Why Chocolate IS Popular On Valentine’s Day

Since Valentine’s Day is only 5 days away I thought why not throw in a  Valentine’s post. Today I talk about and discuss why chocolates are so much more popular on February 14th. If you missed yesterday’s post you can click here to learn all about Gluten Sensitivity.


February 14 will soon be upon us, and while many people will choose cards, flowers, or jewelry as gifts to give those they love for Valentine’s Day, chocolates are a perennially popular way to show someone you think they’re special. Heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates are a relatively recent tradition, but the bond between chocolate and love actually goes back thousands of years.

Hold on to your sweet tooth as you read on to find out exactly how and why we give each other chocolate on Valentine’s Day.


It Starts With An Ancient Tradition

Mayan chocolate

The Mayans very clearly appreciated the magic of chocolate as they drank it, first roasting cacao beans and then grinding them into a paste that was mixed with chiles, cornmeal, and water. In addition to using chocolate in religious ceremonies and savoring it at the end of feasts, they were the first culture to make the connection between chocolate and love. Some Mayan wedding ceremonies included a ritual where the bride and groom ceremonially sipped chocolate.

So there you have it, the first big display of chocolate and love coming together.


Introducing An Aphrodisiac

Chocolate in different forms

The Aztecs also prized chocolate and traded with their Mayan neighbors to obtain it in vast quantities. Sixteenth-century ruler Montezuma II allegedly consumed chocolate in vast quantities in order to stoke his libido. Spanish explorers were quick to realize the appeal of chocolate though, and mixed cacao paste with cinnamon and cane sugar to cut the bitterness.


From Britain With Love

Heart box chocolates

Although chocolate became popular throughout Western Europe after its introduction by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, it was so expensive that it was mostly consumed by the wealthy. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that British company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first-ever chocolate bar by combining cacao powder and sugar with cacao butter. Within a few years, filled chocolates became wildly popular, with Fry & Sons competitor Cadbury introducing the first box of chocolates—dubbed the “Fancy Box”—in England in 1861.

Just seven years later, the company produced its first heart-shaped box of fruit, ganache, and nut-filled chocolates in time for Valentine’s Day gifting. Because the decorative boxes could be used to store love letters and other mementos long after the chocolates inside had been eaten, they proved to be thoughtful as well as toothsome gifts.


Thinking inside the box

Box of chocolatesGiving chocolate on Valentine’s Day proved just as popular in the United States as it was in Britain. Hershey’s introduced its petite, romantically named Hershey’s Kisses in 1907, and the iconic yellow Whitman’s Sampler debuted in 1912. Whitman’s even turned to movie stars like Jeanne Crain and Elizabeth Taylor to promote their sweet treats.

Meanwhile, chocolatier Russell Stover began marketing their distinctive line of heart-shaped boxes—which to this day include the petite Red Foil Heart” and the lace-covered “Secret Lace Heart”—across the Midwest in the 1920s before expanding to be the number-one boxed-chocolate brand in the United States.


Chocolate reign

Chocolates and flowers

Wondering what to get your sweetheart this February 14? Go ahead and say you love them with chocolate, because that’s what everyone else is doing. If history is any predictor, chocolate will outshine cards and flowers this V-Day, as it’s always done.

According to data gathered by Nielsen, Valentine’s Day candy generated $695 million in sales in 2017—and chocolate played a major role. In fact, Americans spent $11 billion on chocolate throughout the year.

So, when it comes time to show the ones who make you feel all warm and fuzzy how much they mean to you, there’s a good chance you’ll be saying it with some chocolate. And if anything, you’re just honoring an age-old, very sweet tradition.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Bloglovin’ :Amanda Explains It

Bumble Bizz: Amanda

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How To Use Leftover Candy Canes

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 20! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-19

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19


Twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, and Winter Cocktails are among the most welcomed delights of the season,(Besides all the good holiday related junk food) 🙂 Oh, and let’s not forget candy canes—who doesn’t love,  love those! Which is why we stock up on the stuff the one time each year every store seems to carry them. But buying 10+ boxes of the minty, sweet treat has a downside: the leftovers ( you would only have that many boxes if you put candy canes on your Christmas tree)? There are often buckets worth—even after they’ve been hung on the tree, stuffed in everyone’s stocking, and fastened to all of your holiday cards. Sound like your yearly struggle? Rest easy; I’ve got you covered with some great candy cane crafts and recipes.


Spike Your Whipped Cream With It

Whipped cream

Shutterstock

Whether you’re dolloping it over fruit, a bowl of ice cream, or into your latte, whipped cream can benefit from a minty makeover. Whip your own cream and sprinkle the swirled candy bits at the end before using it as a creamy topping.


Make Candy Cane Pops

Candy cane oreo pops

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Insert decorative sticks into Oreo creme, dip the Oreo into melted white chocolate, and then coat with crushed candy canes for the perfect holiday treat you haven’t thought of making yet. The subtle vanilla flavor of the cookie met with the refreshing zing of peppermint will make a sweet snack the whole gang will love.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


 No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles

Chocolate candy cane truffles

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

Use leftover candy canes by crafting decadent truffles dusted with the wintry sweet. This recipe starts with cream cheese, peppermint extract, and chocolate base before it’s refrigerated until set and then rolled in the crushed candies for added color and flavor. You can even wrap these cute little treats in cellophane and gift to your best pals.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


Make Minty Marshmallows

Marshmallows in a bowl

Shutterstock

You’ll need to top off your hot cocoa with a giant marshmallow, but why settle for store-bought when you can easily make your own? Start with food genius Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe on Food Network, and then dust the crushed candy canes on top of the ‘mallows before cutting them into perfect squares. You can even gift leftovers to friends and family.


Napkin Holders

Candy cane on plate

Shutterstock

Rather than opting for your usual holiday napkin rings, use twisted candy canes instead. If you have any leftover candies that are still intact, try hooking the arch over the middle of a rolled-up napkin before placing on your holiday table for some festive flair.


Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

Chocolate candy cake cupcake

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

All you need is a quick devil’s food cake mix and a few other pantry staples to create a rich chocolate cupcake that serves as a perfect base to peppermint frosting. Psst: the frosting is 100 percent homemade, so you know it’ll be just as delicious on its own as over the cupcake. This recipe calls for adorning the frosting with crushed candy canes for a delectable and decorative twist.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


 Chocolate Snowflake Candy Canes

Chocolate snowflake candy canes

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Got some extra candy canes that aren’t broken? Continue ringing in Christmas spirit by whipping up these white chocolate snowflake candy canes. All you have to do is dip half of the candy cane stick into a mixture of white chocolate chips and shortening before sprinkling over some white pearl and snowflake sprinkles and allowing them to cool and harden. Yum!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Craft Candy Cane Oreo Pudding Cups

Candy cane oreo pudding cups

Courtesy of Lil Luna

These cute little pudding cups are perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in. All you need is a white chocolate pudding mix, candy cane Oreos, candy cane bits, and Cool Whip. Then, you layer all of your ingredients into mini cups and voila!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


 Bath Scrub

candy cane scrub

Shutterstock

Instead of eating your leftovers, use them to make a candy cane-infused scrub. To make a batch, pour four cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil (or another non-comedogenic oil with a similar consistency), a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and a quarter cup of finely ground candy canes into a mixing bowl. Then stir it up!


Bake Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Peppermint sugar cookies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Sugar cookies are great on their own, but any tried-and-true classic can use a little makeover from time to time. These sugar cookies benefit from a thick vanilla frosting that’s bejeweled with candy cane pieces.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


Bake Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint brownies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Everyone (well, almost) loves the combo of mint and chocolate, and these peppermint brownies embrace the duo to the fullest extent. Warm, fudgy brownies are met with an invigorating crushed candy topping that adds crunch and texture.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Reindeer Ears on Cookies

Candy canes in glass

Shutterstock

Nothing marks the beginning of the holiday season better than the grocery store invasion of peppermint-themed treats. That’s why we’re loving the idea of decorating homemade holiday desserts with the candy.


 Candy Cane Soap

candy cane soap

Shutterstock

In the mood to channel your inner Martha Stewart? Whip up some homemade candy cane soap! (It’s easy to make—promise!) Start by melting a block of clear glycerin and a block of white glycerin in separate bowls. Then, mix in red food dye and peppermint essential oil into the clear glycerin. (A few drops of each work.) After that, pour a thin layer of the melted white glycerin into a cake mold or small pan and let it sit for about two to three minutes. After it’s somewhat solid, pour a layer of the red glycerin on top and then continue alternating with the red and white glycerin every few minutes until the mold or pan is filled. Then top off your soap with a generous coating of crushed candy cane, which is a great exfoliant.


Throw Back a Candy Cane Cocktail

Shutterstock

If you’re looking to up your bartending game, forgo serving up basic drinks like spiked eggnog and opt for surprising your guests with a round of candy cane vodka shots. Luckily, you only need three things to prepare this festive elixir: candy canes, a small bottle of vodka (about 25 ounces), and a coffee grinder or food processor. Here’s what you need to do: grind 12 candy canes until they’re eroded into superfine crystals. Then, pour the candy powder into the bottle of vodka, make sure the cap is tightly screwed, and shake away! (You can even save some of the crushed candy to rim the glasses with later on!) Then, let the vodka sit for a half hour, shaking every now and then. Once the liquid is candy-cane-red, serve it up in shot glasses or a sleek martini glass.


Peppermint Hot Cocoa

candy cane hot cocoa

Shutterstock

This winter, spruce up your favorite hot beverage with some minty goodness! To make a mug of decadent hot cocoa, add one cup of your milk of choice into a saucepan with two ounces bittersweet chocolate, and simmer over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add one tablespoon sugar and a ½ teaspoon peppermint extract to the pot and stir. Once it’s all dissolved, pour it into your fave mug, swirl on some whipped cream, and then garnish the top with crushed candy canes. If you prefer taking the easier route with premade hot cocoa mix, choose my best Hot Chocolate.


 Peppermint Popcorn

peppermint bark popcorn

Courtesy of Cooking Classy

What’s better than binge-watching all of the Home Alone movies in one sitting? The answer: having a big bowl of peppermint popcorn beside you! Spike your popped kernels with a layer of melted white chocolate and some candy cane crumble. Oh, and you might want to whip up an extra batch because you’re totally not going to want to share this!

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy


Crack Fudge Peppermint Bark

peppermint bark

Shutterstock

Give your gingerbread cookie and peanut butter blossom recipes a break, and concoct a batch of crunchy peppermint bark instead. The best part—aside from the taste? It’s beyond easy to make. All you have to do is melt dark chocolate, slather it onto a sheet of parchment paper, and let it solidify in the fridge. Once it’s hardened, drizzle on a layer of melted white chocolate and then drop a handful or two (or three… no one’s looking!) of candy cane chunks for fresh flavor and a festive pop of color. Easy peasy!


Try Pink Peppermint Bark Macarons

Pink peppermint bark macarons

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Besides croissants, macarons are the next best thing the French bestowed on us. Give your favorite fancy dessert a wintry twist by adding crushed candy canes into the creamy ganache.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


Rim Glasses With Candy Canes

Green holiday cocktail

Shutterstock

Remember that martini we suggested shaking up and that hot cocoa recipe you jotted on your list? Well, if these two beverages have anything in common, it’s that you can easily jazz them up by rimming the glass or mug with crushed candy canes. Just pulverize the candies in the blender, use your finger to coat the rim with a syrup (like maple syrup) and dip into the crushed candy.


Scoop Into Homemade Nice Cream

candy-cane-ice-cream

Shutterstock

Adapt your favorite nice cream recipe into a delicious, holiday-approved dessert by sprinkling crushed candy canes into the blender. Whether you choose to go with banana and cocoa mix or a traditional vanilla bean dessert, you’ll want to scoop it into a cone and toss some candy canes on top for a refreshing twist on rainbow sprinkles.


Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Death by chocolate peppermint cookies

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

If you love devil’s food cake, you’re gonna love this recipe idea. All you have to do is bake up a decadent chocolate cookie, dip it in dark chocolate, sprinkle it with some crushed peppermint candies, and drizzle with white chocolate. The minty peppermint will help cut the richness of the dark chocolate.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.


Make Homemade Thin Mints

Peppermint bark cookies

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Instead of unwrapping a thin mint, try DIYing your own this holiday season. The chocolate sugar cookies are super easy to make, and they come out of the oven extra thick while the white chocolate coating gets a double dose of peppermint from the extract and crushed candies.

Get the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Make a Minty Milkshake

Candy cane chocolate milkshake

Shutterstock

Got a tub of vanilla ice cream, milk, and leftover candy canes? Blend the three ingredients into the best milkshake ever. You can even add some unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey boost and garnish the cup with a mint leaf. Mmm!


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

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Worst Christmas Products That Come Out Every Year

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 16! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 15 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-15

Blogmas Day 1Blogmas Day 2Blogmas Day 3Blogmas Day 4Blogmas Day 5Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15 (Very Popular) Blogmas Day 15


Thomas’ Cranberry Swirl Bread

Tomas’ Cranberry Swirl bread

Nutrition: 1 slice, 130 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 3 g protein

A slice of sprouted grain bread has about 80 calories so we’re not quite sure how Thomas managed to shove 130 big ones into this fancy bread of his. There are so many better ways to spend all those calories. Wouldn’t you rather eat a cookie or maybe a big spoonful of almond butter?


Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha Liquid Creamer

coffee-mate peppermint mocha liquid creamer

Nutrition: 1 tbsp, 35 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 5 g carbs, 0 g protein

While generally speaking, coffee creamers have recently started to clean up their act, the same can’t be said for all of the limited-edition flavors. This peppermint mocha creamer, for example, is made with artery-clogging hydrogenated soybean oil (despite the fact that it claims to be trans-fat free) and stomach-irritating carrageenan. If you’re looking for a delicious holiday-themed way to flavor your coffee consider pouring something from Coffee-Mate’s Natural Bliss line instead. The cinnamon cream flavor is downright delicious and the pumpkin spice bottle is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas time.


Cadbury Holiday Candy Coated Solid Milk Chocolate Snowballs

cadbury holiday candy coated solid milk chocolate snowballs

Nutrition: 16 pieces, 190 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 3 g protein

Anyone who’s had the Easter version of these bad boys knows that they’re impossible to stop eating once you’ve started. And with an entire day’s worth of sugar in a single serving (not to mention tons of potentially dangerous additives), these treats can lead your belly down a slippery slope.


Swiss Miss Candy Cane with Peppermint Marshmallows

swiss miss candy cane with peppermint marshmallows

Nutrition: 1 envelope, 80 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 105 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, < 1 g protein

This isn’t the worst hot cocoa we’ve ever seen but it’s also far from the best. If you want to indulge in a cup of peppermint-flavored hot cocoa this season.


Peeps Hot Cocoa & Cream Marshmallow Chicks in White Fudge

peeps hot cocoa & cream marshmallow chicks in white fudge

Nutrition: 3 chicks, 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 1 g protein

The bulk of these Peeps are comprised of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin, so are you really that surprised to learn that they’re on the Not That!


Archer Farms Rudolph’s Mix

Nutrition: 1 package, 270 calories, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 26 g sugar, 4 g protein

Everything from hydrogenated oil to a rainbow of potentially dangerous food colorings seems to have found its way into this trail mix. If you don’t want to blow an entire day’s worth of sugar on a snack that offers next to no nutrition, you’ll definitely want to steer clear. If you really feel the need to dig in, at least diminish the damage a bit by mixing the snack with an equal amount of raw, unsalted nuts and dividing it into three or four servings.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Christmas Chocolate

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 15! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 15 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-15

Blogmas Day 1Blogmas Day 2Blogmas Day 3Blogmas Day 4Blogmas Day 5Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15 (Very Popular)

To be ranked a “best” Christmas chocolate, you had to be under 21 grams of sugar—the sweet stuff’s been linked to weight gain, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. While calories and fat also factored into our rankings, having more natural ingredients (and fewer ingredients, at that), earned certain chocolates that may have had higher calorie and fat counts more points. Having more quality calories will benefit you far more than fewer calories loaded with artificial additives, especially when those calories are from antioxidant-rich cocoa.


REESE’S SNOWMAN

REESES SNOWMAN

PER ¼ SNOWMAN (35 G): 180 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 3 g protein

Reese’s lovers rejoice—although Reese’s Bells got axed from the Nice List, there’s two ETNT approved holiday varieties. The first is this Reese’s Snowman, which is free of trans fats and nutritionally superior to the Bells (when you eat ¼ of the Snowman that is—that’s the serving size, and stick to it).


REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER TREES

REESES PEANUT BUTTER TREES

PER 2 PIECES: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein

And your best Reese’s option is… these Reese’s Trees! You can indulge in one for just 90 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar!


LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

PER 4 PIECES: 220 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

If you’re one of those people who love giving oversized holiday-shaped chocolates as presents, try downsizing it this year. These mini Lindt Milk Chocolate Snowmen are just 55 calories a piece. Whether or not the recipient decides to eat the full serving is up to them, but at least the nutrition comes from quality ingredients. 


GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

PER ⅓ CUP (38 G): 200 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 2 g protein

Despite a lengthy ingredient list, these Chocolate Covered Pretzels are low in calories and won’t tap out your fat and sugar banks. They’re the perfect treat for any salty and sweet fan.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

PER 3 PIECES: 190 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

Peppermint bark may be a festive holiday staple, but unless you can limit yourself to just a square or two, it’s a slippery slope–especially if you’re trying to survive the holidays without love handles. Just three squares have nearly as many calories as an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces and an extra gram of saturated fat.


KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

PER 5 PIECES (43 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Take a break from shopping with one of these Kit Kat Mint Miniatures. They pop right into your mouth and contain peppermint oil, a weight loss superfoods. In fact, researchers conclude that by adding mint to your diet, more of the fat you consume will be metabolized, as opposed to steadily making your pants tighter.


HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE SANTA

HERSHEYS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

PER 1 BAR (34 G): 170 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Not a fan of mini? Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Santa is perfectly portioned so that you can indulge with boundaries.


GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK & DARK

GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK AND DARK

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (7.5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 3 g protein

Although we have listed the nutritional profile of three Ghirardelli Holiday Impression squares in order to keep our comparisons uniform, the actual packing serving size is only 1 square. If you have the self-control, that’s just 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar per individually wrapped square.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 200 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

You already know that peppermint is a lethal weight loss weapon, but did you know that chocolate can actually help you burn fat? Chocolate boasts powerful natural chemicals called flavanols that have been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


RUSSELL STOVER CARAMEL SANTA

 

PER 1 PIECE: 160 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 1 g protein

I doubt Russell and Clara Stover were making these caramel Santas when they began their candy business in their home in Denver, Colorado in 1923. However, they’ve become a popular festive treat that would earn Mrs. Claus’ approval.


THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

PER ½ BAR: 210 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 3 g protein

This Dark Chocolate Nutcracker Toffee bar is made with organic, wholesome ingredients—aka food that was not made in a lab. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, regularly consuming small amounts of high-quality chocolate fights stress that can lead to weight gain.


RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

PER 1 PIECE: 100 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbs (14 g sugar)(all other nutritionals unavailable)

Your best Santa chocolate bar option is this Russell Stover Marshmallow Santa. It’s just 100 calories and has just 14 grams of sugar. Plus, marshmallow and chocolate? No brainer.


THE #1 CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein

It’s rather fitting that at the top of my Nice Chocolate List is this Chocolate Countdown to Christmas Calendar. Each window reveals a 50 calorie milk chocolate wrapped like a Christmas present. It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them—slowly, one day at a time! And to blast even more belly fat, pair the cup with a cup of Tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

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The Worst Holiday Chocolates

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 15! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 13 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-14

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14


All year long I eat healthily, and then Christmas comes along and I turn into a candy-loving kid again.  I’m like how you would say?  A reverse Santa Claus. He stuffs kids’ stockings. I unstuff them—and then stuff my mouth.

Even those of us who don’t often eat candy find it hard to resist the minty, chocolatey goodness of the holidays, forgetting all about our plans for rapid weight loss. (Get me near a tin of chocolate bark and we turn into a woodchuck.)

But candy is unique in its ability to make us fat. Because it’s so high in sugar and devoid of fiber, candy gives us a much faster sugar rush than any food found in nature. As a result, our bodies can often overreact, pumping out more of the sugar-management hormone insulin than we need. Then two things happen, neither of them good: First, insulin grabs all of that sugar and looks for someplace to store it, most often as belly fat. And second, by stealing too much sugar from our systems, it creates a sugar crash: a sort of hunger rebound that sends us back to the party try for more chocolate bark.

So instead of going all Grinch on you, I took a hard look at the nutritional info on every sort of Christmas candy that might be rolling down your chimney this year and ranked them best to worst (comparing the nutritional profiles and quality of ingredients to equivalent serving sizes). Now, when you reach into the kids’ stockings, you’ll know you’re setting yourself up for a Merry Christmas, not a flabby New Year.


HOLIDAY CHOCOLATES

As a general rule avoid anything that’s labeled “made with chocolate,” “chocolaty,” or “chocolate-coated,” which indicate the presence of partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, harmful dyes like Yellow #5 and Red #40 and artificial flavoring. Cocoa’s waist-whittling effects do not extend to the fake stuff.


FIRST… THE WORST

REESE’S BELLS

Reeses bells candy

PER 4 CANDIES (38 G): 190 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 3 g protein

Reese’s Bells, Reese’s Bells, Reese’s not all the way. Although there are a few on my Nice List, these guys are definitely naughty. Anything listed with partially hydrogenated oils AKA trans fat, which have been banned by the FDA, is a no-go.


DOVE PEPPERMINT BARK DARK CHOCOLATE SQUARES

DOVE PEPPERMINT BARK DARK CHOCOLATE SQUARES

PER 4 PIECES (40 G): 210 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

Although Dove advertises this product as a bark, there really just artificial dark chocolate bite squares. Even more disappointing is the presence of trans fat. Did I mention the first ingredient is sugar?


DOVE SILKY SMOOTH SNOWFLAKE PROMISES CHOCOLATE ASSORTMENT

DOVE SNOWFLAKE PROMISES CHOCOLATE ASSORTMENT

PER 5 PIECES: 200 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

These Silky Smooth Snowflake Promises may be innocent when you eat just one, but after five you’re looking at 200 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat and 19 grams of sugar—that’s as much sugar as you’ll find in 10 Butterfinger BBs. And if you have any food allergies, avoid purchasing these snowflake chocolates at all costs. They’ve recently been recalled due to mysterious Snickers popping up inside their bags. If you’re a fan of the caramel nutty chocolate bars this may seem like a bonus, but for those suffering from any nut allergies, it should not be taken lightly.


KIT KAT HOLIDAY CANDY BARS

KIT KAT HOLIDAY CANDY BARS

PER 1 FOUR PIECE BAR: 210 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

Unwrap one of Kit Kat’s cutesy holiday wafers and you’ll find Santa smiling back at you. You’ll also find 22 grams of processed sugar and 7 grams of saturated fat. Don’t even think about having more than one, unless you own a big red suit.


CRUNCH JINGLES

CRUNCH JINGLES

PER 6 PIECES: 210 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 2 g protein

Sadly the only thing that will be ringing when you pop these bell-shaped candies into your mouth is your blood sugar alarm. This is jingle hell. To easily burn off any of these candies—without spending hours in the gym.


HERSHEY’S CANDY CANE KISSES

HERSHEYS CANDY CANE KISSES

PER 9 PIECES (42 G): 220 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

Hershey’s candy cane mint candies add antioxidant-rich and appetite-suppressing peppermint oil to the traditional milk chocolate kiss. But despite their potential weight loss ingredient, I can’t ignore the artificial dyes, words “artificial flavor” and corn syrup in their ingredient list (or the steep sugar and fat counts).


BRACH’S PEPPERMINT CHRISTMAS TREE NOUGATS

BRACHS PEPPERMINT CHRISTMAS TREE NOUGATS

PER 41 G: 160 calories, 3 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 0 g protein

Although these Nougats are super low in fat, their first ingredient is corn syrup, followed by sugar and several artificial dyes.


ANDES PEPPERMINT CRUNCH CANDY

ANDES PEPPERMINT CRUNCH CANDY

PER 4 PIECES: 200 calories, 12 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

“Andy’s Candies” was changed to “Andes Candies” after the chocolate’s creator discovered men were not too keen on giving their lovers candy with another man’s name on it. We’d avoid them for another reason: Just a few bites have more sugar than 10 jelly beans.


SEASONAL SWEETS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

SEASONAL SWEETS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

PER 6 PIECES: 220 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 26 g sugar)

Chocolate and Santa are both 100% kid approved and since they’re mini, your child (or you) can enjoy six—but try stick to three instead.


HOLIDAY MINT M&M’S

HOLIDAY MINT MMS

PER 1.5 OUNCES: 210 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 2 g protein

M&M’s might be tiny, but their ingredient list is far from it—they’re filled with over 10 different color dyes including Red 40 and Yellow 5. This is rather alarming considering Europe has required foods with artificial dyes contain warning labels since July 2010 as a result of the discovery that they may cause hyperactivity in children.


WHITE PEPPERMINT M&M’S

WHITE PEPPERMINT MMS

PER 1.5 OUNCES: 210 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 2 g protein

Meet White Peppermint, Mint M&M’s sibling. Peppermint has a nearly identical nutritional profile to Mint aside from one thing: With two more grams of fat and one more gram of saturated, it’s naughty, not nice.


GUITTARD SMOOTH ‘N MELTY CHRISTMAS MINTS

GUITTARD SMOOTH N MELTY CHRISTMAS MINTS

PER 7 PIECES: 200 calories, 10 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 1 g protein

With partially hydrogenated oil, bloating whey, and a slew of artificial dyes and flavors, these Melty Mints are worse than a lump of coal. Hydrogenated oils are detrimental to heart health and have been linked to both high cholesterol and inflammation. you’d be better off drinking a Coke.


FERRARA CHOCOLATE FRUIT BURST MILK CHOCOLATE ORANGE

FERRARA CHOCOLATE FRUIT BURST MILK CHOCOLATE ORANGE

PER 5 SLICES: 240 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 26 g sugar, 1 g protein

Unlike the citrusy fruit it’s named after, this is one orange that won’t help you lose weight. Thanks to whole milk powder and cocoa butter, it’s got 14 grams of fat (8 of which are saturated). That’s a lot of fat for only about ¼ of the chocolatey orange!


 THE #1 WORST CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… A TIE!

CHRISTMAS JUNIOR MINTS

CHRISTMAS JUNIOR MINTS

PER 16 PIECES (40 G): 170 calories, 3 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 32 g sugar

JUNIOR MINTS PEPPERMINT CRUNCH

JUNIOR MINTS PEPPERMINT CRUNCH

PER 15 PIECES (40 G): 170 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 32 g sugar

Tied for the naughtiest chocolate, these two Junior Mint flavors are under 200 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving but boast a whopping 32 grams of sugar. Within 24 hours of eating added sugar, your body is flooded with elevated levels of triglycerides, which universally lead to one thing: belly fat.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂