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Dietitians <3 Chocolate Too!

February is a month with LOTS to celebrate! It is not only American Heart Month, but also Chocolate Month! And Valentine’s Day also gives us another reason to celebrate and eat chocolate. In our current culture, chocolate may be seen as a “guilty pleasure” or a “sometimes food”. But chocolate actually contains nutrients and some health benefits. If celebrating with sweets, a moderate amount of chocolate can actually be good for us!

Here are some fast facts and new findings about chocolate:

Dark chocolate is considered high in antioxidants, which can help protect us against certain cancers. Eating about one ounce of chocolate every day during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth and development1.

Findings vary, but consuming small amounts of chocolate may be linked to a lower risk of stroke and heart disease2,3. Enjoy a chocolate treat this month, with added vitamins A & E from the pumpkin and walnuts in this recipe:

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

Courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach website, Spend Smart Eat Smart:


  • Nonstick cooking spray 1 can

  • (15 ounces) pumpkin

  • 1 box (18 ounces) chocolate cake mix

  • 3 eggs

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) apple juice

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Serving Size: 1 cupcake Serves: 24

Cost/Serving: $0.12

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

  • Combine the pumpkin, cake mix, eggs, and apple juice in a large mixing bowl.

  • Beat batter well.

  • Fill muffin tins 2/3 full of batter. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

  • Bake according to package directions for cupcakes (about 20 minutes).

  • Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

  • Let cool on rack for 5-10 minutes. Remove from tin.


Bujold, E., Babar, A., Lavoie, E.G., Girard, M.F., Leblanc, V., Lemieux, S., Poungui, L., Marc, I., Abdous, B., & Dodin, S. (2016). 32: High-flavanol chocolate to improve placental function and to decrease the risk of preeclampsia: a double blind randomized clinical trial. Can chocolate lower your risk of stroke? (2010, February 11) Kwok, C. S., Boekholdt, S. M., Lentjes, M. A. H., Loke, Y. K., Luben, R. N., Yeong, J. K., ...Khaw, K.-T. (2015, June 15). Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women [Abstract]. Heart. Retrieved from

Blog Submitted by Ann Parker



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