A Smooth Twist on a Winter Classic: The Hot Chocolate Smoothie (yes, it’s warm!)
Who doesn’t love a hot chocolate? I certainly do!
..But what if you’d like less calories and more nutrients? Only with the same yummy chocolatey flavour of course.. can it be done? I’m here to tell you; Yes It Can!
The Miracle That is Cocoa
I’m sure we all agree that cocoa tastes lovely. But did you know that it also has a lot of health benefits?
A study conducted at Cornell University suggests that the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is two-three times higher than green tea, three times that of red wine, and four to five times higher than black tea
)! To top it off, research has found that the flavonoids in cocoa can help increase blood flow to the brain, perhaps even treating dementia! Interestingly enough, more antioxidants are released when the cocoa is heated up, so there’s every reason to sip on that hot chocolate when the temperatures drop!
Drinking your greens
Our fantastic Hot Chocolate Smoothie contains a rather contextually unusual ingredient; namely spinach!
Spinach might not sound like your typical hot chocolate ingredient, but you’ll be glad you put some in there. Just listen to this: Spinach is one of the richest sources of iron among the dark leafy vegetable group, with 100 grams containing about 25% of your recommended daily intake!
Iron is essential for red blood cell production and cellular metabolism, and for a coeliac (who typically struggles with anemia and often can’t handle supplements very well), adding spinach to your diet can be exactly what your body needs!
Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, with 100 grams providing ~400% of daily requirement! Vitamin K plays a vital role in osteotrophic activity aka bone building, and truly does give you strong bones like Popeye!
Even more goodness!
Our wonderful smoothie also contain a healthy dose of gluten-free oats.
You might have read about the benefits of oats in the “Frosty The Snowman Smoothie”
post, or seen the write-up on gluten in oats in our “So, what’s the trouble with gluten?”
page. If so, you’ll know that most coeliacs can incorporate certified gluten-free oats in their diets (Nb: if you’re not sure whether you can or cannot have oats, you should check with your health care provider before you try it!), and for those who do it brings a well of nutritional benefits!
Oats can boast with the ability to lower cholesterol levels, stabilise blood sugar, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent heart failure, lower type 2 diabetes risk, enhance immune response to infection, protect against breast cancer, and protect against childhood asthma. It also contains a lot of iron and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps regulate the gut, and works as a prebiotic which makes it easier for good bacteria to thrive in your gut.
Chia seeds are another great source of nutrients, with massive amounts of protein, fibre, calcium and magnesium!
If you aren’t convinced already, just imagine a delicious warm and chocolatey drink which won’t last a lifetime on the hips 🙂
As I hunted for a super delicious hot chocolate smoothie recipe, I came across a fantastic version at “Move Nourish Believe” I’ve only changed it a little bit, because I wanted it to be extra chocolatey (can’t settle for less than awesome). My husband and I tried a few different recipe varieties, and this one came out by far the best!
- 1 cup fresh organic spinach
- 4 unsweetened, pitted dates (not dried)
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp organic, unsweetened cocoa powder (add an extra 1/2 tbsp if you like a darker chocolate flavour; i did!)
- ¼ cup gluten-free oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup cold water (optional)
- Optional: maple syrup for extra sweetening -Just give it a taste and decide for yourself!
- Optional 2: Marshmallow fluff as a topping!
- Pop everything in the blender except the cold water. Make sure you leave a vent in your blender, as the liquid is hot.
- Give it a taste and decide if you want to add extra cocoa, maple syrup or cold water
Pour into your favourite holiday mug, and sip away!
Don’t forget to check back in for our 7th Christmas smoothie:
A Seasonal Classic; The Gingerbread Man!
This article has been a collaboration between Kristine, and our health expert, Nick.