Prediabetes Action Plan book available now on Amazon

Get cozy on the couch as you warm up with this indulgent hot cocoa that’s pepped with smooth peppermint and vanilla extract. If you love chocolate and peppermint, this will become your favorite hot cocoa beverage. Melting dark chocolate chip morsels of at least 72% cacao content and using nonfat or low-fat milk, creates a rich hot cocoa that far surpasses any mix.  This holiday classic is a lightened-up version with about only half the calories of regular hot cocoa but still tastes every bit as chocolaty and luscious.

Why use chocolate chip morsels with at least 72% cacao content? It’s good for your heart health. Flavonols found in dark chocolate puts it head and shoulders above white and milk chocolate.  Research suggests these antioxidant compounds may increase vascular dilation and improve blood flow, reducing the risk of heart disease.  It’s believed flavonols work by increasing the levels and action of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring compound in the body that acts as a vasodilator, increases insulin sensitivity, and slows down the atherosclerotic process.

Other heart health benefits dark chocolate provides include lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol.  Studies have shown that consuming about one ounce of dark chocolate a day can reduce blood pressure while it has also been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Besides protecting your heart, dark chocolate has also been shown to stimulate endorphin production – no wonder we always are in a happy mood when eating chocolate! Along with that good news, dark chocolate also contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant in addition to theobromine and caffeine which are stimulants.

Mugs of yummy peppermint hot cocoa

Photo taken by Cheryl Mussatto

Cozy Peppermint Hot Cocoa – Makes 3 one-cup servings

Nutrition per serving: Calories – 170; Protein – 9 grams; Total Fat – 4.5 grams; Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams; Cholesterol – 5 milligrams; Total Carbohydrate – 25 grams; Total Sugar – 24 grams; Sodium – 145 milligrams

Ingredients:

3 cups skim or low-fat milk

4 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of Kosher salt – helps bring out the flavor of the chocolate but can be omitted

¼ cup dark chocolate chip morsels – preferably of at least 72% cacao content

Directions:

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the milk is hot and starting to steam.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in sugar, peppermint and vanilla extracts, salt and dark chocolate chip morsels.
  3. Continue to whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Pour into mugs and garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream if desired.
Categories: Recipes

Avatar

Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Recipes

Apple, Kale, and Spinach Salad

Every fall it happens, as sure as pumpkin spice and sweaters: Apple season. And for many people that may mean an abundance of apple pies, apple crisps, or apple cakes.  I’m a big fan of Read more…

Recipes

Ginger Beef and Summer Squash

Maybe your inspiration to cook comes from pretending to be a top-notch chef at an expensive restaurant. Or maybe you just love whipping up an incredible recipe that not only tastes outstanding but can be Read more…

Recipes

Sweet and Savory Tuna Salad

Growing up, I remember long, hot summer days, eating tuna salad sandwiches with chips for lunch – one of my favorite childhood meals! The tuna salad was the kind mixed with mayonnaise and sweet pickle Read more…

These 10 super foods can protect your brain from dementia and Alzheimer'sGet your copy of Cheryl's FREE eBook now!