Hot chocolate might not be an obvious choice when it comes to healthy drinking. And, much as many of us would like it to be so very different, chocolate involved in anything is invariably seen as a negative dietary choice.

A must have Winter comfort

But as we progress inexorably into deep Winter and towards Christmas, the hot drinks are more and more comforting and there is perhaps nothing more comforting than a really fine mug of hot chocolate. As the weather cools, the nights draw in and we look towards the festive season, it seems that a mug of steaming, rich, chocolately goodness is our go-to for a heartening, warming beverage on a winter’s night.

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So can we really square this warming indulgence with our health and fitness considerations and programmes?

Of course we can – with this healthy peppermint hot chocolate recipe! Not everything chocolate has to be removed from your diet – in fact, the best way to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle is buy incorporating your favourite ‘cheats’ into your orogram – with this healthy method of creating delicious yet calorie light hot chocolate, you don’t need to deny yourself  your favourite winter treat.

And this is how to make it…

Ingredients:

– 1 cup full fat organic coconut milk from the can

– 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular unsweetened hemp or coconut milk from the carton with 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract to taste)

– 1/4 cup raw cacao powder (cocoa powder is an option but cacao is a healthy superfood with MUCH more nutrition!)

– 3 tablespoons raw organic honey or pure maple syrup

– 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate (camino is a wonderful brand!)

– 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (or more if you prefer) or a few drops of food grade peppermint essential oil

– pinch of sea salt

peppermint hot chocolate recipe_2Toppings:

Whipped coconut cream or my cashew cream topping, crushed organic candy canes, dark chocolate shavings and a cinnamon stick should you prefer.

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add coconut and almond milk.

2. Then add a pinch of sea salt and sift the cacao powder in, avoiding chunks.

3. Whisk up to mix and add honey or maple syrup and chocolate chips.

4. Bring mixture to a light boil, stirring often to avoid sticking and mixing well.

5. Remove from heat and add amount of peppermint extract you prefer.

6. Ladle into mugs and top with some whipped coconut cream, crushed candy canes and some dark chocolate shavings and if preferred, a cinnamon stick.

Yields: 2 Servings

So there we have it. A truly indulgent hot chocolate, an ultimate Winter drink to sink into and be warmed by, and full of classic ingredients.

At every turn healthy alternatives have been employed to ensure this is a wonderfully guilt free drink for you and the family to enjoy throughout the colder months and the Festive season. It may be the season of indulgence, however you need not let your diet fall to floor! Almost every delicious treat has a healthy alternative that you can use to embrace the festive season in a healthy way. Now, enjoy!

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