In last weeks Motivation Monday, I proposed a group challenge to make ONE healthy change for the week. So how did it go? Apart from Thanksgiving day, thanks to you and the accountability factor, I stuck to my goal! So, thank YOU.
Apparently, I'm not the only one with a sweet tooth. Like me, many of you chose to swap your evening sweet treat for a piece of fruit. I found that the first few days were a little tough but it got easier as the days went on.
It also got my creative juices flowing and helped me put together a dessert that I can honestly call "healthy". You know, one that tastes great but that you don't have to feel guilty enjoying. Enter: sugar-free hot cocoa. Not the store-bought version, but actually making it from scratch. HUGE taste difference! This recipe is all that you want in a dessert. It's warm, rich, chocolaty, sweet and oh so cozy. Plus, it won't make your pants feel in the least bit snug. Score!
So why is it "healthy"? I'm so glad you asked. First, low-fat or fat-free milk is a great source of protein and vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D. Hello strong bones! Secondly, cocoa powder provides antioxidants, which helps protect cells against free radicals and cocoa may also lower blood pressure. Finally, sugar-free hot cocoa is very low in calories and has no refined sugar. Need any more convincing? I didn't think so.
Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal or Sweet & Low are products that help cut calories, but should be used sparingly. There are no official recommended limits, but I personally try to limit my consumption to no more than 2 packets per day.
....On to the recipe!
- 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder (I like Trader Joe's)
- 5 oz Low-Fat or Fat-Free Milk
- 1 Packet of Sugar-Free Sweetener (I like Splenda)
Mix cocoa powder, sugar-free sweetener and a tablespoon of milk in your favorite mug (very important) until powder is dissolved. Meanwhile, microwave remaining milk until hot. Mix heated milk with dissolved cocoa mixture, stir and enjoy.
I love love love experimenting with hot cocoa. Here are some of my favorite ingredients to add once I've made the cocoa:
- Peppermint Hot Cocoa: Add a drop of peppermint oil. Be careful that the drop is small because this is powerful stuff!
- "Spicy" Hot Cocoa: Add a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or (if you're brave) cayenne pepper
- Vanilla Hot Cocoa: Add about 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract