that I actually had it anytime I wanted a sweet healthier snack. Boyfriendlovlie absolutely loved it too! When I make little sweet snacks, he usually doesn't remember that they are there to be eaten (until I remind him) but for these ones, he came looking for them by himself! They definitely appealed to him!
Make sure you use dark chocolate that is above 70% as lower than this contains too much sugar and is not as effective.
Here's a little treat that will appeal to young and old alike. A chocolate covered protein bar that kids can enjoy and adults can fill up on for a protein-rich snack.
Ingredients (approx. 12 bars)
2 1/4 cup mixed red kidney beans and chickpeas
150ml pear puree (apple sauce is fine too, I use 1 1/2 ripe pears, peeled)
6 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut milk (thick consistency)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
200g Semi-sweet dark chocolate for coating (use dark chocolate about 70%)
- Soak the dates in some hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft enough to blend to a smooth paste.
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees Farenheit (or 180 degrees Celsius).
- Mash the beans to a paste, I used a hand blender which left a few small chunks in. It is fine to use a blender too but pulse to break into small chunks first.
- Remove dates from water, remove pits, chop into small pieces and add to the blender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a rectangular oven dish. Pour mixture in the dish and smooth out evenly.
- Bake for one and a half hours or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool completely.
- Lift parchment paper and remove from pan. Leave cake onto the parchment paper and cut into logs or squares, whichever shape you like.
For chocolate coating:
- Melt about 150g chocolate in a double boiler. You can make your own by using a smaller pan inside a larger one. Fill the larger one with enough water so the smaller pan floats. Place chocolate in smaller pan and heat the water until it melts.
- Coat each log on the three sides.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile you can melt the remaining 50g of chocolate.
- Remove and turn the uncoated side up. Coat with a layer of chocolate.
- Put back in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then remove and store in the fridge.
Nutrition Facts per bar:
1 serving (57.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet