One of the most iconic parts of this time of year is enjoying a bubbly mug of hot cocoa overflowing with marshmallows and other toppings. The only problem is that same mug can be loaded with calories with enough sugar to put someone into diabetic shock. So what’s the solution? Is it possible to enjoy our deliciously brewed chocolate delight in a healthy way? Maybe!

First off there are some mixes that are healthier than others. Some are vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free etc. There are even mixes supplemented with superfoods like mushrooms and algae that are reported to taste good (we must admit to not having tried these brands but if you have let us know in the comment section!).

There are also lots of healthier versions of hot cocoa recipes online. They vary in the milks suggested and other details but almost all of them have some kind of alternate sugar like agave or maple syrup and use unsweetened cocoa powder as the chocolate. Here is one example from blogger Elizabeth Rider:


  • 2 ½ cups (20 ounces) unsweetened almond milk (OR unsweetened soy milk, oat milk, any other unsweetened nut milk or unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons organic unsweetened cocoa powder (OR raw cacao powder)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup (plus more to taste if needed)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Warm the almond milk on the stove over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Simmer about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine (1-2 minutes).
  2. Heat another 1-2 minutes and serve immediately.
  3. Optional: add a small dash of cinnamon on top and serve.

If using a recipe like Elizabeth’s you should anticipate a darker, more bitter tasting hot cocoa but that can be very refreshing. Plus, the hot liquid alone can help us calm down and reinvigorated to take on the holidays in 2020!

Do you have a healthy hot cocoa recipe? Or maybe you prefer coffee, tea or cider as your seasonal hot drink? We would love to hear about it in the comments section.

Happy Cocoa Drinking!