Chocolate granola

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Mix It into Granola
Could a little chocolate, eaten frequently, help keep you at a healthy weight? Yes, reports a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine. Scientists found that people who eat chocolate often have lower body mass indexes than those who eat it less frequently. Although this doesn't mean we should all start eating Cocoa Krispies daily, you won't be sabotaging the health benefits of, say, granola if you add a dash of cocoa powder. You can also toss chocolate chips into the cereal once it's out of the oven and cooled, but mixing in the powder before baking guarantees you'll get the deep, dark chocolate flavor in every spoonful. Or, try Bear Naked's just-chocolaty-enough Heavenly Chocolate granola.

Get the recipes: Classic Granola and O's chocolate granola variation
Chocolate smoothie

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Whip It into a Smoothie
Getting out of bed to work out in the morning could be a lot easier if you knew your post-gym reward was an "are you sure this isn't dessert?" shake that tastes an awful lot like a peanut butter cup. Bob Greene makes a healthy and filling smoothie with vanilla soy milk, pasteurized liquid egg whites, chunky peanut butter, cocoa powder and a banana. And if you don't have time to make your own, try Simpli Oat Shake, a new drink made with oat flakes and cocoa powder that tastes like chocolate milk but is dairy-free.

Get the recipe: Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie
Walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips

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Sprinkle It on Top of Oatmeal
We know you probably don't need much convincing to choco-fy your morning hot cereal, but in case you do, we'd like to point out just how satisfying oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are, since they meld chewiness (from the oats) and sweetness (from the chocolate). You get the same effect here, sans the cookies' butter and sugar. Toss in some shredded coconut for extra texture.

Get the recipe: Chocolate-Coconut Oatmeal
Chocolate muffin

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Bake It into Muffins
Chocolate's favorite fruit—aside from bananas, strawberries and raspberries—must be the cherry. The match makes total sense, since the sour fruit offers a perfect counterpoint to tart dark chocolate. Marisa Churchill, author of Sweet & Skinny, puts them together in these tasty muffins.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Cherry Muffins
Single Lady Pancakes

Photo: Joy Wilson

Add It to Pancake Batter
Joy the Baker Cookbook author Joy Wilson's pancake batter consists of a buttermilk base flecked with old-fashioned oats, a smattering of chocolate chips and banana slices. The fruit will caramelize if you lay each round individually on top of the batter once you've poured it into the pan; when you flip the pancakes, the bananas will be facedown on the griddle and brown up nicely. Wilson's recipe yields just three regular-size cakes (or one large), hence the name Single Lady Pancakes.

Get the recipe: Single Lady Pancakes

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