Healthy Hot Chocolate (3 Ways!) | Dairy Free & Low Carb Option

There’s nothing better during the cold winter months than a creamy, delicious healthy hot chocolate. And, in today’s post, I’m going to share three ways I like to make it, including a traditional hot chocolate (thick, creamy, & smooth!), hot cocoa (lighter & lower in calories), and a hormone supporting hot chocolate (my fav!).

Unlike those store-bought hot chocolate mixes that contain a lengthy list of ingredients, these homemade healthy hot chocolate recipes have minimal ingredients and are actually beneficial to your health.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Benefits

Making hot chocolate or hot cocoa at home allows you to control the ingredients and amount of sugar added. Many of the store-bought hot chocolate mixes contain things like corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and food additives, which we can avoid when making hot chocolate at home.

Additionally, if you’re on a low sugar, low carb diet, you can substitute the maple syrup or honey with a low carb sweetener, such as monk fruit or birch xylitol, making this drink low carb friendly.

And, with homemade hot chocolate, you have the freedom to choose what type of milk you want to use. You can keep it dairy free (like I do) by using almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or coconut milk. Ultimately, with a homemade healthy hot chocolate, you’re able to choose high quality ingredients and control the amount of sugar added to ensure it stays within your dietary preferences.

Low Lead & Low Cadmium Cacao Powder

ConsumerLabs recently published a study that found that many of the cacao powders and dark chocolate bars on the market today are high in lead and cadmium. These heavy metals in large amounts can cause harm to the body, so it’s very important that you’re using a cacao or cocoa powder that has been tested to be low in lead and cadmium.

Cacao Benefits: Cacao has been used for thousands of years by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations as a sacred and magical food due to its many healing and nutritious properties.  Rich in flavonoids, polyphenols, healthy fats, and minerals, Cacao can help improve your mood and reduce inflammation throughout the body. So, it possess many health benefits. However, how and where the cacao beans are grown is very important.

Sourcing: Where the cacao beans are grown and sourced from is very important. Cacao beans grown near volcanic areas are usually higher in lead and cadmium, so you’ll want to find a brand that sources their cacao from non-volcanic areas and gets their cacao third-party tested to ensure levels of lead and cadmium are very low or non-existent.

My favorite brands: After doing my own research, I’ve settled on these two brands – Botanica Origins and Navitas Organics. Both are of these brands get their cacao powders third party tested and have shown to have low levels of lead and cadmium.

Chocolate Bars: It’s important to note that the lower the cacao percentage in a chocolate bar, the lower the levels of lead and cadmium because the cacao solids are what hold the lead and cadmium. So, a white chocolate bar, for instance, should have little to no lead or cadmium at all whereas a 95% dark chocolate bar will most likely contain some levels of lead and/or cadmium. With the traditional hot chocolate recipe we’re making today, I recommend using a semi-sweet or dark chocolate bar with 50-70% cacao (50% is better because it’s less bitter). I personally enjoy the Pascha brand.

Hot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa

A traditional hot chocolate recipe uses both cacao or cocoa powder and actual chocolate. This is why hot chocolate is thicker, creamier, and more decadent than hot cocoa. On the other hand, hot cocoa is thinner and lighter in consistency because it only uses cacao or cocoa powder.

Because of this, hot cocoa is typically lower in calories, which can be a great option for those trying to lose weight but still want to indulge in a delicious chocolate treat. To keep it even lighter and weight loss friendly, opt for a low calorie plant-based milk, such as almond milk, cashew milk, or oat milk.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Ingredients

To make a healthy hot chocolate or hot cocoa, you’ll only need a few simple ingredients.

  • Milk – any type of milk is great! I like to use unsweetened almond milk, but you can also use cashew milk, oat milk, regular milk, or even full fat canned coconut milk for a thicker consistency. If I’m in the mood for a thicker consistency, I’ll use half almond milk and half full fat coconut milk.
  • Cacao & Chocolate – For both the traditional hot chocolate and the hot cocoa, you’ll need either cacao or cocoa powder. You’ll only need the chocolate for the traditional hot chocolate recipe. And, feel free to use a chocolate bar (finely chopped) or chocolate chips.
  • Sweetener – Any type of sweetener is great with these healthy hot chocolate and healthy hot cocoa recipes! I prefer pure maple syrup, but you can also use raw honey, agave, monk fruit, birch xylitol, etc.

How To Make Healthy Hot Chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate or hot cocoa are very easy to make. You can whipped it up in about 5 minutes and batch prep it so you’ll have leftovers to reheat throughout the week!

  • Mix: Add the ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to ensure all ingredients are fully combined.
  • Simmer: Simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the chocolate and cacao powder are fully dissolved into the milk.
  • Serve: Transfer to a mug, add your favorite healthy toppings, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Flavor Variations

While a traditional hot chocolate and hot cocoa are always a delight, sometimes it’s fun to switch it up. Here are some different flavor variations…

  • Hormone Supporting Hot Cocoa – By adding in some hormone supporting adaptogens, such as maca powder and ashwagandha, we can take a simple hot cocoa recipe to the next level. I’ve shared my favorite hormone supporting hot cocoa on the recipe card below.
  • Peppermint – add in a drop or two of peppermint extract to give your hot chocolate a peppermint-y twist!
  • Vanilla – add some vanilla extract to your hot chocolate to give it a vanilla twist!
  • Booziness – for a night of fun, add in a splash of brandy or bourbon!

Watch Healthy Hot Chocolate Video Below

Healthy Hot Chocolate (3 Ways!) | Dairy Free Option

2 from 5 votes
Recipe by Kayla Chandler Course: Breakfast, Snacks, DessertDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes

Below, I’m sharing three healthy hot chocolate and hot cocoa recipes. The two hot cocoa recipes are dairy free and vegan.

Ingredients

  • For the Traditional Hot Chocolate (3 servings):
  • 3 C. 3 Milk (I used 1.5 C. almond milk & 1.5 C. full fat canned coconut milk)

  • 2.5 Tbsp 2.5 Cocoa or Cacao Powder

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Pure Maple Syrup (or honey, agave, monk fruit, birch xylitol, etc.)… add more, if desired.

  • Pinch Pinch Sea Salt

  • 3 oz 3 Semi-Sweet or 50-70% Dark Chocolate Bar (I used 55% so it wasn’t so bitter), finely chopped

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 Vanilla Extract, optional

  • Optional Toppings: dairy free whipped cream, marshmallows, cacao nibs, cacao powder, cinnamon stick, etc.

  • For the Hot Cocoa (3 servings):
  • 3 C. 3 Milk (I used almond milk to keep it lower in calories)

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Cocoa or Cacao Powder

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Pure Maple Syrup (or honey, agave, monk fruit, birch xylitol, etc.)

  • Pinch Pinch Sea Salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 Vanilla Extract, optional

  • Optional Toppings: dairy free whipped cream, marshmallows, cacao nibs, cacao powder, cinnamon stick, etc.

  • For the Hormone Supporting Hot Cocoa (3 servings):
  • 3 C. 3 Milk (I used half almond milk & half full fat coconut milk to make it creamier)

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Cocoa or Cacao Powder

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Pure Maple Syrup (or honey, agave, monk fruit, birch xylitol, etc.)

  • Pinch Pinch Sea Salt

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Maca Powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Ashwagandha Powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Ceylon Cinnamon

  • 3 scoops 3 Collagen Peptides, optional (or any unflavored protein powder)

  • Optional Toppings: dairy free whipped cream, marshmallows, cacao nibs, cacao powder, cinnamon stick, etc.

Directions

  • For the Traditional Hot Chocolate:
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and cacao powder. Whisk until most of the larger lumps are gone. Then, add all remaining ingredients and continue whisking for 4-5 minutes or until the chocolate is fully dissolved into the milk. *Tip: you’ll know the chocolate is fully dissolved when there are not chocolate bits on your whisk.
  • Once it’s fully combined and heated through, transfer to a mug, add your favorite toppings and ENJOY!
  • For the Hot Cocoa:
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and cacao powder. Whisk until most of the larger lumps are gone. Then, add all remaining ingredients and continue whisking for 4-5 minutes or until the chocolate is fully dissolved into the milk and it’s fully heated through.
  • Once it’s fully combined and heated through, transfer to a mug, add your favorite toppings and ENJOY!
  • For the Hormone Supporting Hot Cocoa
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and cacao powder. Whisk until most of the larger lumps are gone. Then, add all remaining ingredients (except the protein powder) and continue whisking for 4-5 minutes or until the chocolate is fully dissolved into the milk and it’s fully heated through.
  • Transfer hot cocoa mixture to a blender. Add the protein powder. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  • Transfer hot cocoa to a mug, add your favorite toppings and ENJOY!

Items Used

Recipe Video

Notes & Nutrition

  • Traditional Hot Chocolate (with 1/2 almond milk, 1/2 full fat coconut milk): NUTRITION – Serving Size: 1 Cup Calories: 370kcal Carbohydrates: 30g  Protein: 3g Fat: 29g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 18g
  • Traditional Hot Cocoa (with almond milk only): NUTRITION – Serving Size: 1 Cup Calories: 119kcal Carbohydrates: 18.5g  Protein: 3g Fat: 4g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 12.5g
  • Hormone Supporting Hot Cocoa (with 1/2 almond milk, 1/2 full fat coconut milk): NUTRITION – Serving Size: 1 Cup Calories: 315kcal Carbohydrates: 20g  Protein: 11g Fat: 20g Fiber: 2.5g Sugar: 14g
  • STORAGE: Feel free to store the leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when ready to serve.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Pingback: THE BEST HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE (3 ways!) | dairy free & low carb option

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