How to nutritionally incorporate chocolate as part of a healthy diet

Leading dietitian and nutritionist, Susie Burrell, says discretionary foods like chocolate should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and indulging in a few sweet treats occasionally actually helps foster a healthy relationship with food.

Susie has shared some of her favourite chocolate (and peanut butter) recipes, and reveals how all of us can nutritionally incorporate chocolate within our diets.

Hazelnut, Cashew & Cacao Smoothie. Image supplied.

How can we nutritionally incorporate chocolate within our diets? Especially for those who are undergoing high protein diets?

Chocolate is a calorie-dense food with reasonable amounts of both fat and sugars. Like all foods though, it can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in controlled portions. Opting for dark chocolate will boost your intake of antioxidants and being rich in flavour will make it more difficult to overeat. Opting for portion controlled sized packs will help to prevent a complete calorie overload.

How and why does pairing chocolate with protein rich foods help slow down snacking?

Nutrient and protein rich foods such as nuts, Mayvers 100% natural nut spread, dairy and eggs are more slowly digested than carbohydrates and sugar-rich foods which means they help to keep us fuller for longer after eating. This also means that enjoying a small, 20-30g serve of dark chocolate with a tbsp of Mayver’s 100% natural nut spread, a handful of nuts or a chocolate and peanut butter protein ball will strike a perfect balance between nutrition and a delicious snack.

Susie Burrell
Susie Burrell. Image supplied.

Why does our body and brain need sugar? Would you ever recommend a zero-sugar diet (as that seems to be a trend!)?

Glucose is the building block of all sugars and is the primary source of fuel for both the muscles and the brain. All carbohydrate-rich foods are digested to this simple fuel to be used as energy by the body. While simple sugars do not offer the nutrient density of more complex carbohydrates, they can still be consumed in controlled amounts (20-30g) per day as part of a healthy diet.

What are your favourite chocolate (and peanut butter) recipes?

Choc peanut butter bliss balls and my special immunity hot chocolate!

Any other facts around chocolate you want to share?

The higher the % of cocoa the better – enjoy it as part of a healthy diet and you will be less likely to binge and can enjoy it as part of your favourite snacks or dessert.

Healthy chocolate-based recipes:

Choc Ripple Brownies By Susie Burrell

Susie Burrell choc ripple brownies recipe
Image supplied.

Time: 60 minutes | Serves: 16


3/4 cup Mayver’s Cacao Super Spread 2.5 tbsp butter 2 tbsp honey 1/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup cocoa powder 3 eggs, whisked 1/2 cup plain wholemeal flour 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. Line a non-stick 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking paper.

  2. Place 1/2 cup of Mayver’s Cacao Super Spread, butter, honey and salt in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Stir until the butter is melted and ingredients are well combined.

  3. Remove pan from heat and mix in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add eggs and mix vigorously until batter is smooth and shiny. Add flour and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Pour batter into lined tin.

  4. Using a teaspoon, place small dollops of remaining Mayver’s Cacao Super Spreadover the top of the batter and use a toothpick to create swirls.

  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove and cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Hazelnut, Cashew & Cacao Smoothie By Mayver’s

Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Dairy Free (optional)/Gluten Free/Egg Free


2 tbsp Mayver’s Hazelnut, Cashew & Cacao Spread 1 tbsp cacao nibs 1 frozen banana 1 cup almond milk 1 tsp chia seeds 1 tsp desiccated coconut Handful of ice cubes


  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.

  2. Blend ingredients until smooth.

  3. 3. Pour into glass and enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies By Mayver’s

Mayver's peanut butter & choc chip cookies recipe
Image supplied.

Time: 30 minutes | Makes: 10 cookies Gluten Free


2 cups almond meal 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 eggs 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips 1/2 cup Mayver’s Crunchy Peanut Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper.

  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well until the egg and coconut sugar is fully incorporated.

  3. Place large dollops of cookie dough onto tray using a spoon, ensuring 2cm between cookies.

  4. Bake cookies for 13 minutes or until golden brown on the top.

  5. Remove from oven and enjoy hot or cold!