healthier hot chocolate (plus the secret to making it gorgeously thick!)

hot chocolate

Words to describe recipes that make this Dietitian cringe:

  • Guilt-Free
  • Sugarless/Sugar-Free
  • Healthy

They’re such popular words but I can’t compromise my ethics to use them! Notice how I used the word “healthier” hot chocolate. It sounds pretty lame. A simple “healthy” would probably be cooler. But is hot chocolate really a health food? No, it belongs in the treat category. I’m all for making treats healthier but let’s not kid ourselves… they’re still treats. 

  • Guilt-Free: all food should be eaten without guilt. This emotion should NEVER come into play while you’re eating! If it does, I highly recommend working with a nutritional coach (such as myself, ahem) to develop a healthy relationship with food. When you eat intuitively everything is guilt-free! When you eat intuitively, you begin to choose food that will nourish your body (most of the time) and enjoy treats occasionally!

guilt-free eating

  • Sugarless/Sugar-Free: most of the time when I see this it’s a bold-faced lie. There are naturally containing sugars in a lot of foods. Just because you didn’t scoop any out from a sugar bowl doesn’t mean the recipe doesn’t have sugar in it! If it tastes sweet, it probably has sugar (unless the recipe has an artificial sweetener or stevia as an ingredient). 
  • Healthy: a donut is still a donut. Substituting whole wheat for allpurpose flour doesn’t turn a donut into a health food!  You can make a food healthi-er though. Just like I did with this hot chocolate recipe. 

If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.  

Healthier Hot Chocolate

  • 12 dates
  • 3 cups of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (the secret to thick, velvety hot chocolate!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or powder

 Start by placing your dates in a 4 cup (1 litre)  measuring cup. Cover with a bit of milk or water. Then microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and mash with a fork. Make sure there aren’t any pits that evaded removal. If it’s not completely mashable, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. The dates transform into the most delicious, caramelly goo ever. The smell at this point is intoxicating.

Transfer the goo to a blender.

healthier hot chocolate

Measure out 3 cups of milk into the measuring cup you just used. Again, microwave until hot… maybe 3 minutes or so, depending on your microwave. Pour into the blender. Add the cocoa, xanthan gum, and vanilla extract. Blend for 1 minute. Pour into mugs and allow to sit for 2 minutes. 

Enjoy your luscious, healthi-er hot chocolate!

healthier hot chocolate

Why It’s A Smart Choice

When you substitute dates for table sugar, you get a bunch of other nutrients along with your sugar! Sugar is just food that’s been stripped of all fibre, vitamins, and minerals, so why not make your treats sweet with something that actually provides all of those?  

  100g Dates (about 12) 100 g Table Sugar (about ½ cup)
Fibre 8 g 0 g
Iron 1.02 mg 0.05 mg
Calcium 39 mg 1 mg
Magnesium 43 mg 0 mg
Potassium 656 mg 2 mg
Sugar 63 g 99.8 g

Nutrition Info retrieved from the Canadian Nutrient File database

Healthier Hot Chocolate plus the secret to making it gorgeously thick


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