Who doesn’t love hot cocoa in the winter?
I’m not even a chocolate lover, and I love, love it!
There’s just something so inviting about coming in from the cold and wrapping your hands around a warm mug of sweet smelling cocoa. Ahhh, exhale.
And if you have kids, you know how crazy they go for cocoa puffs! I mean, hot cocoa. (Couldn’t resist.)
Unfortunately though, the one thing that can make them (and you) go crazy for real, is all the SUGAR in regular hot chocolate. And yes, there is also a little bit of caffein in chocolate, but sugar is the greater offender in this case, especially since there is usually added sugar on top of the chocolate sugar – things like table sugar and whipped cream.
Some fancy coffee shops are even adding sweetened syrups and extra chocolate syrup, on top of the already sweetened chocolate!
So not only are we talking heaps of sugar here, we’re also talking tons of calories!
Check out the numbers on Starbucks’ Grande Hot Chocolate
The ingredients for this 16 ounce drink as “Steamed 2% milk with vanilla-and mocha-flavored syrups. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate-flavored drizzle.
Fat grams: 16
Carb grams: 50
Protein grams: 14
Sugar grams: 43
Aside from the major calorie count, which is more than most meals, 43 grams of sugar is personally more than I consume in a whole day! So I can feel a headache/ energy crash coming on before I even take the first sip.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know we’re not drinking hot cocoa for it’s nutritional value. But we could be! Lots of healthy nutrients in the milk, if you choose to have it with milk.
And I know that this drink is considered a treat, so we allow ourselves to splurge a little. But we don’t have to go overboard and blow our entire day.
I mean, you can if you want to. We’ve all done it once or twice (or fifty times) with our food or drink delicacy of choice. Maybe we had instant food hangover or calorie regret. Maybe we didn’t!
I’m all for a good splurge now and then.
A Healthier Hot Cocoa
But! For those times when you’d rather have a more balanced approach, and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa without breaking the calorie bank, or slipping into a sugar coma, here’s a recipe you can enjoy with your entire family.
It’s something me and my 6 year old came up with on our own (although I’m sure it’s just a standard recipe) one night over the Christmas holiday in Philadelphia.
It was the perfect start to our Sunday morning.
Yes, we had hot cocoa for breakfast!
And we made it at least three more times that week, for ourselves and visitors.
What Makes This Hot Chocolate Healthier
- It’s made with real dark chocolate from the cacao tree
- Cacao provides antioxidants and flavonoids. The darker the chocolate, the higher the flavonoids.
- Far less sugar than pre-packed hot chocolate/cocoa, as well as most served at coffee shops
- It’s organic. Cacao beans, like coffee beans, are one of the more heavily sprayed with pesticides, so buying organic chocolate makes a big difference in what you’re ingesting.
- You make it yourself, so just like you have control over the type of chocolate, you also control the amount of chocolate, and the amount of milk and type of milk (or water, if you prefer a lower calorie drink)
*You can use any real dark chocolate you like (not sugary milk chocolate), but to keep the sugar and fat content down you’ll want to stick with 75% or higher. I’ve even made it with 90%. Just depends on your taste*
Portion = 16 ounces, just like the Starbucks version
Calories = 312 (88 less)
Fat grams = 15 (1 less)
Carb grams = 16 (34 less)
Sugar = 23 grams (20 less)
I split this 16 ounce portion between myself and my 6 year old, so we each had one cup, for a total of 156 calories each, and just 11.5 grams of sugar.
- 4 squares of Green & Blacks Organics 70% Cacao (you could use more or less to your taste)
- 2 cups 2% organic milk (you can use any type of milk you like)
- place chocolate pieces in a saucepan over medium-low heat
- add milk
- whisk constantly until chocolate is melted and well blended, about 5 minutes.