Creating Healthier Cocoa Recipes
By Brandi Swieter
Hot chocolate is a popular winter drink that helps to keep people warm on cold days. Though the drink is well-loved, it's also unhealthy if the right recipe isn't used. Lots of sugar and calories make up the drink if people aren't careful. It is possible to create healthier cocoa recipes, though, ensuring a nutritious drink to enjoy without feeling guilty.
Make it from Scratch
Many people grab a box of hot cocoa packets from the store. High calories, sodium, and sugar are found in these pouches. The best option is to make the cocoa from scratch so it is safer to consume. Cocoa powder is the main ingredient required.
Use Raw, Organic Cocoa
Because cocoa is the main ingredient, people making hot chocolate at home need to be sure they're choosing the right kind. Hershey's cocoa powder isn't the best option to use. Instead, a raw, organic cocoa powder provides real benefits. It uses a higher percentage of cocoa, which is utilized in dark chocolate, to provide antioxidants. It's a plant-based superfood that is worthwhile for the mind and body.
Add Low-fat Milk
Milk is often added to the cocoa powder to create a creamy concoction. Whole milk should never be used. It adds too many calories and more fat than is necessary for most people. A low-fat milk is the better alternative. People can even use an almond milk or coconut milk if they prefer.
Try a Calorie-Free Sweetener
Sugar is often added to the drink packets of cocoa purchased from the store. This isn't needed for a sweet drink. Instead, people can try a calorie-free sweetener to add some sweetness to the otherwise bitter flavor dark cocoa powder can bring. Those who prefer not to use these sugar alternatives can add some organic maple syrup for a maple hot chocolate recipe that's unlike any other.
Skip the Marshmallows
Look at images of hot chocolate and you'll almost always find mini marshmallows filling the top of the mug. Though these may taste great in the mix, they aren't necessary. Marshmallows are full of sugar and not in the least bit healthy. Skipping them altogether will help to keep the calories and sugar content down in the drink. Those who still want some creaminess added to the top can froth up some low-fat milk by whisking it quickly or using a handheld mixer. Otherwise, drinking the cocoa without extra decoration on top is just as delicious.
Hot cocoa is a favorite winter drink for many. Consume it guilt-free on cold days by creating a healthier version that saves on calories. Sugar isn't needed for a perfectly sweet and chocolatey warm drink that reminds you of your childhood.
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