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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

15 Breakfast Foods to Avoid, Plus 10 to Try

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With many people claiming that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you may wonder whether all breakfast options are created equal.

After all, who wouldn’t like to enjoy a tasty, filling, and nutritious breakfast that keeps them fueled for the morning ahead?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healthiest breakfast choices contain a combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you feeling full until lunchtime, along with a moderate amount of unrefined carbs to provide quick energy (1, 2, 3).

Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods don’t meet these criteria and may leave you feeling either hungry shortly after eating or uncomfortably full.

Here are 15 breakfast foods to skip, along with 10 healthier alternatives and some tips and ideas on how to create your own healthy breakfasts that’ll have you excited to get out of bed and start the day.

Despite their sweet, crunchy profile and common presence on the breakfast table, most sugary cereals won’t sustain you for long.

They’re typically full of sugar and low in protein, meaning that they’ll rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. This can lead to irritability and hunger once the blood-sugar-reducing hormone insulin takes effect (4).

Likewise, even unsweetened cereals like corn or bran flakes tend to be low in protein, with just 2 grams of protein per cup (25 grams) and 4 grams of protein per cup (45 grams), respectively. So, while they contain less added sugar, they’re still not the best way to start your day (5, 6).

Even more natural-seeming options like granola are often loaded with added sugars, which have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (7).

For these reasons, while sugary or other highly refined cereals may be alright as a once-in-a-while treat, they’re not the best everyday breakfast option.

We hate to break it to you, but pancakes and waffles are not a nutritious way to fuel your mornings. Despite their tasty profile, these comfort foods are often made with refined white flour and topped with butter and syrup, which is essentially pure sugar.

This means that pancakes and waffles are high in calories, fat, and sugar, yet lacking in protein and fiber. So, while they can fill you up quickly, they won’t keep you full for long (2).

However, if your cravings for pancakes or waffles are too strong to ignore, opt for versions with whole grains or other nutrient-dense ingredients like almond or chickpea flour. You can pair them with protein sources of your choice, and use nut butter instead of syrup as a topping.

Buttered toast is a simple and easy breakfast. All you need is a slice of bread and some butter, and you’re in for a crunchy, salty morning meal.

Nevertheless, this option won’t sustain you for any lasting amount of time due to its lack of protein. The vast majority of the calories in buttered toast come from the carbs in the bread and the fat from the butter (8, 9).

Yet, bread and butter can still be an appropriate breakfast option if you choose whole grain bread and add protein-rich toppings like eggs or shredded chicken breast. To further boost the nutrient content, add sliced vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or leafy greens.

Muffins are widely considered to be a somewhat healthy choice for breakfast, especially if they contain healthy ingredients like bran, oats, apples, or blueberries.

Unfortunately, this is often a misconception. In fact, most muffins are made with refined white flour, oil, and loads of sugar, offering little in the way of protein or fiber. Additionally, they’re often large and loaded with calories, some containing nearly 400 calories each (10).

If you still decide to reach for a muffin in the morning, make sure to choose a version made with whole grain or other types of less refined flour, fruits and nuts, and minimal added sugar.

Even though you might think that quenching your thirst with fruit juice is healthier than drinking sugary sodas or sweetened teas, it’s not the best drink choice.

While fruit juice contains nutrients and antioxidants, it’s high in sugar and low in the fiber found in whole fruits, meaning it’s not particularly filling (11).

Thus, it’s best to only enjoy this colorful drink occasionally, and stick to whole fruit most mornings.

Donuts, cinnamon rolls, danishes, and toaster pastries are just a few examples of the many breakfast pastries that are commonly reached for on busy mornings.

However, these aren’t good choices for your go-to breakfast. They’re loaded with sugar, fat, and calories while being low in protein and fiber. That means they’re unlikely to keep you full for any significant amount of time, and you may end up hungry long before lunchtime (12).

Save these breakfast pastries for special occasions or once-in-a-while treats, and choose a more balanced meal for your day-to-day breakfast.

Among yogurt’s many benefits, it’s a good source of protein and probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that may improve your digestive health (13).

However, many types of yogurt are loaded with added sugar, making them less healthy choices. What’s more, many popular varieties have had most or all of their fat content removed, which means they may be less filling than full fat alternatives (14).

For a healthier alternative, try full fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt. It’s higher in protein than other varieties, and you can easily sweeten it yourself to taste. For example, add a dash of honey, a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia, or better yet, sliced, grated, or mashed fresh fruits.

There are many varieties of breakfast bars on the market, from granola to cereal to oat bars.

Regrettably, the vast majority of these are highly processed and full of added sugars, which makes them a suboptimal breakfast choice (15).

If you still opt for a breakfast bar, look for one that’s made with whole food ingredients, contains limited added sugar, and has at least 10 grams of protein per serving to promote fullness.

Essentially all common breakfast meats are highly processed — bacon, sausage, and ham included. These are loaded with salt, which may increase blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals (16).

They also contain other additives like nitrites, which may increase your risk of certain cancers like stomach cancer. Nevertheless, more research is needed to fully understand how processed meat intake affects cancer risk (17, 18).

Regardless, decreasing your intake may help lower your risk. Instead, try making a simple, healthier sausage alternative using seasoned ground pork.

While biscuits and gravy are a traditional Southern breakfast in the United States, they’re best reserved for special occasions.

Biscuits, which are a type of breakfast quick bread, are high in fat and typically made with refined white flour. Additionally, the gravy they’re served with is usually made with salty and high fat ingredients like oil or butter and pork sausage, along with more white flour (19).

So, even though this meal may keep you feeling full for a while, it’s not the most nutritious choice.

The high fat content of the meal can also lead to digestive upset and leave you feeling uncomfortably full (20).

Some premade smoothies, particularly those you can get from drive-thru shops, mostly comprise sugar, and they’re typically made from powders or mixes rather than fresh ingredients.

Unfortunately, smoothies tend to be low in protein, so they won’t keep you full for long. If you’re stopping by a smoothie shop for breakfast, ask for extra protein powder if it’s an option, and look for a flavor that’s free of added sugar (21, 22, 23).

Alternatively, you can easily make a healthier smoothie at home by combining wholesome ingredients like leafy greens, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, oats, milk, and protein powder.

Sometimes, getting an on-the-go breakfast from the drive-thru is hard to avoid — or perhaps, you simply feel like it.

However, know that most fast-food breakfast options, such as breakfast sandwiches or burritos with eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, or a hash brown patty, are packed with calories, fat, and refined carbs (24, 25, 26).

To keep it on the healthier side, decline the hash brown side and choose a drink with no added sugar like water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee.

Specialty coffee drinks like mochas, frappes, or caramel macchiatos can be a sweet fix full of sugar. In fact, some drinks contain a whopping 70 grams of sugar, equaling 280 calories or more per serving (27).

Having one of these drinks as your breakfast may quickly spike your blood sugar levels. This will cause your body to secrete insulin to bring those levels back down, which can leave you feeling hungry and irritable (4).

Furthermore, if you’re having one of these drinks alongside breakfast foods, your meal likely contains excessive calories and sugar, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

Hash brown patties are a common fast-food breakfast side, but you can also purchase them frozen at the grocery store. While the frozen types may seem like a healthier option than their fast-food counterparts, they’re similar.

Even store-bought frozen hash brown patties are pre-fried. Thus, they’re still high in fat, which adds extra calories to your meal. Plus, deep-fryer fats may harm your health in other ways, for example by promoting inflammation (28, 29).

A significantly better option is homemade hash browns. You can also look for other varieties of frozen hash browns that are precooked but not fried in oil.

Bagels are a breakfast classic item, but if you’re buying one from a bakery, you may be in for a massive portion.

One large 4.6-ounce (131-gram) bagel contains nearly 350 calories, along with nearly 70 grams of carbs from refined flour and only 2 grams of fiber — and that’s with no toppings (30).

Adding toppings like cream cheese and smoked salmon can make bagels significantly more satiating and nutritious, though doing so increases the meal size. As a general rule, stick to half a bagel with nutritious toppings instead.

The best breakfast options provide fast-acting energy while keeping you full until lunch. In other words, they should contain a balance of protein, fat, and complex, unrefined carbs — ideally from whole foods rather than highly processed ones (1, 2, 3).

Here are some healthier breakfast options to try:

  • an omelet with spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese
  • whole grain toast with avocado and an egg
  • full fat plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, and a drizzle of honey
  • a sweet potato hash with ground pork, kale, and sage
  • banana pancakes, made by combining one mashed banana with two beaten eggs
  • a fresh or frozen fruit and vegetable smoothie with a scoop of protein powder
  • half of a large whole grain bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and spinach
  • overnight oats, made with oats, full fat Greek yogurt, and fresh or frozen berries
  • fresh apple slices with peanut butter
  • a breakfast sandwich or burrito with a whole grain English muffin or tortilla, eggs, cheese, avocado, and salsa

Additionally, challenge your habits by not limiting yourself to typical breakfast foods for your first meal of the day.

Any combo of foods that provides protein, healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil, or the fat in foods like unprocessed meats, nuts, and seeds), and energy-providing carbs can be an excellent breakfast meal — even if it’s leftovers from a previous night’s dinner (31, 32).

What’s more, you don’t have to eat breakfast if you’re not hungry when you wake up. While some people may be hungry in the morning, others may not be ready to eat until closer to lunchtime.

Although you’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, being attuned to your hunger cues can be more beneficial to your health than forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry.

In fact, eating when you’re not hungry can lead to excess calorie intake and unwanted weight gain (33, 34).

Many common breakfast items fall short when it comes to protein and fiber, leaving you feeling hungry well before your next opportunity to eat. Meanwhile, other options are loaded with fat and may leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

While you don’t have to avoid these choices completely, you may want to choose more well-balanced meals for your go-to weekday breakfast and keep the suboptimal choices for special occasions.

Try to make sure that your first meal of the day contains protein, fiber, and healthy fats to promote fullness, as well as some carbs to provide energy. In addition, try to avoid drinks that are full of sugar, such as fruit juice or sweetened coffee drinks.

Finally, choosing a breakfast that’s made from whole foods rather than processed foods or refined carbs is a better choice that may help optimize your health and get your day started right.

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

The hunt for New Zealand’s best meal kit delivery service

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Jihee Junn analyzes the numbers from a recent study comparing the greatest players in the Meal Pack game.

As a single parent, childless person who doesn’t mind eating five bowls of oatmeal a day, I can’t say I’ve ever fully embraced the movement of meal sets. But I know that for many families, having the same meals cooked or taken away every week is not a viable option. For example, my eternally exhausted sister and her busy husband have three young children who don’t eat anything all the time, except chocolate, french fries, and pizza. Eating out – even at McDonald’s – somehow always costs a small fortune.

It is no coincidence that parceled meals have found a lucrative niche in families like hers. When the concept first hit the market in Sweden in the late 2000s, they were exactly with the modern family in mind – one where both parents worked full-time. Created to combine our desire for fresh, healthy home-cooked meals with our increasingly busy, comfortable lives, it wasn’t long before the concept gained momentum and spread across the continent to central Europe and the United States by 2012 .

Around the same time that food parcels were on the rise in the USA, the idea with the introduction of My Food Bag 2013, which was co-founded by star chef Nadia Lim, had also found its way to Aotearoa. A few years later came the slightly more gourmet Woop service (which stands for “world on our plate” in case you’re wondering), followed by the Bargain Box, a cheaper option launched by the My Food Bag team. Then, in 2018, HelloFresh came on the market – the German meal kit juggernaut that managed to capture a large part of the local market in less than three years.

The Hello Fresh empire arrived in New Zealand in 2018. Photo: Hello Fresh

As the Covid-19 lockdowns accelerate the growth in meal set deliveries, My Food Bag, Woop, Bargain Box and HelloFresh have had a lot to celebrate over the past two years. More people than ever are trying these “essential services” instead of the supermarket chaos, and while they all share the same business model, there are important differences, a recent study by consumer-centric research website MoneyHub points out.

Over the course of six months, the team subscribed to the four largest and most popular meal set delivery services in New Zealand and consumed over 100 different meals to directly compare almost every detail you could ask for, including cost, cooking time, and packaging waste ( Unfortunately, taste was deliberately left out because it was perceived as “too subjective”). We have summarized their key insights into which company did well in which areas. To read full details and see photos of each meal, go to MoneyHub website.

Prices and plans

Aside from the Bargain Box, which only offers two types of plans (classic and vegetarian), the remaining three offer meals tailored to a gluten-free or health-conscious diet, as well as a plant-based plan from My Food Bag that is completely vegan in ingredients . All three also have options that instead let you choose from a selection of recipes from different plans, with HelloFresh having the largest selection of recipes (20+) that you can combine and customize each week.

However, if you only want to get the most bang for your buck, the Bargain Box is your best bet, especially if you want to feed a large family or have multiple servings on hand. Designed to accommodate the largest number of people from all four services, a regular five meal plan can only cost $ 6.30 per plate for six people ($ 190 per week), $ 7.30 per plate for four people (140 USD per week). and $ 11.50 per plate for two ($ 115).

Remember: meal sets are designed so that the bigger your order (more servings, more meals), the cheaper it will be per plate.

Bargain box from a bird’s eye view (Photo: MoneyHub)

HelloFresh (including the $ 10 delivery fee) ranks second in the price per platter. But with more than 20 recipes to choose from compared to Bargain Box’s eight recipes, HelloFresh has a far wider choice for just a few more dollars, especially if you have dietary requirements. However, it’s worth noting that there is an additional $ 5 delivery fee in the South Island.

Packaging and ingredients

Woop may be the most expensive of the four, but the comparison found that not only does it contain the highest quality local ingredients, but it also produces the least amount of waste. Its pre-made sauces and precisely portioned ingredients were found to leave the least amount of food waste and unused ingredients, while its recipes also required the fewest and simplest “pantry items” (ingredients not included).

Most of woops The packaging is made from materials that are suitable for roadside recycling, but Woop also gives you the option to return all of your packaging directly to the company (provided it is completely clean, dry, and food-free) that it at yours next order and properly recycled. This includes things like soft plastics as well as gel cold packs that are disinfected, frozen and reused for other woop deliveries.

A typical woop box contains less waste than its competitors. Photo: MoneyHub

Cooking and preparation

With regard to the actual preparation of the meals, the comparison showed that the preparation and cooking (carried out by one person) took significantly longer than all estimates of all four providers. Based on the recipes used during the comparison, the actual time taken to prepare meals averaged between 20 and 30 minutes longer than the average estimated times. Of course, this all depends on the speed and skills of whoever does the job, but if you’re your average home cook, it’s safe to say that it will likely take a little longer than any of these companies think.

However, among the four companies, the recipes were the fastest to prepare thanks to Woop’s pre-made sauces and sometimes pre-cooked vegetables, with an estimated time averaging 23 minutes, or around 40 minutes in reality. My Food Bag and HelloFresh (excluding the “fresh and quick” recipes that only take 15 minutes) were the second and third fastest with an estimated average time of 37 and 40 minutes, in reality around 55 and 60 minutes. The Bargain Box meals lasted the longest, with the 35-minute meals running closer to 65.

Two bargain box meals prepared during the study that, on average, lasted much longer than promised (Photo: MoneyHub)

In the meantime, if you’re the cook who needs all the help you can get, comparing HelloFresh’s recipe cards proved to be the best of the group. Her detailed instructions included pictures of all the ingredients and each step of the cooking process, as well as a list of the utensils you need and suggestions as to whether you should prepare a particular dish earlier than another. The ingredients for each dish are also packaged in individually color-coded paper bags, so you can easily sort what you need each time you cook.

Which one is right for me?

No company does the best at everything, and all have their individual weaknesses. For example, Woop only delivers to certain cities, HelloFresh charges extra for the South Island, Bargain Box has little for those with dietary requirements, while My Food Bag often requires more unusual supplies such as whole grain mustard, rice vinegar and corn starch. It’s up to you to decide what is important and what is not, but here is which service, in MoneyHub’s opinion, is best.

Woop

“Best for people in large cities (because of their delivery areas) and plans for one person. Their estimated prep times are consistently shorter than those of the other companies, and while we didn’t necessarily finish the meals in the estimated time, they were faster than the other food companies we tried. All of their plans use high quality ingredients, but we especially liked their ‘Foodie’ plan as it is the only gourmet option on the market that is available for one, two or four people. “

Hello Fresh

“Best for people without much cooking experience, because the recipe cards are very detailed and the app helps too. [It also has the] largest selection of recipes to choose from and you get access to the HelloFresh cookbook with thousands of recipes. They offer a particularly good price-performance ratio for low-calorie and vegetarian recipes. “

My grocery bag

“Best for weight loss plans and herbal recipes, but there are many plans. Wide availability across New Zealand (according to their website, they serve 86% of New Zealanders). We have found that they use more adventurous spices than HelloFresh and Bargain Box, but also require more supplies for their preparation. “

Bargain box

“Best for the budget-conscious, families with more than four members or picky eaters, as the recipes are usually kiwi classics.”

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

10 Kale Pasta Dishes, from Spaghetti to Lasagne!

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Kale is a plant in the cabbage family, which also includes favorites like cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, arugula, and Brussels sprouts. Kale was nicknamed King Kale for its excellent nutritional profile and health benefits. It’s also tasty and easy to incorporate into many meals.

Kale is rich in vitamins A, K, C, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium. It’s high in chlorophyll and contains 3 grams of protein per cup. In fact, a cup of raw kale contains more vitamin C, an important antioxidant, than an orange and is also one of the most well-known sources of vitamin K. Plus, kale is a good source of fiber and is low in fat and calories. This makes kale one of the most nutritious foods out there.

There are obviously many ways to include kale in your meals, from side dishes to smoothies to desserts. Here we have a list of the best ways to incorporate kale into your favorite pasta dishes.

1. Garden picnic noodle salad with vegetables, herbs and orange-miso-tahini dressing

Garden picnic noodle salad with vegetables, herbs and orange-miso-tahini dressing

Source: Garden picnic noodle salad with vegetables, herbs and orange-miso-tahini dressing / One Green Planet

Kale plays an important role in this garden picnic noodle salad with vegetables, herbs, and orange miso tahini dressing from The Whole Foods Diet. Pasta is tossed along with a rainbow of vegetables and topped with a creamy orange-miso-tahini dressing that adds a lemony touch. Here, kale is eaten raw. This is a quick toss-up meal and works wonderfully as leftovers.

2. Creamy kale and zucchini pasta

Creamy kale and zucchini pasta

Source: Creamy kale and zucchini pasta/ A green planet

This is a great recipe for anyone looking for an alternative to wheat noodles. It is also ideal for this time of year when zucchini are in season. In this recipe for Creamy kale and zucchini pasta from Rouxbe, the kale is cooked with caramelized onions and stirred into the zucchini noodles. A creamy tahini sauce brings it all together.

3. A pot of creamy Tuscan kale pasta

https://i0.wp.com/www.wholegrainpasta.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/1632087400_966_10-Kale-Pasta-Dishes-from-Spaghetti-to-Lasagne.jpg

Source: One Pot Creamy Tuscan Kale Pasta / One Green Planet

You can put this meal together in under 30 minutes. The creamy sauce of this One Pot Creamy Tuscan Kale Pasta by Shanika Graham-White is made from cashew nuts, which gives you a velvety texture and a protein boost. The kale is sautéed with garlic and tomatoes for a rich hearty taste.

4. Pasta Primavera

Pasta with vegetables

Source: Pasta Primavera / One Green Planet

This is a really simple dish that requires you to add some veggies and, of course, some kale to a jar of tomato sauce. This could be one you had in your pantry waiting for the perfect recipe. This Pasta Primavera recipe from Wholesome LLC is a perfect weekday meal.

5. Vegetable protein pasta salad bowl

Pasta salad with vegetable protein

Source: Plant Protein Pasta Salad Bowl / One Green Planet

This vegetable protein pasta salad bowl from Nikki and Zuzana call for red lentil noodles that add protein power, but you can use any pasta of your choice. You’re still getting plenty of protein from the black lentils and hemp heart-based dressing. Here kale is accompanied by its green friends spinach, rocket and many fresh herbs.

6. Kale Walnut Pesto Noodles

Vegan kale walnut pesto pasta

Source: Kale-Walnut-Pesto-Pasta / One Green Planet

This Mitra Shirmohammadi Kale Walnut Pesto Noodle Recipe couldn’t be easier. Aside from making a pot of pasta, all you need to do is put all of the ingredients in a blender to make a batch of this kale pesto. Kale is added to the pesto along with the traditional basil flavor. Walnuts are used in place of pine nuts and a healthy dose of nutritional yeast gives it that “cheesy” note.

7. Spaghetti a la Caesar

Spaghetti a la Caesar

Source: Spaghetti a la Caesar / One Green Planet

This recipe for Spaghetti a la Caesar by Kim Sujovolsky is also easy to make. Kale is sautéed with garlic and mixed with the spaghetti. Then the dish is served with a serving of almond parmesan, lemon and chilli flakes.

8. Sweet potato noodles with garlic and cashew cream

Vegan sweet potato noodles with garlic cashew cream

Source: Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic Cashew Cream / One Green Planet

Here’s another great gluten-free pasta option. This Garlic Cashew Cream Sweet Potato Noodle Recipe by Christine Zulkosky takes a creamy cashew sauce and serves it with sweet potato noodles, a generous helping of kale, and chunky mushrooms to give it a bite.

9. Soothing kale pesto pasta casserole

Kale pesto pasta casserole [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Source: Soothing Kale Pesto Pasta Casserole / One Green Planet

This soothing kale pesto pasta casserole from Florian Nouh is full of texture and flavor. The crust is made from gluten-free breadcrumbs and the noodles are tossed in a kale-based pesto. The whole dish is then baked for about 15-20 minutes. It’s a nice vegan version of a classic comfort food.

10. Kale lasagna

Vegan gluten-free kale lasagna with bechamel sauce

Source: Kale Lasagne / One Green Planet

We can hardly make a list of pasta favorites and leave out the lovely lasagna. This kale lasagna from Peffe Stahl is vegan and gluten-free. This is a really simple recipe that requires a soy or oat milk based bechamel sauce layered between sheets of vegan lasagna. The kale is then sautéed with onions before joining the bechamel.

Make your pasta dishes particularly tasty and nutritious with a generous helping of kale.

Learn How To Make Plant-Based Meals At Home!

Vegan creamy ginger-coconut-kale-zucchini-spaghetti [Gluten-Free]

It is known to help reduce meat consumption and eat more plant-based foods chronic inflammation, Heart health, mental wellbeing, Fitness goals, Nutritional needs, Allergies, good health, and more! Milk consumption has also been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, Prostate cancer and has many Side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based foods, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App – With over 15,000 delicious recipes, it is the largest herbal recipe source to reduce your ecological footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you’re at it, we encourage you to find out about the environment and health benefits from a vegetable diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more daily published content on animals, earth, life, vegan food, health and recipes, subscribe to One Green Planet newsletter! Finally, public funding gives us a greater chance of continuing to provide you with quality content. Please note support us through donations!

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Types of Chocolate, Explained:

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You’ve seen these numbers on fancy candy bar packaging, but what do chocolate percentages mean and which one should you choose? We’ll break it down so you can make the best chocolate choice possible.

When it comes to chocolate, I used to be part of the high cocoa cult. My favorite was 70 percent, with an 82.5 percent shot every now and then. However, the more I learned about chocolate, the more I realized that the percentage had nothing to do with quality: I had greasy 85 percent bars and fantastic 40 percent bars.

That’s because the cocoa percentage is the percentage of the bar that comes straight from cocoa beans. Take my beloved 70 percent bar as an example: 70 percent of this bar is made from refined cocoa beans, and 30 percent is made from all the other ingredients like sugar, vanilla, sea salt, pop rocks, whatever.

Just because you’ve tried a 70 percent bar doesn’t mean you’ve tried them all. Everyone has a unique mouthfeel and taste. (A genius came up with the fancy sounding “mouthfeel” to describe how things feel in the mouth. In practical terms, this means whether the chocolate is grainy or smooth, melts quickly or slowly, etc.) One reason is that one chocolate bar contains significantly more cocoa butter than another. Both cocoa solids and cocoa butter are included in this 70 percent.

As I write in my book, “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution ”,“ A 70 percent bar could contain 50 percent cocoa mass and 20 percent cocoa butter; another could have 30 percent cocoa mass and 40 percent cocoa butter (that would make a very smooth, buttery bar!). To make it even more complicated, different types of beans naturally contain different amounts of cocoa butter. Some are leaner, others fatter. The natural “butteriness” of a bean changes the consistency of the resulting chocolate. “

Milk chocolate generally has a fairly low percentage, usually around 40 percent or less (Hershey’s is 11 percent). I’m in love with Zotter’s 40 percent bar diluted with “Bio Tiroler Bergmilch” and Frans smoked salt.

Dark chocolate has no legal definition in the United States (it comes under the umbrella term semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate). It’s usually at least 55 percent, but most dark chocolate lovers enjoy 70 percent or more. I’m obsessed with a new variety called dark milk chocolate, a high-proof milk chocolate that combines the best of both worlds: you get the intense flavors of dark chocolate with the creaminess of milk chocolate. My favorite right now? Chocolate Naive’s 62 percent dark milk with porcini mushrooms. (Yes, you read that right: mushrooms!)

Then there are some dark candy bars that stamp in at 100 percent. That said, they only contain ground and refined cocoa beans, and the trick for the chocolate makers is to bring out the natural flavors of these beans to make them not only edible but also enjoyable. The best – like those from Fruition and Pralus – are far from making chocolate. I urge you to try a 100 percent bar for Valentine’s Day: you might find your true love.

But don’t forget the white chocolate either.

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