Having a chocolate binge around that time of the month or after a mega-stressful day at work can feel pretty awesome in the moment — until you wake up with a chocolate-size hangover the next day. That's not to say that eating some of the "healthier" chocolates out there means you can binge like a maniac, but at the very least, you'll know you're making a smarter choice when you finally satisfy your craving.
Low-carb chocolates have come a long way since the Atkins heyday of the '90s. In fact, if you were to take the time to do a blind taste test with a few friends, you might not be able to tell the difference between these low-carb treats and their high-carb counterparts.
Craving a bite of smooth Belgian chocolate? Ross Chocolates makes sugar-free, low-carb chocolate bars that come in 10 different flavors: dark (dairy-free), white (caffeine-free), supreme (milk chocolate), mint, crunchy, orange, almond, cherry, coconut and raspberry. Ross sweetens the chocolate with maltitol. Since they are sugar-free, these bars are also a healthy choice for diabetics and kids as well as for low-carb dieters. The retail price is $2 per bar. The dark chocolate bar has only 1 gram of carbs — the lowest among the others, which range up to 3.9 grams. (Ross Direct, $2)
Chances are you can spot a box of Russell Stover quickly by the signature red bow. You may have been looking the other way when you pass by a box, but now you don't have to. The company has its own line of low-carb, sugar-free candies. You're going to drool when you hear the choices. Ready? Solid milk chocolate, mint, toffee, peanut butter, truffle, caramel and nuts. For Valentine's Day, try out the low-carb assortment presented in a sweetly heart-shaped box. Each serving contains only 0.3 grams of net carbs and zero sugar carbs. (Russell Stover, $6 and up)
If you are on the Atkins diet, you may have already tried out the Endulge line of chocolates and other goodies. Choices include chocolate candies (that look kind of like M&M'S), dark chocolate fudge squares and dark chocolate raspberry squares. The popular chocolate candies have only 1 gram of net carbs, 1 gram of protein and 4 grams of fiber. (Atkins, $6)
Count on Trader Joe's to always have its healthy and delicious options at the ready. Trader Joe's carries the Simply Lite 45 percent cacao dark chocolate bar with almonds, no sugar added, and it's to die for. It also contains only 2 grams of net carbs for three squares of chocolate. (Amazon.com, $10)
Well, the name says it all, and this low-carb chocolate tastes pretty great too. With 2 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 60 percent cacao, this sugar-free dark chocolate mini bar is virtually guilt-free and gluten-free. And it's going to cost you only a dollar. (Lucky Vitamin, $1)
This is the fine Belgian chocolate you're going to find at most health food and vitamin stores, and it's a popular low-carb choice because it's high in fiber, made with maltitol and has only 2 grams of net carbohydrates. Overall, it's a pretty cheap choice for a treat if you want to scratch that chocolaty itch healthfully. (Vitacost, $2)
With all the new and healthier sugar substitutes on the market, the best thing about being on a low-carb diet these days is that you can still have your chocolate and eat it too.
Originally published December 2007. Updated September 2016.
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