Guest post by Stacey Mattinson, RDN, LD
It’s that time of the year again! We’re cozying up with warm sweaters and taking time for loved ones. Growing up I spent mornings at the breakfast table and cold nights by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand. While in college it was my best 5 a.m. study partner. Whether by myself or making memories with others, I found that a warm beverage was never meant to be enjoyed quickly – it is meant to be experienced.
Benefits of Cocoa
You’ve probably heard that chocolate is good for you, and that can be more or less true depending on what type of “chocolate” you’re eating. Cocoa is good for you, and the antioxidant benefits of chocolate actually come from the flavonoids in the cocoa bean. Cocoa powder is particularly high in flavonoids. Research indicates these antioxidants can assist in maintaining heart health, decrease inflammation and blood vessel damage, and decrease risk of dementia. Cocoa alone is not sweet, so frequently cocoa is found in the form of chocolate candies, which are high in added sugar and fat. We know that excess added sugars and fats can lead to increased blood lipids and abdominal fat, increasing the risk for obesity. Try this low-fat, sugar-free, protein-powered frothy hot chocolate recipe to reap the pure benefits of cocoa without budging your waistline or your health goals!
1 Tbsp cocoa
8 oz low-fat milk
Alternative sweetener to taste (e.g. Splenda or other)
¼ tsp vanilla
1. Pour milk into a mug with a handle and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds.
2. Carefully pull out the mug and pour the hot milk into a blender*. If your mug does not have a handle use a hot pad holder to avoid burning your hand.
3. Add remaining ingredients to the blender and blend for thirty seconds or until well-mixed and frothy.
4. Pour mixture back into mug and enjoy!
*Note: Option to use a hot beverage maker instead. If doing so, pour the milk into the hot beverage and begin the mixing process prior to adding the dry ingredients. Adding dry ingredients prior to the milk blending in a hot beverage maker may clog your device.
Nutritional Information:122 calories, 9 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate. (using 1% milk and zero-calorie sweetener).
StaceyMattinson is a Registered and Licensed Clinical Dietitian at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Nutrition at Texas Woman’s University. In addition to acute care, Stacey has experience in food service management, nutrition communications, and eating disorders. Aside from her zest for nutrition, she has been a yoga instructor for the last six years. Be on the lookout for her new private practice coming to the Austin area in February 2016, Elevate Nutrition Consulting. For more information on Stacey, go to StaceyMattison.com.