April is a triple birthday month in my family. This year my mother turned 75, my daughter turns 3 and my niece turns 2! Being a mom of a toddler, I try my best to prepare healthy meals that she will like eating. A breakfast my mother made that I enjoyed as a child is called champorado. It is a Filipino chocolate porridge consisting of white rice, milk, sugar and chocolate. I make my own healthier version instead. It’s pretty simple and versatile to prepare.
I love chocolate and so does my daughter Anna. I remember being 7 months pregnant giving in to my strong craving making chocolate cake one evening and her response was full of excitement. I knew she loved chocolate after eating it because that time was the most I felt her move during my entire pregnancy. In fact, I am certain that was the moment when she turned in my belly being born breech!
There are so many chocolate products available out there. The minimally processed unsweetened cacao powder is the type I like to use for my porridge where it maintains most of its nutrients being full of antioxidants, fiber and minerals. Natural cacao does contain caffeine so I recommend not to eat it at night for those who are pretty sensitive to its stimulant effects. That’s another reason why consuming chocolate for breakfast is the perfect way to wake you up in the morning! The next time you need a breakfast idea, why not try making this recipe below? All you need is a whole grain, natural sweetener, liquid of your choice and chocolate.
Whole grain: oats, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet
Whole grains are excellent sources of B vitamins. These vitamins play a vital role in our energy production and glucose metabolism. Slower to cook grains like steel cut oats (vs. rolled oats) and the other ones listed above take longer to digest making us feel satisfied instead of spiking our blood glucose levels. These whole grains also contain fiber, protein, minerals and other vitamins making them a healthier option for breakfast.
Natural sweeteners: raw honey, dark maple syrup, chopped dried dates, mashed bananas, apple sauce
In its more natural state, chocolate does have a bitter taste. Try reducing its bitterness with these nutrient dense sweet alternatives. In most commercial brands of chocolate, sugar is the main ingredient before chocolate even makes it on the list. White sugar is highly processed and lasts forever being no good inside our body.
Milk of choice: cow’s milk, nut milk, seed milk, oat milk, rice milk…
From food sensitivities, beliefs or just personal taste, everyone has their own milk preference. For a creamier porridge, you can use milk in your recipe in place of water. I like to add it last with all my other toppings to help cool it off.
Toppings of your choice: fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, the list is endless
One of the reasons Anna loves eating chocolate porridge for breakfast is because she gets to help make it. She loves adding her own toppings right before eating every spoonful.
Chocolate: natural unsweetened cacao powder
Natural cacao powder contains just that; no added sugars, milk ingredients or other unnatural components. It contains more antioxidants than regular dark chocolate. Since it is made from the whole cacao bean, just a spoonful gives quite a bit of calories due the presence of fat. Another thing to watch out for is its high copper content which usually is not stated in the nutrition facts label. People with a high copper and low zinc imbalance must take note of this. Cacao powder is packed full of other nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, chromium and manganese. It’s a good thing so many people crave for chocolate!
Anna’s “Choco Cake” Breakfast (makes 2 servings)
½ cup oatmeal in 1 cup of water
Mash in ½ frozen or fresh ripe banana
Cook and mix everything together for 5 to 10 minutes
Take pot off heat cooling with milk of choice
Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of cacao powder away from high heat to maintain antioxidant effectiveness
Serve in bowls and add toppings of your choice. This recipe was inspired from my childhood eating my mother’s Filipino chocolate porridge. Just like champorado, Anna’s “Choco Cake” can be eaten cold too. There are so many possibilities to make this chocolate delight. Sometimes I change the whole grain adjusting for its cooking instructions even when making it for Anna. You can make anything taste good with chocolate. However nothing beats the texture of her regular oatmeal that she loves eating in the morning. Even if you are a picky eater, you should try changing things up. You might like it.
Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™