As a child, my grandmother always told me that a ‘hot drink’ was the best medicine for stress and was ‘good for you’. While I wasn’t sure I did believe it; it did make me feel warmer, better, and less worried about menial stressors. As an adult I realized that you do not need a 500 calorie double latte with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle to warm up your evening. There are many healthy alternatives that are just as satisfying and a lot less harmful to your health. They also may stave off cravings for other high calorie foods.
~ Apple Cider: This may bring back memories of a simpler time when cider was always readily available during the colder months. However, it is not only tasty but healthy as well! Apples are a power fruit. They have not only fiber and essential nutrients, but are filled with antioxidants. Two of such are quercetin and phytochemicals. These are showing success in studies to help stave off Alzheimer’s and colon cancer. Cinnamon is the second most important ingredient in apple cider, and also a health powerhouse. This spice improves blood glucose levels making it a perfect drink for those with cholesterol problems or type 2 Diabetes. So, while you’re sipping that steaming mug of hot cider while warming in front of the fire you are not only giving in to a craving you are drinking to your health!
~ Hot Cocoa: A winter classic that doesn’t have to add on the pounds or break your diet. Three ounces of dark chocolate a day has proven to lower blood pressure as well as help your immune system by pumping you up with healthy flavanoids. But, the trick is to make sure to use chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. This is the key to healthy hot chocolate’. Also, use skim or low-fat milk. While you sip your chocolate and let your stress melt away (chocolate also makes your body produce happy’ endorphins) remember that you are doing something for your health!
Healthy Hot Cocoa
~ 2 cups skim milk
~ 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
~ cup sugar substitute
~ 1 tsp sugar
~3 tsp cornstarch
Mix dark chocolate, sugar substitute, and sugar in a double boiler.
Combine cornstarch with water and add to mixture in boiler. Mix till smooth. Simmer mix and add milk slowly. Let simmer for 10 minutes. When mix thickens pour into cups and enjoy with no guilt!
Mammaw’s Appetizing Apple Cider
~ gallon of pure apple cider (no sugar added)
~ 6-8 cinnamon sticks
~ 3-4 cloves
~ 1 tsp nutmeg
In a pot, bring apple cider to a boil. Once boiling add all spices. Bring down to simmer and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Drink up and enjoy!
If you cannot wait until you get home to make your own hot drink you can at least make healthier choices. When out, choose a hot drink that uses skim or low-fat milk. Heavy whipping cream and whole milk add on the pounds. Stay away from flavored sugar shots’ that add hidden calories as well. Go for something simple with no extras and relax while having your drink. It will help you relieve stress which is always a healthy benefit.