By: Sarah Hussey
The cold air bites our face as we venture across campus. As snow continues to accumulate, all we can think of is warm, delicious hot chocolate; however, hot chocolate can be very unhealthy, seeing as how many prepackaged hot chocolate mixes have lots of added sugar and extra calories. Luckily, there are still several ways that you can still enjoy hot chocolate while staying healthy.
An easy way to make hot chocolate healthier is to abandon the instant packets you get in the store. According to livestrong.com, instead, use unsweetened cocoa for some added health benefits. Unsweetened cocoa contains iron and many antioxidants; it has also been thought to reduce symptoms of depression, since it contains phenethylamine. You can replace sugar with honey or agave nectar to make a more natural hot chocolate. You can use soy milk, almond milk, or any other milk variety instead of dairy milk, if desired. There is also the option to add cinnamon to help with blood sugar levels and ginger to help the digestive system. Additionally, if whipped cream is a craved topping, try a healthier version made from coconut milk.
CLASSIC HOT CHOCOLATE
-Place two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of water in a mug. A teaspoon of vanilla extract or cinnamon can also be added in for some flavor (optional).
-Stir mixture and microwave for 30 seconds.
-Add 1 cup of milk or water and stir. You can also substitute almond milk, soy milk, or other milk varieties here if you wish.
-Microwave for 1:30-2:00, depending on how hot you want it.
COCONUT MILK WHIPPED CREAM
-Refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk overnight. Do not shake.
-Flip the can of coconut milk upside down, open, and remove the liquid that remains on top.
-Beat the remaining solid coconut cream in a large bowl until the cream is light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
-Add 1 tablespoon honey and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and beat on high for another minute.
-Enjoy! You can keep it in the fridge or a few days, but you can beat it again lightly right before you use it.