For many of us, chocolate is one of our biggest loves, and yet also one of our greatest weaknesses. During March each year, the British Heart Foundation challenges chocolate lovers to give up their favourite sweet treat for the month to raise money for the charity as part of its annual 'dechox' campaign.
Are you taking on the challenge? If so, we admire you greatly. We know just how hard it can be to go for an entire month (and a 31-day one at that) without your favourite chocolate bar or cake, and even without any sprinkles on your morning cappuccino to brighten up your commute.
However, dechox-ing doesn't mean that you have to give up sweet treats altogether for the course of the month. Instead, you just need to get a little more creative with where you get your sweet kicks from.
Chocolate-free sweet snacks
There are of course plenty of cakes and biscuits that don't contain any chocolate at all, from plain digestives to lemon drizzle and even coffee and walnut. But doing the dechox challenge provides a good opportunity for a bigger health kick. Instead of reaching for cakes or biscuits, take the challenge one step further and try to go for healthier snacks wherever possible. If you can keep this up once the month is over, you'll soon be reaping the health benefits.
Fruits like strawberries and satsumas are packed with natural sugars to satisfy your sweet tooth healthily, but if you like baking your own treats, have a go at making yourself some peanut butter oat bars, which would make a nutritious breakfast, as well as a fun handy snack.
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Simply mix around 100 grams of oats with a few tablespoons of peanut butter, an egg, 100 grams of brown sugar and a little baking powder. Combine the mixture together and lay out in a greased baking tray, before placing into the oven for around 20 minutes. Leave the bars to cool before cutting, and you'll soon have a sweet snack that's packed with protein and fibre but won't leave you missing your beloved chocolate at all.
Want to give up all sweet treats?
Some dechox-ers like to take the challenge one step further and use it as a chance to give up all sweet snacks for a month, and maybe even beyond. But if you choose to do this, it doesn't mean you can't treat yourself at all.
If getting into the bath with a family-size bar of chocolate was your usual evening treat, make an effort to ensure your soak is extra special so you're not missing your snack.
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Add one of our gorgeous Bath Melts to the tub to make it even more relaxing than normal. The glorious floral perfume they give off thanks to the inclusion of dried rose, marigold and cornflower petals is really beautiful. And as they're made from a nourishing combination of shea and cocoa butter, you'll still get a slight scent of chocolate filling the air.
Lighting our Vanilla Custard Candle in a Can will provide a similar effect, filling your home with the sweet smell of natural vanilla and warming hints of custard - the perfect way to trick your mind into thinking you've had a sugary treat.