Recipe of the Week: Healthy Hot Cocoa

by | Jan 10, 2018 | Nutrition, Recipe

By Nutritionist: Kelly Carter BASc (Hons), CNP

There is nothing better than a warm cup of hot cocoa on a winter day – especially around the holidays! While this beverage can be enjoyed while skating or skiing outside, on long wintery walks or just sitting by the fire, it can pack a serious calorie and sugar punch.

Too much sugar consumption ultimately means too much energy for your body to handle. The excess, unused energy will be stored as fat for ‘later’.

Here are 4 of the most popular hot chocolate beverages that have a serious sugar punch and you might want to avoid if you are diabetic or watching your sugar intake:

Starbucks Grande Peppermint Hot Chocolate: 420 calories with 61 grams sugar (that’s over 15 teaspoons!)

Tim Horton’s Medium Hot Chocolate: 300 calories with 49 grams sugar (that’s over 12 teaspoons!)

McDonalds Deluxe Medium Hot Chocolate: 400 calories with 55 grams sugar (that’s over 13 teaspoons!)

Nestle Hot Chocolate Mix with Milk: 325 calories with 21 grams sugar (that’s over 5 teaspoons!)

According to the American Heart Association the maximum amount of added sugar that men should consume is around 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) and women 25g (6 teaspoons) PER DAY.

Choosing to get a hot chocolate while you are out once in a while is fine as a treat. Making it a regular occasion will send your sugar intake through the roof!

Save on calories and sugar intake by making your own:

Homemade Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Serves 2: 1 serving = 120 calories with 14 grams sugar


2 cups unsweetened- almond milk OR coconut milk

¼ cup cacao (or cocoa) powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or any other natural sweetener)

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Marshmallows optional


1. Pour milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in cocoa powder and maple syrup

2. Bring to a simmer and reduce to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes

3. Remove from heat and stir in extract

4. Pour into 2 mugs and top with marshmallows if desired

You can replace the extract with vanilla or almond if you do not like peppermint!

Looking for more healthy advice or direction? Click here for a free 15-minute nutrition consultation with one of our Nutritionists.

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