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Which chocolate bunny would a nutritionist pick for their Easter basket?

Dietitian says certain types of chocolate offer more benefits

Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs lie on a shelf prior to being packaged at the production facility at Confiserie Felicitas chocolates maker on April 9, 2014 in Hornow, Germany. (PHOTO/Getty Images)
Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs lie on a shelf prior to being packaged at the production facility at Confiserie Felicitas chocolates maker on April 9, 2014 in Hornow, Germany. (PHOTO/Getty Images)

Which chocolate bunny is best?

There are seemingly endless options when it comes to Easter candy these days, but the chocolate bunny remains the ultimate treat.

When it comes to picking the healthiest option, not just at Easter, but all year-round, studies find dark chocolate is best.

“The chocolate that's darker is going to be a little bit more nutrient-dense; it’s going to be higher in cocoa-solids, so directly from the cacao bean.  It’s generally going to be higher in fiber and lower in sugar," said Lindsay Malone, a Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian.

Malone says that if you find a product labeled "dark chocolate," you want to look at the percentage of cocoa solids.   Anything at 60, 70, or 80 percent cocoa, are your best bets for a nutrient-dense chocolate.  Just know that the higher in percentage you go, the more bitter the chocolate will be.

If you don't care for dark chocolate, Malone suggests milk chocolate options that pack a little more protein with nuts.

"If you’re not a dark chocolate fan, you prefer the milk chocolate, then keep the portion size a little bit smaller.  Maybe choose something that’s paired with some nuts, like almonds or peanuts, you know, something to give it a little bit of nutritional value," said Malone.

Malone says crushed nuts have fiber, protein, healthy fats and some vitamins and minerals.   While there are fewer nutrients when the nuts are mixed into candy, the nuts can help offset some of the sugar and saturated fats that are in the chocolate, explained Malone.

The least healthy option for your bunny?  White chocolate.

Malone says white chocolate does not have any cocoa solids.  Instead, it's made of cocoa butter and sugar and is the least nutrient-dense of the chocolate types.