Can chocolate be healthy for children?

March 15, 2023

Blog > Bateel Gourmet

Chocolate will undoubtedly always be regarded as an indulgent treat, but it must be acknowledged that not all chocolate is nutritious. It is no surprise children love chocolate in any shape or form, however, parents frequently wonder if it is safe for their kids as chocolate is frequently associated with poor dental health.

Health benefits of chocolate

Chocolate is beneficial to children’s health as it contains several nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, and flavonoids.

  1. Improves mood – Chocolate is well-known for its ability to increase serotonin, the most significant neurotransmitter that regulates mood and affects happiness. When it comes to children, one must be more cautious as too much serotonin stimulation might result in excessive excitement.
  2. Provides instant energy – When exhaustion or a lack of energy sets in, a bite of chocolate can revitalise your child and give an instant boost of energy.
  3. Protects heart and brain function – Flavanols are special antioxidant compounds found in chocolate that can help protect our kids’ hearts and brains. According to a study [1], it was found that cocoa beans have more antioxidant content than açaí berries and blueberries.
  4. Reduces plaque – Contrary to popular belief, chocolate helps to lessen the amount of plaque. Cocoa Bean Husk (CBH), a substance present in dark chocolate, has been shown to fortify enamel [2]. The likelihood of tooth decay will be decreased, and dental health will be preserved by properly cleaning the teeth at least twice daily.
  5. Enhances well-being – Eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even cognitive decline. Although these ailments are usually diagnosed at a much later age, the idea is to cultivate healthy habits that safeguard our children’s wellbeing for their entire lives.

How to choose chocolate for a kid?

When opting for a chocolate as a treat, it is important to realise that only high-quality chocolate should be given to children. Choose a chocolate that has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, as this will contain less sugar and more antioxidants. Look for chocolates with at least 70% cocoa solids. Such chocolate has reduced fat, sugar, and milk content.

Chocolate is frequently packaged with unhealthy substances such as hydrogenated oils. On a chocolate label, hydrogenated oils may be listed as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “hydrogenated vegetable oil”, which is best to avoid, same as palm oil.

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? [1]

Since milk chocolate contains higher proportion of cocoa butter and sugar, , it makes it sweeter and hence more appealing to children’s tastes, but it is also higher in fat and less healthy. Dark chocolate is undoubtedly the healthiest option because its major ingredient is cocoa along with other elements, such as sugar and vegetable fats being present in a small percentage.

Introducing dark chocolate to a child can be challenging as it has a stronger and more bitter taste compared to milk chocolate. Here are a few tips to make your child like dark chocolate:

  • Instead of big chocolate bars, opt for small candies. It can take some time for a child’s taste buds to adjust to the bitterness of dark chocolate.
  • Pair it with a drink, giving a small piece of dark chocolate along with a glass of milk will help balance the bitterness of the chocolate.
  • Opt for a mild-flavoured dark chocolate with lower cocoa percentages, which will have a less intense taste.
  • Encourage your child to participate in choosing and trying different types of dark chocolate and make it a fun and exciting experience.

How much chocolate can be given to a kid?

Even though chocolate can positively impact one’s mood and has a number of health benefits, the impact of chocolates on toddlers and children can be negative if consumed in the wrong quantity.

It is also important to consider the child’s age, weight, and any underlying health conditions they may have before giving them chocolate or any other sweets.

As a first step, children can try premium quality chocolate, like Bateel’s Date and Orange Dark Chocolate, in a small amount so that they gradually become accustomed to the new flavour. This vegan chocolate bar has a smooth texture and a deep dark colour, making it the ideal sweet treat. In comparison  to milk chocolate[1], dark chocolate enhances fullness, reduces the desire to consume something sweet, and suppresses energy intake. By controlling your kid’s chocolate consumption from the start, you can ensure that they benefit from it while avoiding any potential side effects.

Dates can be a great substitute if chocolate is not recommended for a child due to health reasons, particularly Bateel kholas dates with their toffee-like flavour.  Dates are rich in Vitamin B5 and B6, and contain less saturated fat. Dates also have a low glycemic index, meaning that unlike refined sugars natural to chocolate, they won’t cause huge blood sugar spikes.

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