Let's begin first by noting that I realize this isn't health food, per se. Sure, not having a cup of hot chocolate is better for you than indulging. But we could say that about so many things in life. And when made consciously as a treat and enjoyed fully, a cup of hot cocoa in the dead of winter is a pretty wonderful thing. So I realize these aren't necessarily healthy recipes, but they're better than the store-bought packets for sure, and that's what I was shooting for — getting our household away from those and experimenting with our own versions using natural, whole ingredients. So, without further ado:
5 Healthy Hot Chocolate Ideas
1. Consider Nut Milks: Nut milks are not only dairy-free, they boast a good hit of protein and bring about different flavor profiles which can be exciting to experiment with. My current favorites are almond or hazelnut milk.
2. Use Unsweetened Cacao: Pick up a canister of unsweetened cacao powder instead of store-bought packets. This will prove to be a dark, satisfying base for your next winter mug of cocoa.
3. Consider Natural Sweeteners: Natural cane sugar (like turbinado) is minimally-processed and, therefore, is always a healthier choice than white sugar. You can also experiment with honey, agave, maple sugar or coconut sugar for different layers of flavor.
4. Use Coconut Milk Whipped Cream: To cut back on dairy, think about making a whipped topping from a can of coconut milk instead.
5. Add Warm Spices: Cinnamon helps metabolize blood sugar, cardamom's been said to boost energy, and ginger is great for digestion. In just adding a few complimentary spices, you're doing a bit too boost your body's systems, too.
(Image: Turntable Kitchen)