How Jacques Torres Combines Chocolate And Fruit Into A Nutritious Treat

Committing to healthy eating can be a difficult change to make, especially for those of us with a sweet tooth. Thankfully, there are ways you can still indulge your love of sweets while maintaining a relatively healthy diet — and they don't just involve diet foods. In addition to dark chocolate being a good indulgence for your circulatory system, Women's Running reports that eating it has also been attributed to improved mood and memory, noting that indulging in a bit of dessert can actually help people stick to their diets better than cutting out all sweets. And James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, chocolatier, and "Nailed It!" host Jacques Torres has a few suggestions for ways you can stay healthy while still indulging your desire for a chocolatey treat.

Good Housekeeping quotes Torres as recommending dipping blueberries in dark chocolate as a healthy, sweet snack. The chef explained that he uses chocolate that is 60% cocoa because the darker, higher-percentage chocolate is lower in sugar and contains heart-healthy antioxidants, as do the blueberries (though other berries or fruits could likely also be used for a similar effect). But if chocolate-dipped fruit still seems a little too healthy for your sweet tooth, Torres has another chocolatey treat you can try that will still give you that nutritious edge.

Nut and berry bark is a healthy spin on candy

In addition to chocolate-covered berries, Jacques Torres also told Good Housekeeping that it is easy to put a healthy spin on candy by making a bit of homemade chocolate bark loaded with high-protein nuts. "Simply temper chocolate, mix in as many different kinds of nuts (which are high in protein and fiber), pour it on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and let it set. Then break it up and enjoy!"

This idea of chocolate bark with a healthy twist also came up in an exclusive Tasting Table interview with the chef in December 2022. Torres told us that along with peppermint and pretzels, he enjoys mixing nuts, oats, and finely chopped dried fruit into his chocolate bark, which he likes to share with friends and family during the holidays. Once again, Torres recommends using a high-cocoa chocolate — in this case, something over 70%, which is not only a healthier option than milk chocolate but also offsets and enhances the flavors of the mix-in ingredients.

If you're looking to make extra sure your sweet tooth is satisfied, he suggests using fruits like raisins and dried apricots, mangoes, and peaches rather than a more bitter alternative like cranberries. "That brings some sweetness to it, but also extra flavor, which is always good," he explained.