Why swapped out chocolate snacks for dried fruit & nuts?

Anyone who has dieted before has probably considered the "swapping snacks for nuts" strategy at some point! 


Don't you want to make it work this time around?


After reading today's blog post, I think you'll have developed the habit of having nuts as a snack.


So be sure to have some nuts handy as you read on.

I used to be really into chocolate but gave it up in favour of nuts and dried fruits, and haven't gone back to chocolate since.

While chocolate is sweet and delicious, it's high in sugar and fat which made me feel guilty.

Doesn't it also seem quite addictive?  


【Why Can't We Quit Chocolate?】

I bet you want to know the answer to that one? Here's a summary:


1. Effects of the Ingredients


Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness and energy. This effect can lead to dependence.


Theobromine in cocoa has a similar effect to caffeine. It increases heart rate and elevates mood.  


Chocolate contains phenethylamine which promotes the release of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain. This can induce feelings of happiness and pleasure, increasing addictive potential.


2. Combination of Sugar and Fat

Chocolate is high in both sugar and fat. This combination stimulates the brain's reward system, causing pleasure. Especially the sugar provides an instant energy boost followed by a crash, increasing cravings in a cyclical way.


3. Psychological Factors  

Comfort Effect

For many, chocolate acts as a "comfort food" to relieve stress or stabilize mood. When stressed or down, eating chocolate can provide a temporary sense of security or happiness.


4. Habit  

Developing a daily chocolate habit means craving it at certain times or in certain situations. This chronic habit can lead to dependence.


5. Physiological Response

Eating chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins which dull pain and induce pleasure. This physiological response also contributes to addictive potential.



How about nuts instead?


【5 Top Nuts: Their Effects on the Body】



- Rich in vitamin E, incredible antioxidant power  

- Support bone and muscle health, the magical nut



- Omega-3s protect heart health

- May prevent aging and cancer, the magical nut  



- Iron and zinc boost immunity and energy

- Help relieve stress, the divine nut



- Packed with protein, great for strength training

- Support brain health, the intellectual nut  


Macadamia Nuts

- Healthy fats reduce heart disease risk  

- Provide energy and build strong bones


After learning all that, don't you want to choose nuts over chocolate?



Also, whenever deciding on a snack, I recommend imagining how you'll feel after eating it.  


If you think you'll feel happy afterwards, go for it.


But I didn't think that way about chocolate.

While it made me happy in the moment, afterwards I felt guilty and worried about weight gain, acne, etc.


It's really important not to forget that lingering feeling.


This is actually a key to successful dieting!


Now, since I do enjoy sweets, nuts alone didn't satisfy me, so I decided to combine them with dried fruits.

My top two picks were:


- Raisins  

High in iron and potassium, raisins prevent anemia and help manage blood pressure when eaten with nuts. Their natural sweetness provides a satisfying, healthy snack.


- Prunes

Packed with fiber and vitamin K, prunes improve gut health and support bones. Combined with nuts, they make an effective snack for relieving constipation and preventing osteoporosis.  


Raisins and prunes are relatively easy to find and offer health benefits. If you still crave that chocolate flavor, I recommend sprinkling on some cocoa powder. Dates are delicious but harder to find good quality ones – I'll splurge on those as an occasional treat.


There are actually lots of fun ways to enjoy nuts and dried fruit as a chocolate alternative snack.





1. **Drewnowski, A., & Almiron-Roig, E. (2010). Human perceptions and preferences for fat-rich foods. In Montmayeur JP, le Coutre J (Eds.), Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.**

2. **Hetherington, M. M., & Macdiarmid, J. I. (1993). "Chocolate addiction": A preliminary study of its description and its relationship to problem eating. Appetite, 21(3), 233-246.**  

3. **Bruinsma, K., & Taren, D. L. (1999). Chocolate: food or drug? Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 99(10), 1249-1256.**