Hot Cocoa Please, Hold the Whipped Cream

Hot Cocoa
Photo by morbuto via Flickr

On a cold winter day, it feels so good to curl up on the couch and sip a hot drink.  My favorite drinks to sip in front of the fire while wrapped in my favorite blanket are hot cocoa or hot chocolate.  Not only does it warm me up, but it also delights my taste buds and provides me with an abundance of antioxidants.  Yep, you heard me right.  I sometimes drink something besides tea!

Drink for your health

Hot cocoa can actually be good for your health. Researchers at Cornell University found that cocoa was richer in antioxidants than even green tea or red wine.  This is a great finding since antioxidants are chemicals that may help prevent cancer, heart disease and other health problems.  However, that doesn’t mean you should run out to the store now and go on a chocolate binge.  Although a bar of chocolate might be rich in antioxidants, it is still high in saturated fat, which might outweigh much of the health benefits.  If you have a choice between a bar of chocolate and a cup of hot cocoa (the kind made with water), go for the hot cocoa.  It has less saturated fat than the bar of chocolate.

Ways to make it healthier
Hot cocoa can be a healthy treat if done right.  Here are a few suggestions to make it as healthy as possible:

  1. Skip the whip cream: Whip cream can make a healthy drink very unhealthy.  It tends to be high in calories, saturated fat and sugar.
  2. Skip prepackaged mixes: Most prepackaged mixes are high in sugar and almost always have trans fats and other additives that are not healthy for your body.  Instead, try making your own homemade mix of hot cocoa with cocoa powder.  That way you can control how much sugar you put in.  Don’t worry.  It’s not hard and the instructions are on the cocoa powder container.
  3. Avoid whole milk: If you want hot chocolate, don’t use whole milk.  Try using nonfat milk, soy milk, rice milk or even almond milk instead.  These substitutes are lower in cholesterol (or have none in the case of soy, rice or almond milk) and lower in saturated fat than whole milk.

So, go ahead and enjoy a cup or two of hot cocoa this holiday season.  Or any season, for that matter.  After all, when you consume it in moderation, it’s actually good for your health!

Comments (4)

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  1. […] See the original post here:  Hot Cocoa Please, Hold the Whipped Cream […]

  2. Shawno says:

    I was really considering a cup of hot chocolate before reading this. Now, I must have one.

  3. I love hot cocoa. I don’t drink it much anymore because the days aren’t cold enough where I live but just the thought of it makes me think I might want to buy some just to have it around for an unusually cold night or morning.

    Thanks for guiding me to your post from Twitter.

  4. Diane says:

    A cup of hot cocoa….mmmm….satisfies the chocolate craving and fewer calories than a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Thanks for the reminder.

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