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
More Healthy Drinks Recipes
On the search for healthy drink ideas? Here’s a few of my favorites…
- 5 Meal Replacement Protein Shakes
- 3-Minute Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 6 Wellness Shot Recipes to Boost Immunity and Fight Inflammation
- Gut Healing Collagen Drink
- Immune Boosting Vitamin C Drink
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