Hot chocolate doesn’t have to be a naughty
I have loved hot chocolate ever since I was little ó preferably covered in whipped cream and marshmallows.
I was definitely sugar-addicted, but there was a comfort element too. A cup of something warm and sweet when youíre growing up in the drizzly UK is hard to beat.
When I moved to Bermuda, I thought Iíd never be cold again. Itís hard to imagine being freezing in the middle of August ó jeans, boots, jackets, duvets, hot soup ... I thought Iíd said goodbye to them all.
Then came the cooler weather mixed in with a little damp. What is it about the damp that makes everything feel extra cold? On the upside we can say goodbye to the roaches and the ants and hello to blankets on the sofa and the other feel-good factors of winter!
So, hot chocolate came back into my life, but never more so than when I had the kids. They absolutely love it and will whip out the pans on top of the stove to do it themselves. Itís usually Armageddon in the kitchen afterwards, but Iíve been trying to rein in the temptation to do it myself. Theyíre old enough now to do their own clearing up.
Realising that you donít need to be everyoneís personal maid is such a great parenting milestone. Itís probably not so great from their perspective, but at the same time, independence in the kitchen is an amazing thing. Mine love being left to it, even if that means wiping cocoa off the walls too.
Of course, I have a hard time with instant hot chocolate, so the rule in our house is that we make it from scratch. Sometimes they just do a regular milk, cocoa, sugar mix, but Iíve been getting them to experiment with this antioxidant-rich version below.
At nine and 11 they have a better handle on the logic behind healthy eating and, if we can come up with something thatís healthy and still tasty, they are always willing to give it a try.
Approaching something new with an open mind can be hard for kids. They often pre-decide that they donít like something, so Iíve found the trick is to make the objective to experiment and try (so they can make their own mind up) and not get frustrated if they donít finish something or say they donít love it.
Itís true that chocolate IS rich in antioxidants, but itís also often rich in factory-farmed dairy and refined sugar. This version is light on the sugar and uses cinnamon and vanilla to boost the sweetness naturally. The coconut oil helps to make it more rich and satisfying and, as long as you use an extra-virgin option, then itís rich in healthy MCTs (a type of fat that can be good in moderation).
Using a quality, bitter, cacao powder means that you actually get the antioxidant benefit of the cocoa. If itís not bitter, then itís not antioxidant rich!
So, next time itís chilly and you want something warm and comforting, give this one a whirl. For collagen addicts, itís easy to stir in a teaspoon of collagen into this recipe, too. It will add a little protein which is better for sustained energy and you wonít taste it at all. Enjoy!
Antioxidant rich hot chocolate
Ingredients (per person)
1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut or flax milk
Ĺ tbs cacao powder
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (optional)
ľ tsp cinnamon
Few drops vanilla essence
1 tsp maple syrup or a few drops of Stevia
1, Put the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and allow to melt.
2, Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined.
3, Heat through till hot, but not boiling.
ē Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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