Well, if this isn’t the winter to enjoy some hot chocolate, I don’t know what is! Blankets of snow, wind and ice have covered what appears to be almost all parts of the United States this year—even those spots that rarely see snow or cold temps. Since I’m in the Northeast, I must say that my toes have been cold for months now, so there’s nothing like a hot beverage to warm me up in the morning or evening!

To help you brave this winter weather, we have some great recipes here to keep you warm and cozy, including hot chocolate. While some of you may be concerned about the sugar in hot chocolate, keep in mind that a little bit of sugar can be worked into a balanced diet.

However, you can always reduce the amount of sugar when you make hot chocolate, or substitute it for an artificial sweetener. (As a reference point: an average packet of hot cocoa mix contains about 20 grams of sugar).

TIP:

For those of you following the DASH Diet, hot chocolate is another great way to meet your daily low-fat dairy needs. The DASH Diet includes two to three servings of low-fat dairy per day for optimal blood pressure control. A serving is equivalent to eight fluid ounces of milk or eight ounces of yogurt.

As a coffee drinker, I also enjoy mochas, which can be made by adding hot low-fat milk to your coffee, and then adding a bit of chocolate mix or syrup. But as a skier, I really enjoy hot cocoa.

Of course, for added nutrition, always use milk to make your hot chocolate drinks. To make it a little more interesting, here are some hot chocolate add-in ideas:

  • The all-time fav mini marshmallows are always a great treat, but consider topping your hot cocoa with a tablespoon of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa.
  • For the adults in the house, a tablespoon or two of Peppermint Schnapps will warm you up!
  • Try a teaspoon or two of hazelnut or vanilla syrup for something different.
  • For Valentine’s Day, skewer two strawberries with a marshmallow onto a stir stick and serve with your hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate is such a simple and delicious treat to warm you up during the winter. While you’re stuck inside from the cold, get creative by adding fun ingredients to make your hot chocolate even more enjoyable!