Are you on a no-sugar vegan diet? These are two of the most popular diets today for different reasons. You can even make sugar-free chocolate chips that contain no animal products like eggs and dairy. The ancient Mayans worshiped cocoa trees, and its name translates as “food of the Gods.” Today the chocolate/cocoa industry is worth a sky-high $48.5 billion (2017). It’s been trending on low-carb diets like Keto and Atkins since the raw cocoa powder is low-carb and high-fat. Chocolate is also loaded with lots of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants that can help to fight off illness. You can keep chocolate low-carb by swapping out white sugar.
We often think of chocolate as unhealthy food. However, it depends on various factors, like how much processing it undergoes. That’s why you should always look for “dark chocolate” products for the healthiest options. These products contain at least 80% raw cacao. However, if you’re on the vegan and no-sugar diet, then you’ll also have to consider if the chocolate chips have meat/dairy/eggs and white sugar. All sugar is high-carb, highly-processed, and can lead to diseases like type-2 diabetes. The good news is there are natural sweeteners that are sugar-free and thus much healthier.
Can Chocolate Chips Be Healthy?
In short, they can be but usually aren’t. It’s important to take up how chocolate products are made from the get-go. Raw cacao powder is produced from the cacao bean. Like the coffee bean, the original version is a superfood. It’s the processing that can make it unhealthy.
One key issue is the amount of processing that takes place. This is why raw cacao is much healthier than regular chocolate. There are different definitions but usually, this means the chocolate product includes at least 80% raw cacao. In other words, it’s much less processed than most chocolate on the market like chocolate bars and cocoa drinks.
The more processing the raw cacao bean undergoes the less healthy it is. For example, highly-processed chocolate has a lot fewer vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many “chocolate” products are virtually nothing like the original chocolate bean.
Then there’s the issue of chocolate. An average Snickers bar has 12g of sugar, which is about half the recommended daily value (DV). A regular Milky Way candy bar has 31g of sugar, which is close to the recommended DV for men.
Various possible health issues are caused by high sugar intake. It starts with insulin resistance. If blood sugar levels continue to rise this can lead to prediabetes or diabetes. These are serious conditions that can sometimes lead to more serious conditions.
High sugar intake can also cause other health issues like inflammation. That can also trigger various other health problems including type-2diabete, heart disease, and cancer.
It’s also possible for chocolate products to have animal-based products and dairy products in particular. This includes milk chocolate, which is a no-go for vegans. It’s another reason to consider DIY chocolate chips. This allows you to make limited-ingredient chips that are free of milk and sugar.
How to Make Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips
Most consumers want somewhat sweet chocolate chips. The amount of added sugar can cause the amount of sweetness to vary greatly. There are various products on the market that are low-sugar, but if you’re on a sugar-free diet then there has to be 0g of sugar.
Then there’s the issue of animal products in chocolate chips. This means there can’t be any eggs, milk, cream, etc. Milk chocolate is most likely to have dairy but you might find it in other chocolate products.
You can make homemade chocolate chips that are vegan and sugar-free. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Virgin coconut oil (4 TBSP)
- Cocoa/cacao powder (1/3 cup)
- Vanilla stevia OR ¼ cup raw honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
There are a few caveats about honey, maple syrup, and agave. While these products aren’t technically made from sugarcane they still have natural sugars. The sugars are quite high. However, they’re also more natural options because they’re whole foods versus all sugars that are processed from sugarcane juice.
Meanwhile, stevia is produced from a natural plant. The amount of processing that’s done to make the sweetener varies. However, you can find less processed versions that are healthier than highly-processed stevia.
Yet another issue is whether you should go with cocoa or cacao powder. The products are similar but if you want your chocolate chips to be less processed go with cacao powder. The processing is a little different and as the name suggests it’s closer to the cacao bean.
Here’s how you make the chips:
- Step 1: Melt the coconut oil
- Step 2: Stir in your sweetener
- Step 3: Stir in the cocoa/cacao
- Step 4: Add more coconut oil if you’re using stevia
- Step 4: Pour into candy mold then freeze
- Step 5: Store in the freezer
Recipe Ideas for Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips
You can go with traditional or no-bake cheesecake. The chocolate is the star of the show, and since it’s sugar-free, you won’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes. Cream cheese is low-carb and high-calcium so it’s a good option for various reasons.
Frozen Yogurt Pops
This recipe is so easy it includes two ingredients: yogurt and chocolate chips. That’s it! This is a great summertime treat when you want to cool down on a super-hot day. You could even go with variants like Greek yogurt if you want the yogurt to have higher protein and a creamier texture.
Double Chocolate Cookies
These are Chocolate Cookies 2.0. It’s a good option if you want to take your chocolate cookies to the next level. That’s because these are chocolate cookies with chocolate chips. You can also make them chewy if you like the texture better than crunchy cookies. You can even make the whole cookie sugar-free.
Chocolate Cereal Bars
This one gets some interesting ingredients besides the chocolate chips. There’s also toasted corn creel and toasted almonds for extra taste and texture.
While chocolate chip cookies are one of the most popular desserts with chips, you can also make bars. One of the main benefits is the texture is generally chewier, which is a plus if you aren’t a fan of crunchy cookies. You can also make a salted version that adds an extra layer of flavor.
Pecan And Chocolate Pie
You’ve heard of pecan and chocolate pie. Well, you can use chocolate chips to combine the two into a pecan and chocolate pie. Pecans are a superfood like many other tree nuts. Like other tree nuts, they’re high in healthy fats, vitamins/minerals, and fiber. You can also enjoy a guilt-free dessert thanks to the sugar-free chocolate chips.