Raise your hand if you're a chocolate-lover. I can't see you, but I'm guessing your hand is reaching for the heavens right about now. It's no wonder, considering chocolate is the most commonly craved food in the U.S.
Since research tells us chocolate is consumed by more people in winter than in any other season, you'll probably encounter plenty of that decadent delight in candy dishes and on dessert tables.
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When nothing but chocolate in its purest form will do (sometimes fat-free hot cocoa just doesn't cut it), getting your fix without getting a big fat and calorie punch along with it can be next to impossible.
For example, just one measly Godiva Open Oyster has 115 calories and 6 grams of fat. A regular-size Hershey's milk chocolate bar also brings a not-so-sweet 230 calories and 13 grams of fat.
The damage from just 1/4 of a 6-ounce Dove dark chocolate bar? Brace yourself... that'll be 230 calories and 14 grams of fat. Even a "fun size" bag of M&M's manages to cram in 100 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. And when you're trying to lose weight, that's a hefty price to pay for such a small amount of satisfaction.
Now, if you're trying to justify your indulgence based on those antioxidants you've heard so much about, be careful. While chocolate like wine does contain phenols which may help reduce the risk of heart disease, you can get those antioxidants from plenty of less-fattening sources, like fruits and vegetables.
So, what's a chocoholic to do? Instead of seeking support from the vending machine, try one of our 10 best secrets for quelling a chocolate craving in less than 100 calories, or whip up our recipe for luxurious-tasting homemade truffles (see below). You'll get an intense shot of chocolate flavor and only 60 calories and 1 gram of fat per piece. (Wrap some up in a holiday tin for a perfect hostess gift.)