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5 (More) Healthy Hot Chocolate Alternatives | RMHP Blog

5 (More) Healthy Hot Chocolate Alternatives | RMHP Blog



Smart Substitutes for Traditional Hot Chocolate

Winter is the perfect time for big mugs of hot cocoa, but this sugary beverage isn't the healthiest. If you’re looking for a lower-calorie drink without a ton of added sugar, consider these five healthier cold-weather alternatives to traditional hot chocolate.

1. Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa

This frothy, decadent hot chocolate alternative is naturally sweetened, low fat, and dairy-free. It's also both vegan and Paleo-friendly, and you can easily customize the beverage by using your favorite sugar-free alternative in place of maple syrup.


  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt


Combine ingredients into a small saucepan and place over high heat. Continuously stir until the mixture is smooth and hot. Pour into a mug and serve warm with non-dairy whipped cream if desired.

2. Mexican Atole

This traditional Mexican drink is typically made with masa harina (corn flour) vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Other spices such as nutmeg or star anise are often included for an added kick. Many people prefer a thicker, more filling atole at breakfast, and a thinner version for a light afternoon drink. With less sugar than ordinary hot chocolate, atole can also be made with chocolate, pineapple, and savory flavors such as chile arbol.


  • Masa harina
  • Milk
  • Piloncillo
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract


Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Experiment with quantities until you have the desired flavor and thickness. Add vanilla and serve warm.

3. Anijsmelk

Loosely translated to "spiced or star anise-infused milk," this popular Dutch delight is a creamy, fragrant winter comfort beverage. It’s also exceptionally versatile, and you can prepare it with almost any spice you have on hand.


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp anise seed


Place the pan over low to medium heat, until the milk begins to simmer. Add honey and allow the mixture to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove saucepan and strain mixture to remove seeds. Serve warm.

4. Lebanese White Coffee

The name is a contradiction since it contains no coffee beans at all. Instead, Lebanese white coffee is a blend of water, caffeine-free orange blossom water, and sugar. If you can't find orange blossom water at a local store, substitute with alternative flower waters, like rosewater. Add sugar according to taste but, remember, less sugar means a healthier drink.


  • 2 ounces of plain water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • Sugar


Add a teaspoon of orange blossom water per demitasse-size cup. Bring water to a boil and add the desired amount of sugar. Add the plain water and serve.

5. Yuanyang Tea

While many Americans have a preference for either coffee or tea, other cultures commonly combine the two. Typically mixed with either milk or condensed milk and some sugar, the resulting concoction is creamy, warm, and fragrant. You can find Yuanyang Tea at Chinese bakeries, but it's easy to make it at home — just brew a cup of your favorite coffee and brew your favorite tea inside of it.

Ingredients for 4 1/2 cups

  • 4 1/2 cups of your favorite brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup of black tea leaves
  • 5-8 tbsp sugar


Brew your preferred coffee while your black tea leaves are steeping in 4 1/2 cups of water. Combine tea and coffee in a carafe or bowl. Add sugar and half-and-half. Stir and serve warm.