Tips to Make Your Child’s Hot Cocoa Healthier

With cooler temperatures on the way, who doesn’t want to curl up with a nice cup of hot cocoa? It’s a winter and holiday tradition that kids and grown-ups both enjoy.

But if your child consistently asks for hot chocolate, you might be wondering if this is the healthiest choice. Hot cocoa can contain a lot of sugar, which may make parents wary. Read on to find out our tips on how to make healthy hot cocoa that you won’t have to worry about giving to your children.

Check the cocoa packets

When you go to the grocery store to buy hot cocoa packets, you have a lot of options. You might think they’re all basically the same, but this isn’t quite true. Read those nutrition labels carefully before you buy. You want to look at things like calorie counts and grams of sugar in each serving. Some hot cocoa packets also include an extra boost of nutrition if you’re looking for extra vitamins and minerals for your child’s diet.

Some hot chocolate packets will allow for using either milk or water as well. If your kid isn’t getting as much calcium as recommended, here’s an easy way to work that into their diet by using milk for hot cocoa.

Making hot chocolate at home

Homemade hot cocoa could be a better bet if you want to control everything that goes into it. Cocoa powder is available in the baking aisle of any grocery store. It’s unsweetened, so you’ll have to add your own. If you follow the recipe on the back of the cocoa powder tin, you may be surprised at how much sugar is used in a standard recipe. Of course, you could always reduce the amount of sugar. You could also incorporate other sweeteners if you prefer, like maple syrup.

Calorie counts

The occasional treat is no problem for kids. But if your little one wants hot chocolate every day, you may begin to question whether they should be drinking this delicious beverage all the time. A single packet of hot cocoa usually clocks in at about 100 calories, but this can be higher if you use milk instead of water. If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, you might opt for water. For children over two, substitute low-fat or skim milk for whole milk.

Not too hot!

Whether you’re making hot cocoa the homemade way or via a packet, you want to make sure it’s the right temperature for your child. Test the drink before giving it to your child to make sure it’s not too hot. If it is, you can always drop in an ice cube to cool it down.

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