Treat with Benefits: Nutella

My first introduction to Nutella was when I was in elementary school in Canada.  We had friends who were from Paraguay and one of their kids was in my brothers class.  I don’t know how it came up, but my brother said that chocolate was a good lunch.  My mom made us the home-made whole wheat bread with an aged cheddar sandwich and carrot sticks and if we were lucky some home made banana bread for dessert so I wasn’t sure where my brother got this idea.  It turns out his classmate was bringing Nutella sandwiches for lunch.  Since then, I’ve lived in France (also as a child) where a common after school snack was a square of chocolate in some baguette leftover from the morning meal.  In our house, chocolate was just a special treat and it definitely was never thought of as a healthy food.  Now as a parent, with finicky eaters, I can see how a sandwich with whole wheat bread, and chocolatey, but also nutty Nutella could have some value.  In our house just as Ovaltine is packed with great vitamins and Nutella has some good protein, it’s still a treat, but one with benefits.

I was lucky enough to host a Nutella party at my house recently, where we enjoyed some Nutella with crepes and fruit.  On the right is a classic French (and my daughter’s and my favorite crepe filling) lemon and sugar.  With the Nutella a little went a long way and having the chocolatey nutty filling made it much more filling (at least for me).

What I love about Nutella for a party is that it pleases everyone!  I can’t say it is a health food, but it is a food I don’t mind serving my kids, friends and family.  Just like peanut butter, it has a lot of fat and because of the chocolate it is high in sugar, but you can’t eat Nutella and think that you’re not having a sweet treat!  Just like the chocolatey, sugary cereals they sell on television as a “part of this nutritious breakfast” if you add some fruit, fiber, and maybe some crepes made with eggs, then you’ll have a great start to your day.

And you won’t have trouble getting someone to help with clean up.

There is not doubt that aside from a debate about nutrition chocolate brings something else to the table.  Joy.  Enjoy your Nutella in moderation and call it a day!  Bon appetit!

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