Iwas walking this morning to my yoga class, watching a fierce wind make two garbage cans dance along the side of the road. I know that we’re already past the first day of spring, but it doesn’t feel anything like spring to me! And though the sun is shining, remember to bundle up and keep yourself warm to avoid early “spring” colds and flu.
Treating yourself to a warm drink is one of the best ways to warm up when you’ve come in from cold weather and also a chance to address cravings without overdoing it on calories and fat. Today, I was craving something chocolatey, so I thought I’d brew a steamy cup of cocoa.
As I watched the milk come to a near boil, and beginning to froth, I thought of things I could add to my plain old cocoa that would make it more flavorful and also add a little boost of nutrition. So I experimented with things that I already had in my fridge and kitchen cabinets to add some pizzazz to my afternoon cocoa break.
Add Extra Nutrients and Flavor – Five Ways to Punch Up Your Cocoa
To make your cocoa “base”, combine 1 cup skim milk, 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and one tablespoon honey or agave in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high, stirring until the cocoa powder is well combined and the mixture is hot.
- Add Some Spice – Add in 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite spice, like freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon, or allspice. Adding spices to your food adds flavor without fat. Spices also have many other healthy compounds that work as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents.
- Make is Sweet with C – Squeeze 1/2 of a fresh orange into your cocoa and use only half of the honey or agave for a sweet flavor combo that also has vitamin C. Eating foods that are high in C – like citrus or broccoli – can help your body protect itself against viruses and infections like the common cold.
- Make it Vital with Vitamin A – I love the taste of carrot juice – it’s naturally sweet and very low in calories compared to other juices. Try adding 1/4 cup of carrot juice to your cocoa – I kid not! It sounds strange, but it’s really delicious! Carrot and chocolate go great together!
- Thicken it with Fiber – Since flax is high in fiber, it also thickens your cocoa naturally. Add one tablespoon of ground flax to the base before heating. While you’re adding fiber, you’ll also get extra Omega-3’s into your diet.
- Add More Heat – Add a pinch of cayenne or other hot ground chilies to your mix. Hot chilis are a great way to warm you up and they have plenty of other health benefits. They are currently being studied for their ability to relieve pain and work as an anti-inflammatory.