Tag Archives: chocolate


Chocolate and FODMAPs

After a long wait, the Monash team analyzed chocolate last year and the news was glorious! YES….small amounts of dark chocolate would fit the low FODMAP diet criteria. IMG_1008edit-1 FODMAPers around the globe rejoiced! And I was one of them!

For those who don’t know my history, here is a little recap:

I am a registered dietitian and a low FODMAP diet follower.  I have learned which FODMAPs trigger my symptoms and back off eating them when I want a calm belly.  For me, the low FODMAP diet was a long awaited answer to my very sensitive tummy post intestinal resection.  When I was pregnant with my middle son, I developed a strangulated  intestine and required immediate surgery to save my life–and that of my little growing baby within. It was a very scary time. I was in the hospital for 10 days and every morning the obstetric nurse came with the doppler to listen for my son’s heart beat.  Honestly, I cried every time I heard it.  Despite a miserable post-operation course, I felt so grateful that my son survived this trauma.  Every day that I see my college aged grown boy, I feel extremely blessed.  With 6 1/2 feet of my intestine removed along with of my ileo-cecal valve (the door between the small and large intestine), I struggled with terrible pains and cramping…daily. I later developed small intestinal overgrowth (yikes!) which as many of you know…is NO fun! Unfortunately, I am a high risk for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth since I don’t have my ileo-cecal valve.

But the low FODMAP diet has kept me in check. Fortunately, I had my nutrition degree throughout this ordeal and kept abreast of the research in GI nutrition. I learned about the low FODMAP diet back in 2009. Since then… I have been a new person.  It’s been such a rewarding experience to share what I have learned about FODMAPs with all of you. Really. Rewarding.

So…le’t talk chocolate. I mean, really, what’s more important? Ha!IMG_1014editt-1

Monash gives dark chocolate the ‘green light’ for a 30 gram portion.  Because chocolate can be a GI irritant and  is high in fat–tolerance is variable. Bottom line: Don’t over do it!!  So what’s a 30 gram portion–about 2 tablespoons of semi sweet morsels.  For cocoa, the limit is 2-3 heaping teaspoons–about 1 heaping tablespoon.

In an article in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling in November 2011 titled: Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease, the authors note that cocoa has more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Epicatechin (a natural plant phenol antioxidant) in cocoa provides a favorable effect on the blood vessels (lowers blood pressure). Cocoa polyphenols provide anti-inflammatory effects too. Cocoa can protect our nerves from injury and inflammation, protect the skin from UV radiation when applied on the skin( ie cocoa in lotions), and may help us feel full, preventing over eating. Chocolate may improve our mood (Ah…ya think? Yup.)  The summary of this article: The benefits of eating moderate cocoa or dark chocolate consumption likely outweighs the risks. Yahoo! :)

I am a big fan of fruit dipped in a little chocolate because a small amount just really hits the spot! IMG_0996edit-1I simply melt 2 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a drizzle of vegetable oil and heat in the microwave about 30 seconds and stir. Sometimes you need to heat the chocolate a little longer to get the morsels to melt (microwaves vary)–just watch the chocolate closely as you don’t want to burn it.

Choose a semi-sweet chocolate chip that has low fiber (1 gram or less) such as Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. The potential FODMAPs in dark chocolate are fructans and GOS, fiber sources.  So, I like to choose those with lower fiber amounts. Some fair trade chocolate is quite high in fiber.  Of course, milk chocolate should be avoided as it contains lactose.

Just a little chocolate added to fruit makes a delicious dessert.  You can dip the fruit in the chocolate or drizzle the melted chocolate over a low FODMAP fruit kabob.  I like to add a little sprinkles because I think they are fun.  Nonpareils typically are made with sugar, cornstarch and confectioner’s glaze–so would be low FODMAP.

No major recipe today, just melt, dip or drizzle–it’s really quite easy.


Monash U gives thumbs up to dark chocolate (FODMAP update)!

Okay, I stumbled on some new info this morning…and since chocolate has been a HOT topic…

Drum roll, please!

You can officially say, yes, to chocolate….dark chocolate that is.  But the quantity limit is about 2 tablespoons of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or 30 grams.  BUT….yes, I will take it!  I have been allowing small amounts of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my recipes…. but today, I can rest easier knowing that they are officially allowed!Dark chocolate

White chocolate and milk chocolate had moderate amounts of lactose–so are ‘yellow or amber lighted’ on the app.

Click here to see the info as stated by the Monash Uni researchers!



Chocolate Covered Pineapple…in preparation for Valentine’s Day

Okay….here it is….my latest addiction.

Semi-swet chocolate + fresh sliced pineapple= Heaven

Sooooooo tasty.  And really one or maybe two little chunks and your sweet tooth should be completely satisfied.

chocolate covered pineappleSince Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…you might want to treat your sweetheart to these tasty sweets!

Can you say…YUM!?

Valentine's treat chocolate covered pineapple

Chocolate has not been officially tested for FODMAPs to my knowledge but if you choose a lactose free chocolate chip with a lower fiber content (1 gram or less per serving)…you may find in small quantity you can tolerate it…..of course, listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly.

And…if pineapple isn’t your favorite fruit….you can always get creative with other fruits…and perhaps even a smattering of nuts or coconut!

chocolate covered fruit

Chocolate Covered Pineapple


  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels such as Trader Joe's
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 whole pineapple, sliced into spears or chunks


  1. Cooking time may vary, but I placed my chips and oil in microwave safe dish and cooked on regular setting for 1 minute.
  2. Carefully remove bowl and give the chocolate a stir.
  3. Place bowl of chocolate back in microwave for another 30-45 seconds and stir to create a creamy chocolate blend. {Microwave cooking times vary this may take less or more depending of the power of your microwave}
  4. Place cut up pineapple on a few paper towels to remove moisture on the outside of the fruit.
  5. Dip chunks into chocolate using fork and place on parchment paper lined plate.
  6. If using spears, just dip half of the spear in chocolate (that will be enough chocolate!)
  7. Refrigerate chocolate dipped pineapple for about 30 minutes if you can wait that long!

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Happy Saturday!  I don’t know about you but this week was super busy.  I am looking forward to this gorgeous sunny day in New England.

Russ and I got in a GREAT run this morning and of course, Lucy, our crazy chocolate lab joined us-’cause dogs need exercise too! :)

Here’s Lucy taking in some sun post run…lucy

Speaking of chocolate…

I love chocolate and coconut combos…not like globs of gooey excess coconut and chocolate but rather chocolate with a hint of coconut.  So I decided to make some 60% cacao chocolate gluten free cookies with a smattering of coconut.  I think I might try using a bit of coconut oil next time to infuse a bit more coconut flavor.  {These can easily be made with all-purpose flour or favorite whole grain flour for the wheat tolerant!}chocolate coconut cookies

I blended up a bit of melted 60% cacao chocolate chips, shredded coconut, butter, some granulated sugar and a mixture of gluten free flours…and of course an egg, baking soda and vanilla.

cookie dough

I rolled the dough in parchment paper and refrigerated it for about 2 hours so that I could simply slice the cookie dough into as a many cookies as a I want and return the rest of the dough to the freezer for later in the week.cutting the dough

Then I popped them on a cookie sheet. You can see the little bits of coconut. Mmmmmready to bake

And then I ate them. :)cookies done

 NOTE: Monash Uni recently provided data on cocoa and it is high in FODMAPs (boo) -we don’t have data on chocolate yet but would suggest you choose a chocolate chip with a low fiber content <1 gram as it is the fiber in cocoa that contains FODMAPs (GOS and fructans) to use in this recipe.  And limit cookies to your tolerance.  

Chocolate Coconut Cookies


  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup 60% cacao chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Trader Joe's gluten free flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole grain brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped shredded sweetened coconut


  1. In medium bowl, blend butter and sugar.
  2. Add in egg and vanilla.
  3. Fold in chocolate.
  4. Blend in flours and baking soda.
  5. Blend in coconut.
  6. Remove dough and place on wax paper or parchment paper and roll into long log about 2 1/2 inch diameter.
  7. Roll log up with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or until very firm.
  8. Cut dough into 1/3 inch thick circle and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes.
  9. FOR the wheat tolerant: Substitute 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or white wheat flour for the 2 flours in this recipe.


Frozen Banana Pops!

I hope everyone had a wonderful LOVE day!

Yesterday, I came home to a large box filled with Chobani yogurt treats.  THANKS CHOBANI!  I love that!  I am a fan of Greek yogurt….I just love the creaminess and extra protein in it.

First of all, I made a very nice discovery this week in the kitchen.

Adding a Tablespoon of all natural peanut butter to vanilla Greek yogurt makes a nice dip.  Serious yumminess. I discovered this on a whim on my mission to make frozen banana pops. Greek yogurt is lower in lactose than traditional yogurt and the amount in this recipe per ‘pop’ should not pose a problem for those with lactose intolerance.

Banana pop katescarlata.com

This was a fun, delicious and easy project!

Peel and cut bananas and stick a lollipop stick in the end.plain bananas

Mix yogurt with peanut butter and roll the banana to coat.  You might need a little help with a spoon to adhere the yogurt to the banana.  The lollipop stick won’t be too secure as the banana isn’t frozen yet.

Add some chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips to a parchment lined tray and roll bananas to coat. Dip in almonds and bits

Leave the banana pops on the tray or plate and pop in the freezer–until frozen.  I left them in overnight.

Deeeee–lish!  FODMAPers: I haven’t received the official word on FODMAP content of chocolate so add the chocolate chips to your own personal tolerance.crop banana pop

Frozen Banana Pops!


  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 lollipop sticks
  • 1/3 cup Vanilla Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
  • 1 Tablespoon all natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecan, peanuts or almonds)
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Place lollipop sticks in banana about 2 inches in banana
  2. Mix yogurt with peanut butter and coat banana.
  3. Place nuts and chocolate chips on parchment lined tray or plate that will fit in your freezer and roll bananas in mixture.
  4. Freeze over night.
  5. Eat!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bits

Well….Happy Tuesday!  I am on my way back to Boston after a wonderful visit to the Big Apple.  This trip was a mix between business and pleasure….but since I love my career, it felt a bit more like one big trip of pleasure.  The best part, of course, was spending some well-needed one-on-one time with my daughter, Chelsea.  We usually hangout as a family….which is AWESOME…but having time with my kids individually is really special.

Chelsea and I love to eat healthy but yummy foods–we both have a bit of a sweet tooth and we are REALLY good at spending money!  :)


My work this week involved a photo shoot.  Complete with a makeup and hair stylist.  How cool is that?  I met the editors of a book I am working on….can’t really say any more about that (confidential)…but I am excited to share the details once it is published!

I do love NYC.  So much to see and do…NYC subway

Even on a gray day, NYC is a special place.Empire

Before I headed out on Sunday, I did do a bit of creating in the kitchen…so thought I would share my latest treat.

I thought I would try a no-bake sweet made with whole grain oats, peanut butter and a few extra yummies.

This is one of my favorite recipes to date.

A great re-fuel after a run, a quick healthy snack and a dessert rolled up in one.  bites on tray

So…I mixed some rolled oats, oat bran, all natural peanut butter, vanilla paste, walnuts, a bit of unsweetened coconut, a drizzle of maple syrup and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my food processor.dough

Then I rolled them into balls and froze ’em.  That’s it.

I tried them right away at room temperature and liked them.

BUT, they taste even better cold!  mmmmm….

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bits


  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Toss all the ingredients in a food processor fit with steel blade.
  2. Pulse until mixture starts to blend up--but still has some texture (about 1-2 minutes)
  3. Drizzle a bit more maple syrup if too dry to roll into a ball.
  4. Make about 12-14 balls. Freeze and enjoy.


No Bake Goodie

Give me anything with chocolate and nuts and I am in heaven. So when we didn’t have anything nutty and chocolate in the house I decided to make a small batch of peanut butter squares.

I created a healthier version, of course, made with whole grain graham crackers and healthy peanut butter.  

First start with simple peanut butter.  I like Teddie and Smuckers because the ingredients listed are as they should be: peanuts, salt and in my case, also flax seeds. No added fake ingredients like partially hydrogenated fats and preservatives in this jar.   I love this peanut butter as the flax seeds add a bit more fiber (keeps you feeling full) and are rich in the plant source of omega 3 fatty acids, known for heart health.

This recipe also calls for graham cracker crumbs but my local grocery store only had crumbs that had high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils, a form of trans fats that are very bad for your health.  So, I opted to make my own crumbs out of Back to Nature Grahams (simply whirl in your food processor or place in a brown bag and hammer into crumbs!) Take a look at this ingredient list:

 Lots of whole grains! These grahams taste good but are a little less sweet than the unhealthy ones.

This recipe can easily be cut in half or quartered so rather than using a baking pan,  I simply place some parchment paper on a plate to form a square of the peanut butter mixture, like this.

Then top with melted chocolate…OH yeah!

After 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge, these are ready to eat! Seriously delicious.

Peanut Butter Squares Made Healthier


  • 4 TB butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup Graham cracker crumbs (I used Back to Nature which are healthier than traditional crumbs)
  • ½ cup Confectionary sugar
  • 1 cup All-natural peanut butter with flaxseed (Teddie Brand)
  • Topping:
  • ½ cup Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoonPeanut butter with flaxseed


  1. To make peanut butter mixture, place all ingredients (not topping ingredients) in a bowl and mix until blended. On a large flat plate, place a sheet of parchment paper, and add peanut butter mixture, top with another piece of parchment paper and squish mixture down with hands forming a square about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. In microwave safe dish, place chocolate chips, oil and peanut butter on med-high heat for 30 seconds, stir and heat for additional 20 minutes until completely melted. Scoop melted chocolate on top of peanut square and spread out evenly with back of spoon.
  3. Place peanut butter square in the fridge for about an hour. Cut into squares. Keep bars refrigerated.