+ Well Nourished ⎮Healthy Hot Chocolate (immune supportive)

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Healthy Hot chocolate web (1 of 1)

My approach to raising my kids to have a healthy, balanced relationship with food is firmly centred around education, enjoyment and finding the middle ground. When they were little I was very strict, controlling everything that passed their little lips. I just wanted what was best for them (in those early formative years) and to be honest I wouldn’t change a thing.

However as they grew older and more autonomous, I realised I needed to loosened my control a little. I found as they sought to try all kinds of foods including those I wouldn’t ordinarily buy (at friends houses) – the more resistance I showed, the more they wanted it. I understood, after all I’d raised them to be adventurous eaters who just love food – and love food they do.

So once I could no longer control everything they ate, I took a big step back, focussing on feeding them as much good, wholesome food when I was in charge (99% of the time) and let them make their own decisions when they were out. They have often made bad decisions and felt worse for wear after doing so, but I believe that’s how they learn to distinguish what feels good and what doesn’t. As they grow older, I can see they are very in-tune with their bodies and how food makes them feel because I’ve encouraged them over the years to recognise and name those feelings, which I think is an important skill that many adults struggle with.

Anyhow, back to the purpose of this post – hot chocolate. On one of their first school camps, my kids got to try milo for the first time. They were needless to say impressed, though they also admitted to finding it very ‘rich’ (the word they use for anything that doesn’t sit right other tummy – generally very sweet stuff).

We live in a hot climate so cold drinks are much more appealing most of the year round (my version of an iced chocolate is a favourite and a great way to include avocado). However this winter, we’ve had a few cold days and my kids have taken it upon themselves to invent their own ‘Healthy Hot Chocolate’. They love spices and really crave them in the cooler months – it’s like they instinctively know they are what their body needs to stay well over winter. You can alter the spices to suit your own taste (so if you don’t like ginger, don’t add it), but this is the a nice blend if I do say so myself.

Health benefits
A really great way to move towards a healthier diet is to take foods you or your kids enjoy and add things to make them healthier. So whilst a simple hot chocolate could be just cacao, sweetener and milk, adding spices results in a more medicinal drink.

The spices are all wonderfully supportive to both digestion and the respiratory tract so perfect for winter sickness:
Cinnamon – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, improves circulation, balances blood-sugar levels
Cardamon – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, improves circulation, calming and soothing to the gut
Ginger – improves circulation, anti-inflammatory especially to the gut, respiratory and muscular-skeletal systems
Turmeric – powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and supports liver function (and, therefore, digestion)
Vanilla –  anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¼ teaspoon ginger, ground
¼ teaspoon turmeric, ground
¼ teaspoon cardamon, ground
¼ teaspoon vanilla powder or essence
Sweetener of your choice, *to taste (rapadura, coconut sugar, honey, rice malt syrup, stevia)
4-500ml milk of your choice (cow, coconut, nut milk)

Method

  1. Pop the cacao and spices into a jar or small bowl and mix well to combine. Divide between two cups or mugs.
  2. Heat the milk of your choice. Once hot pour about quarter cup into each mug and stir well.
  3. Add the sweetener of your choice and mix again.
  4. Top with the rest of the milk and enjoy.

* Work towards using as little sweetener as possible. My kids actually enjoy this with no sweetener at all. But if your tribe are accustomed to commercial hot chocolate drinks (even the healthy varieties which I also find are very sweet), each time you make this, work on reducing the sweetener just a little. You can always add more if need be.

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Healthy Hot chocolate

  • Sally Young

    It’s interesting the loosening the reins thing…. this year I have been challenged to do the same thing due to my kids getting older as well as some other issues. Loosening the reins and allowing some of those foods that I wouldn’t have in the past has been a way for me to connect with one of my kids who has been having a really tough time. I think it so important to realise that food is not just fuel or medicine, it is also an important social construct. It worries me that in health circles this aspect of food – social nourishment – is often missed.

    • Yes I totally agree, it’s why I try to share little stories like this. I have met so many kids and adults with a sense of fear and dread about food. The media and like you said the many people trying to capitalise on this fear (by selling diets) overlook the social and pleasure/ connecting aspect of food and sharing its deliciousness – instead focussing on fractionalising it and confusing the hell out of most people with ‘the latest, greatest research’.

      It’s a shame that we can’t all just enjoy real food, all of the time but until the processed food industry implodes (wishful thinking) , I know I’ll just keep trying to educate people (and my kids) to make the best choices they can and celebrate food and what makes them feel good. Thanks for weighing in G x

  • Having spent a day on parent roster last week (in a pre-primary class where the kids are between 4 and 5.5), I realise the benefits of being more encouraging towards the wholefoods. I think 90-95% of those kids had food in packages, so of course, not only processed but full of sugar and not as many nutrients as when it’s homemade wholefood style baking etc. I was astounded. Some of the kids (2/3 of them) would not touch fruit or any kind of vegetable., EVERYTHING in their lunchbox was packaged/ processed. One had white bread with butter and THAT was it … It was probably margarine too … And the rest was bags of commercial “snacks”. This little girl is pallid looking, has bad teeth and is falling behind in brain development and in the playground. There’s at least three that don’t have the same co-ordination or language skills … All three of them had fully packaged lunches and none of that was even savoury. I was brought up without sugar / very little, home made bread, health cookies and told to have an apple if I was hungry after school as I’d ruin my dinner. I’ve decided to not be TOO strict so I can (hopefully) stop that “fascination” towards the wrong things but I’ve tried to encourage the right foods and let my girl understand the “other foods” are in moderation and give the reasons why. Once I hit my teens, I got my freedom and tried all the wrong things and put on weight … But I’ve been smart enough to realise that those things weren’t as nice and have gone back to a “balanced” diet and lost the very little weight I put on. My daughter is really understanding the concept and last term they did a project where they had to put the pictures of the RIGHT food into the lunchbox on the drawing … Some kids apparently DID NOT get it … Very sad. Anyhow, at the end of the day, some of these kids don’t stand a chance as their palate/ taste buds are already honed towards processed foods but your children have been honed differently so understand the difference. As much as sometimes it’s difficult, it’s still worth encouraging. And as you say, they understand that tummy thing when they have “rich” foods. My daughter is nowhere as near as close to the wholefoods as yours are – my partner likes his coffee at cafés and LOVES a pastry with them … Hence, she’s grown quite used to that. He still chooses the more healthy options thank goodness and is VERY strict on what she puts on her skin and in her body. Sweets are very minimal around here but as you mention, need to be there so there’s not that underlying fascination to want to. 🙂 Balance is the key AND education about what it’s doing to the body.

  • To start with, I love the conversation below. I just HAD to let you know … My daughter is forever coming to me to “make things” in the kitchen – whether it be a concoction for her “toys” or “something special” to eat. She loves experimenting. Having had the hot choc recipe post come in just the other day … When she started talking about cinnamon and this and that, I immediately pounced on the idea. I’ve even put some soaking almonds aside to make some almond milk tomorrow. Anyhow, we did normal organic cocoa to start off with (instead of using our block of cocao), cinnamon, turmeric, honey and almond milk (we’ve only got some in a carton for now) – thought I’d tread carefully to start with. She sat there sipping away so I was soooo excited … But she’s actually just brought it over and said I can finish it as I write this … It’s a start though. She likes it. At least she didn’t just throw a whole lot of random ingredients together that taste horrible. Normally it’s baking powder, bicarb soda, salt, flour and spices and then we’re asked to bake it (and eat it). Ha! It’s wonderful to have the inspiration coming through. Thank you.

    • You’re very welcome, thrilled she like ‘some’ of it Brigitte and good on you for offering it. When my daughter was little we used to say when you smell cinnamon it means there are fairies around lol G x

      • And my daughter is soooo into fairies so that one would work with her too. I’ll use that one, thank you! 🙂

  • It is tough seeing so much packaged food in lunches, that’s why leading as an example is so important. My kids have definitely made good impressions on their friends desire to have healthier foods in their lunches. Gx

    • I’m hoping she’ll do the same. Fortunately she’s surrounded by other children who are also “health conscious”. It’ll be interesting tomorrow as her little bestie who she hasn’t seen for a while has turned vegan – through having another family who are vegan that she hangs out with – so I’m sure she’ll be having a conversation with my daughter about THAT. They’re 5.5! I also had the funniest conversation over dinner tonight (I think based on the conversation I had above on here) about how it helped in brain development so she could learn more easily, climb the monkey bars more easily and speak more clearly and she really “got it”. Little steps … 🙂

  • Rochelle Whitty

    Loving this hot chocolate – thanks! 🙂

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