Hot chocolate is a common treat during the colder months. It’s a sweet and cozy drink to keep the child of winter at bay. However, most premade hot chocolate powders that come in a packet are chock full of sugar, fat, and preservatives. You can still enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after bariatric surgery, so long as you apply a healthier twist to this seasonal favorite.
The Benefits of Making Hot Cocoa from Scratch
Chocolate has several known health benefits, particularly dark chocolate. It’s rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that are good for your heart and mood. Making hot cocoa from scratch allows you to control the ingredients to make this treat a healthier option than its prepackaged counterpart.
You can lighten up your hot chocolate by making a few smart substitutions. You can reap the benefits of cholate by using raw cocoa powder to make your drink. Milk contains a lot of calories, fat, and sugar. Using a non-dairy milk substitute helps address all these concerns to improve the health profile of your hot chocolate.
Using a sugar substitute like stevia can boost the sweetness without the calories, and it’s less likely to upset your stomach compared to sugar. Instead of topping your cocoa with marshmallows or whipped cream, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top for an added flavor boost. You can also top it off with cinnamon to spice up the drink.
How to Make Protein Hot Chocolate
While reducing the calories, fat, and sugar in hot cocoa is a good start, the beverage still doesn’t offer much in the way of protein. You need to make every calorie count after bariatric surgery. Protein is of critical importance, as it prevents muscle wasting and improves your fat-burning capacity. Making protein hot chocolate is simple and only requires four ingredients.
Protein Hot Cocoa Ingredients
You will need the following to make a healthier, protein-rich hot cocoa:
- 1 C Non-dairy milk substitute. Unsweetened almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, or coconut milk are all good options.
- ¼ C Chocolate protein powder (about ¾ of a scoop). Plant-based protein powders offer a creamier consistency than whey protein powders. However, plant-based protein powders aren’t considered a complete protein, as they do not provide all nine essential amino acids. Make sure your other protein choices throughout the day have the amino acids you need if you opt for plant protein powder.
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder may not taste great straight out of the can, but it enhances the chocolatey flavor of this beverage.
- ¼ – ½ tsp sugar-free sweetener. Stevia and monk fruit are popular options, but you can also use sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol.
Making a healthier protein hot chocolate is simple. Start by adding your milk substitute to a saucepan. Whisk in the dry ingredients, and stir vigorously to ensure your hot chocolate is smooth. Thoroughly mixing your ingredients prevents clumps and provides a smoother texture. Warm the hot cocoa over medium heat while stirring lightly. The mixture will thicken into a creamy texture as it warms. Do not allow it to boil.
The following nutrition information is based on one cup of protein hot chocolate using almond milk and stevia:
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 9
- Sugar: 2g
- Sugar alcohol: 2g
- Protein: 25.5g
The bariatric diet doesn’t have to be overly restrictive. You can still have your favorite drinks and foods, so long as you make healthy ingredient choices. Schedule a consultation to learn if you’re a good candidate for bariatric surgery.