healthier hot chocolate (plus the secret to making it gorgeously thick!)

Jessica Penner, RDDrink15 Comments

healthy hot chocolate

Enjoy a warm mug of healthy hot chocolate with the added benefit of fibre and several essential minerals! Sweetened only by dates!

Words to describe recipes that make this Dietitian cringe:

  • Guilt-Free
  • Sugarless/Sugar-Free
  • Healthy

They’re such popular words but I can’t compromise my ethics to use them! Notice how I used the word “healthier” hot chocolate. It sounds pretty lame. A simple “healthy” would probably be cooler. But is hot chocolate really a health food? No, it belongs in the treat category. I’m all for making treats healthier but let’s not kid ourselves… they’re still treats. 

  • Guilt-Free: all food should be eaten without guilt. This emotion should NEVER come into play while you’re eating! If it does, I highly recommend working with a nutritional coach (such as myself, ahem) to develop a healthy relationship with food. When you eat intuitively everything is guilt-free! When you eat intuitively, you begin to choose food that will nourish your body (most of the time) and enjoy treats occasionally!

guilt-free eating

  • Sugarless/Sugar-Free: most of the time when I see this it’s a bold-faced lie. There are naturally containing sugars in a lot of foods. Just because you didn’t scoop any out from a sugar bowl doesn’t mean the recipe doesn’t have sugar in it! If it tastes sweet, it probably has sugar (unless the recipe has an artificial sweetener or stevia as an ingredient). 
  • Healthy: a donut is still a donut. Substituting whole wheat for allpurpose flour doesn’t turn a donut into a health food!  You can make a food healthi-er though. Just like I did with this hot chocolate recipe. 

If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.  

Healthier Hot Chocolate

  • 12 dates
  • 3 cups of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (the secret to thick, velvety hot chocolate!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or powder

 Start by placing your dates in a 4 cup (1 litre)  measuring cup. Cover with a bit of milk or water. Then microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and mash with a fork. Make sure there aren’t any pits that evaded removal. If it’s not completely mashable, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. The dates transform into the most delicious, caramelly goo ever. The smell at this point is intoxicating.

Transfer the goo to a blender.

healthy hot chocolate

Measure out 3 cups of milk into the measuring cup you just used. Again, microwave until hot… maybe 3 minutes or so, depending on your microwave. Pour into the blender. Add the cocoa, xanthan gum, and vanilla extract. Blend for 1 minute. Pour into mugs and allow to sit for 2 minutes. 

Enjoy your luscious, healthi-er hot chocolate!

healthy hot chocolate

why this healthy hot chocolate is a smart choice

When you substitute dates for table sugar, you get a bunch of other nutrients along with your sugar! Sugar is just food that’s been stripped of all fibre, vitamins, and minerals, so why not make your treats sweet with something that actually provides all of those?  

 100g Dates (about 12)100 g Table Sugar (about ½ cup)
Fibre8 g0 g
Iron1.02 mg0.05 mg
Calcium39 mg1 mg
Magnesium43 mg0 mg
Potassium656 mg2 mg
Sugar63 g99.8 g

Nutrition Info retrieved from the Canadian Nutrient File database

Healthier Hot Chocolate plus the secret to making it gorgeously thick


Share This Article


Subscribe for exclusive access to my meal planning hacks ebook!
Smart Nutrition Logo Arrow subscribe

15 Comments on “healthier hot chocolate (plus the secret to making it gorgeously thick!)”

  1. Just made this recipe today to warm up this afternoon after playing in the snow! Was good and the kids really liked it. Definitely a lot less sweet tasting than the powdered stuff but I liked it better.

    1. Good point! I should have mentioned in the recipe that it’s not as sweet. I personally find the powdered stuff overwhelmingly too sweet and don’t really like it at all!

  2. I wouldn’t recommend microwaving anything for consumption, although in college I did use the dorm microwave to quick dry cotton shirts. Lol. I don’t own one now, so I’ll definitely be making this on the stove. So glad to have found this recipe!

    Have you ever blended the dates before heating them? I wonder if doing so would shorten the heating time or just make date goop. Maybe chopping them beforehand would offer better results.

Leave a Reply

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