The French have what I consider an ingenious tradition called “Le Goûter.” Le Goûter consists of a cup of tea/coffee and a snack, typically a chocolatey one. It is consumed in the late afternoon/early evening to get you through the rest of the day, tiding you over until dinner. I am a chocolate lover and need no additional reason to consume chocolate other than the fact I like it, but this is a tradition I embraced while in France and was happy to continue here in the States.
February welcomes us with a barrage of chocolate.
Milk, dark, and white – we are surrounded by chocolate covered treats, chocolate filled treats, chocolate bars and beverages… the list goes on. My colleagues have already covered, in detail, how to choose chocolate for your health and how to incorporate it into a balanced day. Looking for Guiding Stars on products can help you easily navigate toward these better-for-you options when you are shopping. However, being a nutrition guidance program, we do not provide in-store guidance on sustainability issues, and there are a lot of things to look at for cocoa and the environmental and social impacts of our choice.
What do you do if you love chocolate but want a choice that is more nutritious AND sustainable?
Fear not, there are a lot of certifications out there that can help you choose a chocolate if you are looking for a better-for-global health choice and not just better-for-your health. Organic is a widely recognized certification, but having a USDA organic seal only hits on the environmental aspects of your food (although some of those can overlap into social justice too). UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fairtrade are three certifications that look at a more holistic sustainability measure. Not just the environmental impact of the product but social impact as well – what is the pay, treatment, living situation, etc. like for these workers that created your delectable treat?
If you are passionate about sustainability and want to choose the better-for-global health option, you can look for these certifications. The sweet spot (pun intended) is the overlap in whole health. Remember that a certification of sustainability doesn’t evaluate the nutrition of the product. Look for those items that also earn Guiding Stars, and you won’t have to compromise health in either direction.