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Here's Why You Should Eat Chocolate for Breakfast

If you've been keeping chocolate firmly in the dessert category, you're missing out. It's also a delicious breakfast idea.

Turns out, chocolate is good for us – especially as a day-starter. And more and more scientists are singing its praises as a breakfast idea. Chocolate boosts brain power, says a recent Syracuse University Study. Another study found that regularly drinking hot cocoa (such a hardship!) increased memory, thinking abilities, and even blood flow to the brain.

Who doesn't want to kick off the day just a bit smarter? So, ditch the guilt and dive in to these chocolate-powered breakfasts.

1) Supercharge Those Smoothies

Whether you lean toward green smoothies or protein-packed ones, breakfast shakes are a popular and healthy way to start the day. Slip a scoop of cocoa powder or even a dollop of good chocolate sauce into your favorite smoothie. Try chocolate, peanut butter, and frozen banana. Sip a chocolate-covered mixed-berry smoothie (toss in some spinach or kale for good measure). Or blend up a rich Superfood Chocolate Pudding Smoothie with avocado for healthy fat.

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Chocolate pudding smoothie? Yes, please. Photo by Buckwheat Queen

2) Add Chocolate to Breakfast Breads

Start the day with carbs – and chocolate – by folding chips, cocoa, or even chocolate spread into your favorite breakfast bread or muffin. Chocolate chip-studded banana bread is an old-school classic. It takes a bit of prep time, but it's hard to go wrong with chocolate-filled babka. Take your chocolate in portable form with chocolate muffins featuring anything from pumpkin to nuts to zucchini.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Photo by Jennifer Baker

3) Make Your Oats Outstanding

There are few more-comforting breakfast ideas than a steamy bowl of oatmeal on a chilly day. Amp up the oatmeal experience by mixing in a handful of chocolate chips. Or, do some advance prep with a bowl of stick-to-your-ribs chocolate overnight oats. Feeding a crowd? Baked oatmeal's your breakfast buddy. Mix some chocolate chips or cocoa into your favorite baked oatmeal recipe, pop it in a casserole and get ready for breakfast perfection.

4) Sip That Chocolate

We've already established that hot cocoa is basically a health food. Swap out your morning coffee now and then with a jolt of drinkable chocolate. Or, get the best of both worlds with a breakfast mocha, hot or iced. And don't forget: Studies have called chocolate milk the perfect after-workout beverage.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate | Photo by Meredith

5) Build Your Own Breakfast Bar

Spending too much money on grocery store breakfast bars? Good news: It's easy and economical to make your own. They're infinitely customizable and super-portable. Plus, they're the perfect vehicle for chocolate. Make them cakey like these Chocolate Chip Energy Bars. Or opt for crispy ones like these chocolate-topped Granola Energy Bars.

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6) Get Bowled Over with Breakfast Bowls

Breakfast bowls are a super-trend breakfast idea right now. And they're just begging for a chocolate infusion. Stir some cocoa into a day-starting quinoa bowl before topping it with fresh berries. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips into this protein-powered Creamy Blueberry Coconut Ricotta Bowl. Mix cocoa powder into your favorite smoothie bowl.

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About Heather Lalley

Heather Lalley is a Chicago-based food writer and mother of two. She has degrees in journalism and baking & pastry, and is the author of "The Chicago Homegrown Cookbook," a farm-to-table book about Chicago chefs who work closely with local farmers. She's a vegetarian, so she won't steal your hamburger -- but you'd better watch your fries and tater tots. Follow her on Twitter @flourgrrrl.