How to Make Healthier Hot Cocoa for Cold Weather
By Genevieve Cunningham
The cold weather brings a desire for a lot of wonderful things. We start to crave hot soups and big cozy sweaters. We want scarves and hats and fuzzy gloves. And one of the tastiest and most comforting things that we break out in the cold weather is a big steaming cup of hot cocoa. In the south, we never know when the cold weather is going to sneak in for a day or two, so cramming in a few cups of cocoa becomes top priority. But how can we enjoy this traditional holiday treat without adding too many calories or a few extra pounds? If you want to enjoy your cocos guilt-free this year, take a look at these tips for making this treat as healthy as possible.
Easy on the Milk
Milk is delicious in hot cocoa. It gives the cocoa a thicker, creamier texture. It's incredibly satisfying. But it also packs on the calories. If you have to use milk, opt for skim, which contains the lowest amount of fat. If you can, skip the milk completely and stick to hot water. While this will mean a thinner texture and slightly less flavor, it will save you big on calories, fat, and possible extra weight at the end of the holiday season.
Skip the Marshmallows
Yes, you definitely want marshmallows in your hot chocolate! They're so good and so seasonal. But they're also higher in calories than you think. Adding a handful to each mug full of chocolate goodness packs on the calories really quickly. If you're wanting to make it a little healthier, just skip the marshmallows. And definitely skip any whip cream or chocolate drizzles or any other additional toppings. It won't be as fancy, but it will be healthier, and so you'll be able to enjoy more throughout the season.
Opt for Cacao
The love for cacao is growing. Cacao is a pure form of chocolate. It's bitter in flavor, but it's far healthier than traditional milk chocolate. The problem? You have to learn how to use cacao. If you just substitute without any other changes, your hot chocolate won't taste very good. But if you learn new recipes with cacao and other healthy ingredients, then you may be able to have your cocoa and drink it, too.
Hot chocolate is so good and so bad! Luckily, there are things that we can do to make it healthier without sacrificing too much in flavor. Use these tips to cut back on calories and improve the quality of your seasonal drink, and keep your health (and menu!) in check all season long.
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