Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pre-Schooler Hot Chocolate Hack

With over 12 feet of snow falling this winter thus far in Ottawa there have been many occasions where my sweet 3.5 year old daughter has come inside rosy-nosed and cheeked looking for hot chocolate.

Given what I do and my views on sugar and calories, you might imagine that hot chocolate is not on my list of healthy go-to beverages (it's a pretty short list - water).

So what's an obesity medicine doctor to do?

One option which we do when we're out is not care too much - she's a healthy kid, with a healthy weight and a little hot chocolate now and then is part of growing up.

Of course in our home, well things are much more controllable and that's where my wife's pre-schooler hot chocolate hack comes in handy.

It's an easy one.

She uses espresso cups.

Perfect size for my tiny daughter (who also loves the tiny daintiness of the cup) and provides her with a treat that's quite calorie controlled.

So for context, the average "packet" of hot chocolate combined with 6oz of water would contain roughly 120 calorie and 5 teaspoons of sugar. Make it with 6oz of skim milk and now you're up to 190 calories - buy it at Tim Horton's and you've got 240.

My wife's recipe - 34 Calories and piles of cute.

1/4 teaspoon Caotina (crazy rich chocolate drink mix) (4 calories)
1/4 cup skim milk (23 Calories)
5 mini marshmallows (7 Calories)

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  1. I'll go you one better. Ditch the mini-marshmallows and replace them with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

    As a former marshmallow fan, I find this much tastier.

  2. Here's a blog to read, with some passions similar to my own!

  3. Thanks. Now I have a hankering for hot chocolate!

    Interesting site. I'll be checking in again.

  4. Having lost almost 40 pounds, I have become quite good at finding healthier alternatives to some favorite treats. (Much like you did here) This is a must considering all the temptations that are everywhere. (TV, Radio, Magazines, etc.)- Thanks for the idea.

    The Chub Chronicles

  5. I started to do something similar once I started reading the labels on regular powdered hot chocolate mix... words like "hydrogenated" and "palm oil" really turned me off.

    I just take a spoonful of pure powdered cocoa, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon (or so) of milk and mix until glossy. I superheat 3/4 cup of skim milk and add it to the chocolate mixture. Sometimes I'll add a drop of vanilla extract too. Yum.

  6. I'm way past pre-school but I'll take some of that. =)

  7. I like that you understand that kids will be kids and as parents, you need to find ways to allow them "childhood" treats without over indulging! Great tip.

  8. nice blog u have happening! Im glad that food isnt that big of an issue for me (although I should be huge for the amount i eat) from jacq, all the way in Australia.

  9. yay~

    loves hot-choco so much

  10. Well i have also got the same passion for choclates as ur little cute one's.
    One thing i would like 2 say...that childrem grow at their best only ven they r left free 2 do the things of their own.....Issues with nykind of dem can be handled later in life when they grow up nd r a bit mature....

    Please also read my blog Materialistic World...i would like 2 get ur valuable comments for me 2


  11. Good blog and blog content! Keep up the good work!

  12. Very cute!

    I spent a month working with a group of female dietitians last year and I was amazed at how often somebody bought in chocolate cake to share. BUT, it was interesting that the cake was always cut into little bite sized pieces.

    Smaller portions is such a good approach compared with never letting yourself have these things and then hankering after them all the time!

  13. Cool! Very refreshing news!
    Really appreciable! Well i wondered if you are interested in link swap!

    The Tech Thing - Venkat

  14. How ironic, my 3 year old and I just came in from the snow and had hot chocolate, now I'm reading this post. We're trying to eat healthier, and your blog has been an inspiration.

  15. I've been drinking hot chocolate all week!

    One hot drink I love is heated up V8 juice (Don't say EW!) its really good. Especially if you have a head cold. Think she'd go for that??

  16. Anonymous9:44 pm

    You know... it is quite possible and not unreasonably risky to add a pill or two of artificial (non-aspartame) sweetener to a cup of pure cocoa powder (unsweetened, of course).

    Or add some raisins to it.
    (It's wonderful!)

    Or just sweeten it with a teaspoon or two of brown Muscovado or Demerara sugar, for heaven's sake.

    She is not going to get "fat" because of a cup of cocoa now and then.

    Anyway, good luck. :)

  17. Hannah,

    Heated V8 does indeed sound vile but I'll take you at your word that it in fact tastes good.

    Regarding feeding it to my little one - way too much sodium for little bodies. At 480mg per cup that'd be over 1/3 of her recommended total daily maximum.

    Thanks for the comment,

  18. ahmmmm nice blog i dream it must happens in pak

  19. I agree with hot chocolate in moderation. Mmmm I just had my own healthy and tasty hot chocolate with calcium rich almond milk, raw cacao (cocoa powder at it's best and unsweetened) and a touch of agave nectar (the natural sweetener that will keep the blood sugar stable). It is so tasty a totally guilt free.

    And as long as you eat guilt free and stress free your body will love you.

  20. After 12 years of a "sitting-behind-behind-a-desk-job" I decided it was time to make a change. My health was beginning to deteriorate, my blood pressure, cholestrol and weight was on the rise. I changed occupations, working outside rather than inside, I started consuming much more water rather than soft drinks and began eating a healthful diet. I'm sure all the changes has made their own contribution, however I believe the breakfast has had the most impact. Here it is:

    1/2 cup of Old Fashion Quaker Oats boiled in 1 cup of water for a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon each of ground flaxseed meal and raw wheat germ. Both of those ingredients are found at just about any health food store. I then sweeten with 1 tablespoon of natural honey. Mmmmm, good.

    I have much more energy than before and I feel better. My niece turned me on to the flaxseed meal. It is very healthful.

    Here's a link for a google search for google search health benefits of flaxseed meal.

    Besy of luck to you!
    David Tinney's blog.

  21. Anonymous10:34 pm

    It's this kind of mentality that lead me to overeating when I was a teenager, whenever I was away from my parents. They did things like this water/skim milk hot chocolate recipe, that left me feeling unsatisfied and almost deprived compared to what I had at my friends' houses. I think I would have a much healthier relationship with food in my 20s if we would have occasionally indulged in small servings of rich "the real deal" foods instead of poor imitations that led me a hoarding mentality in college.

    I'll never forget the first time I had mashed potatoes made with butter and cream at a friend's house for Thanksgiving. It was such a different experience from the chicken broth flavoring that my mother swore was just as tasty as butter. Yeah, right.

    I'm glad that now that I'm an adult, I can make wise choices for myself that doesn't include deprivation of all things good. Moderation and exercise is the key, not half-rate substitutions.

    Good luck with this.

  22. This is a pretty good recipe. I have a friend that lives an hour from Ottawa ( I live in the US) and he says he ALWAYS wants hot chocolate because it's freezing there.

  23. Oh for heaven's sake. She's 3!!! Give the kid some honest to goodness hot chocolate, made with some whole milk. She needs a certain amount of fats for brain development, and healthy hair and skin.

    I cannot believe that a physician is actually counting the calories of a pre-schooler who is of a healthy weight.

    Like the anonymous poster, my mother rigidly controlled my diet as a child. In adolescence, I had the dubious distinction of being both anorexic, AND hoarding cardboard boxes full of candy and cookies in my closet, treats I would stare longingly at while my weight dropped to 85 pounds on a 5 foot 5 inch frame at the age of 14.