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The holiday season is filled with so many magical moments—the first snowfall, ice skating, festive decorations, the list goes on. The season also comes along with an uptick in treats, and if we’re being honest, no cold winter evening is complete without delicious hot chocolate.

While it can be tempting to grab the box of Swiss Miss on the way out of the store, there are better options out there—even when it comes to treats! People often ask me if I let my kids indulge in treats—and of course I do. It’s impossible to eat entirely healthy all the time and I don’t want my kids (or myself) to miss out on all the tasty foods out there. However, it’s important to remember that everything you eat will impact your body in some way. The foods you reach for are either going to help fuel and nourish your body or contribute to issues such as blood sugar spikes, inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and more. 

Enjoying desserts doesn’t always mean you have to eat highly processed foods. There’s almost always a better choice out there. One perfect example (aside from the hot chocolates below) is whipped cream. So many people reach for canned or pre-packaged whipped cream—like Cool Whip—rather than just taking the short amount of time it takes to make their own. While making your own treats might not always be possible, you can still check ingredient labels and choose the product with the best list. Remember that food should be made with food, not manmade chemicals. 

This hot chocolate list is a great example of how we can all enjoy sweets without exposing ourselves to unnecessary filler ingredients. And hey, if you find time to try out the homemade hot chocolate recipe below, even better! By making your own treats you can control exactly what goes into it, which often leads to healthier choices altogether.

Hot Chocolate Choices That Aren’t So Good

Although these hot chocolate brands line most grocery store shelves and are readily available, I’d recommend avoiding them if possible. They’re all filled with ingredients that can lead to inflammation, gut and hormonal disruption, sugar spikes, and more. 

Swiss Miss

  • Contains GMO corn and sugar
  • Contains hydrogenated oil
  • Contains monoglycerides and diglycerides (possible trans fat)

Stephens

  • Contains GMO corn, sugar, and soy
  • Contains hydrogenated oil
  • Contains monoglycerides and diglycerides (possible trans fat)
  • Contains artificial flavor
  • Contains carrageenan

Nestle

  • Contains GMO corn and sugar
  • Contains hydrogenated oil
  • Contains vegetable oil
  • Contains sucralose (artificial sweetener)
  • Contains monoglycerides and diglycerides (possible trans fat)
  • Contains artificial flavor
 

Hot Chocolate Choices That Are Good (Yay!)

These hot chocolate mixes are equally as delicious as the ones above, without the yucky ingredients. 

 

Just Ingredients

  • It’s made by us!
  • It’s packed with ceylon cinnamon, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and turmeric to boost immune function
  • It has no artificial ingredients
  • It has no added sugar

 

Laird Superfood

  • It’s lactose free and is made with coconut milk powder
  • It contains organic ingredients
  • It contains reishi mushrooms for added health benefits
  • It has added natural seaweed derived calcium

Equal Exchange

  • It contains all organic and non-GMO ingredients
  • It’s made with natural cocoa processed with alkali 
  • It’s 73% fair trade certified

 

 

 

The Best Hot Chocolate Choice? This Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup organic cocoa
  • 6 cups organic vanilla almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot
  • Warm on low on the stove. It’s as easy as can be!

Take Your Hot Chocolate Up a Notch

Here are some simple (and delicious) ways to mix up this recipe:

  • Add homemade whipped cream—just whip heavy cream and a dash of pure maple syrup with a whisk (bonus if you add some chopped nuts too!)
  • Try it with mint—muddle and drop in fresh mint leaves for a fresh flavor. If you don’t have fresh mint, add a few drops of peppermint extract to get a minty chocolate flavor. You could even top it with crushed candy canes for a festive look.
  • Add organic marshmallows for a fun and flavorful cup of cocoa.
  • Mix in some hazelnut spread for a rich taste.

The fresh taste of homemade hot cocoa honestly can’t be beat. With just a little bit of planning, you can easily make your own hot chocolate that has healthier ingredients and plenty of flavor. It’s also a much more economical choice for those living on a tight budget. For example, a box of cocoa powder from Costco is $11.99 and will last you several months.

Plus, you can rally some help from your kiddos and get creative with hot chocolate toppings in the kitchen. This makes for a subtle way to educate your kids on which ingredients are better for their bodies than others. It’s also a great way to make seasonal memories together. I promise it won’t disappoint!

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