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Cold winter mornings require a nice warm drink to help wake you up! 20 Calorie Sugar Free Hot Cocoa will satisfy your taste for chocolate and the need for a warm beverage. Make sure to check the list of add ins below! Add ins are perfect for a little extra kick but still maintain the lower calories you desire.

20 Calorie Sugar Free Hot Cocoa Recipe is ZERO (0) Weight Watchers points as is or 1 point if you add in marshmallows or other “add ins”.

This also makes a great easy blend to mix in powder form only! You can pour the powder into decorative jars, seal with pretty ribbon, and a hand stamped label with instructions to give for the upcoming holiday season. Regardless of what you choose, this 20 calorie sugar free hot cocoa is simple to make and sure to satisfy your need for something “sweet” on the cold winter days.

There is no reason to worry about wrecking your diet with this delicious sugar free hot cocoa!

5 from 1 vote


20 Calorie Sugar Free Hot Cocoa Recipe

Course Beverage Servings 1 Author Melissa Jennings


  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons Splenda Sugar Substitute
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water or Skim Milk milk will increase calories so make sure to account for that
  • Mix together dry ingredients in mug and pour 1 cup water over mixing until well blended. Add vanilla extract and stir. Allow to cool and serve.


  1. Mix together dry ingredients in mug and pour 1 cup water over mixing until well blended. Add vanilla extract and stir. Allow to cool and serve.


  1. Mini Marshmallows (not sugar free)
  2. Teaspoon Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
  3. Teaspoon Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
  4. Mint Extract

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Melissa is a soccer mom who has been married to her best friend for 21 years. She loves sharing recipes, travel reviews and tips that focus on helping busy families make memories.


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18 of Your Favorite Hot Cocoa Mixes—Ranked!

In theory, the idea of drinking hot, creamy, melted chocolate seems almost too good to be true. And sadly, it often is. Most of the mixes in the grocery store are far too sweet to be healthy,and many of the healthier ones taste like someone dropped an old Hershey’s bar in a bucket of swamp water.

That’s why we decided we’d embark on a quest to find the perfect cup of hot chocolate. We’re defining perfect as one that’s both tasty and not totally horrible for you. To find out which cocoa mixes are the best of the bunch, we studied the nutrition and ingredient information of some of the nation’s top-selling cocoas, deducting points for sketchy ingredients and poor fiber-to-sugar ratios. (Fiber helps us feel full and slows the absorption of the drink’s sugar.) Calories also played a role, as did the flavor. There are few varieties we didn’t have the opportunity to sample, but we otherwise conducted a blind taste test of the majority of the cocoa mixes you’ll find below. Read on to discover where your favorite falls in the ranking and learn which tasty varieties will be the kindest to your waistline and health.

RELATED: How to make healthier comfort foods at home.


Great Value Milk Chocolate Flavor Hot Cocoa Mix

Per 1/4 cup: 140 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 2 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Corn syrup solids, cocoa processed with alkali, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides

Not only does this Walmart brand of sipping chocolate contain an entire day’s worth of sugar, but it also has far more chemicals than any one product should ever contain. Like many other hot chocolates on the market, this mix is made with alkalized cocoa, which means the chocolate bean has been treated with an alkalizing agent to balance the cacao’s natural acidity. This reduces the flavonoid and polyphenol content substantially, transforming the potent superfood into something that’s basically void of any notable nutrition.


Land O’Lakes Cocoa Classics Chocolate Supreme Hot Cocoa Mix

Per envelope: 140 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 3 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, mono and diglycerides

Land O’Lakes is known for making butter, and we think they should stick to their specialty. Any drink made with dangerous partially hydrogenated soybean oil (one of these worst food additives in America) and nearly an entire day’s worth of sugar doesn’t deserve a place in your favorite mug, especially when there are far better options on supermarket shelves.


Stephen’s Gourmet Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa

Per 3 Tbsp: 150 calories, 2.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali, corn syrup solids, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan

Carrageenan is sourced from seaweed, and it’s relatively harmless—aside from the fact that it’s known to cause bloat and stomach trouble. There’s no reason to risk a bad reaction when there are options at the market free of the freaky stuff added to Stephen’s not-so-gourmet mix.


Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation Hot Cocoa Mix

Per envelope: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Corn syrup, cocoa processed with alkali, hydrogenated coconut oil, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides

Though most taste-testers gave a thumbs up to this drink’s thick, smooth, and foamy consistency, the flavor wasn’t as on point. “Drinking this was like sipping the milk leftover in a bowl of chocolate cereal—and not in a good way,” said one tester. Maybe it has something to do with all the chemicals that were floating around in their cup? Although this mix has more calories than Stephen’s, we ranked it higher because it has a better fiber-to-sugar ratio. Either way, it shouldn’t be your go-to.


Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa

Per envelope: 80 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

Creamy hot cocoa packed for less than 100 calories? Definitely not horrible. However, the sugar content is still high in this hot cocoa mix.


Swiss Miss Reduced Calorie Hot Cocoa Mix

Per envelope: 35 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, disodium phosphate

Don’t let the low-calorie content of this product fool you. In no way, shape, or form can this cocoa help keep you trim. A study in the journal PLoS One found that acesulfame potassium, aka acesulfame K, can cause glucose intolerance, which ultimately results in confused hormones and weight gain. Not to mention, if you’re going to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, you should really just go for the real deal and truly savor it.


Nestle Rich Milk Chocolate Flavor Hot Cocoa Mix

Per 2 Tbsp: 80 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Partially hydrogenated coconut or palm kernel oil, hydrogenated soybean, cocoa processed with alkali, mono and diglycerides, sucralose

Thanks to the addition of sucralose (the generic name for Splenda), Nestle is able to keep their chocolaty drink to a (relatively) impressive 12 grams of sugar per serving. While scientists have found a connection between sucralose and cancer in mice, the risk posed by overconsumption of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup far outweighs the cancer risk posed by sucralose and most other artificial sweeteners, according to Michael F. Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. What you need to know is that sucralose is the best of the “bad” sweeteners. There are far worse options on the market—and in hot cocoa mixes. As for the flavor, our tasters were fans of the “just sweet enough,” “real dark chocolate” flavor and the “thick and velvety” texture of this supermarket buy. Even so, we couldn’t ignore the addition of partially hydrogenated oils, which is why it falls toward the bottom of the barrel.


Sarabeth’s Hot Chocolate

Per 1/4 cup: 260 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (6 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 5 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Dutch cocoa (code for alkalized)

Three words: So. Many. Calories! It’s actually pretty horrifying that one cup of cocoa could have as many calories as four donut holes, but in the case of Sarabeth’s hot cocoa, it’s 100 percent true! We’re also not loving the high sugar count—and our taste testers agreed. However, a number of sippers did appreciate this mix’s “woody chocolate” and “hot-fudge-esque” aroma. If you’re curious and want to indulge, do yourself—and your gut—a favor and cut your portion size in half.


Christopher Elbow Cocoa Noir Drinking Chocolate

Ingredients We Don’t Love: None

Sure, the ingredient panel is free of any red flags, but our taste-testers weren’t fans of this chocolatey concoction. “This is nothing great. It tastes like milk mixed with chocolate sauce,” one person said. “Smells like stale milk,” said another. There are far better-tasting options—our advice is to skip it.


365 Everyday Value Organic Hot Cocoa Rich Chocolate Flavor Mix

Per 2 Tbsp: 110 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 2 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

Organic and low in calories it may be, but several tasters found this Whole Foods cocoa “bland” and were turned off by its “thin” and “chalky” consistency. One person even went so far as to describe this mix as “atrocious,” while another found the taste to be reminiscent of dirt. It doesn’t get much worse than that.


Godiva Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa

Per serving: 130 calories, 1.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (2 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

A huge hit with tasters, this famous chocolatier’s hot cocoa mix was described by some as having a “rich and slightly bitter taste,” while others found the flavor “extremely chocolatey—like drinking a chocolate bar.” Though some tasters didn’t enjoy this variety’s thick and syrupy consistency, most of our volunteers said that they’d “definitely buy it.” We just hope they enjoy it in moderation, because it’s fairly high in sugar and doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of fiber. If you decide to indulge in this rich, comforting drink, we suggest enjoying it along with one of these tasty high-fiber foods so it doesn’t give you a sugar rush.


Fran’s Dark Chocolate 68% Cacao

Per 4 Tbsp: 180 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 3 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: None

Fran’s earned praise for its rich “liquid Cocoa Puff” flavor but dropped a few slots due to its thin consistency and higher calorie count. We’ve got to admit, though, its fiber-to-sugar ratio is among the best of the lot! Overall, it’s not a bad choice in terms of nutrition or flavor.


Cisse Cocoa Signature Semi-Sweet Hot Cocoa

Per serving: 120 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (2 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 2 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: None

Cisse Cocoa made a good first impression on our volunteers, who commented on its “velvety and creamy texture and “rich fudgy and nutty notes.” However, a few tasters complained that it tasted “artificial” and was “too sweet and syrupy.” Considering it has a whopping 20 grams of the sweet stuff, we can’t say we’re all that surprised. The only reason this ranks higher than Fran’s is that it has 70 fewer calories. In reality, though, they are somewhat tied.


Guittard Grand Cacao Sweet Ground Cocoa Drinking Chocolate

Per serving: 40 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), <1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

No one could seem to agree on this one: Comments ranged from “a nice velvety texture,” “pleasant brownie-lie aroma,” and “really delicious” to “way too thin,” and, oddly, “smells like a Whopper.” Yes, seriously! One thing is for certain, though: The calorie and sugar content is fairly moderate for something that’s essentially liquid dessert in a cup.


Dagoba Organic Unsweetened Chocolate

Per serving: 90 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (4 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 3 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: none

None of our testers could get on board with this unsweetened chocolate spiced cacao powder. One sipper said the drink tasted like “a combination of sand, crayons, and cocoa.” Ouch! Its brag-worthy nutrition facts and ingredient list don’t mean a thing if no one can stomach the taste, which is why we dropped it a few slots on our list.


Starbucks Classic Hot Cocoa

Per 2.5 Tbsp: 120 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

Starbucks got dinged for being “chalky,” “bland,” “slightly salty,” and “bitter.” But a number of the testers were fans of the “just right combination of flavors,” which spanned the sweet, bitter, and smoky spectrums. As far as the nutrition facts go, they’re actually fairly good, which is why we gave it such a high-ranking spot on our list.


Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa

Per envelope: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), <1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: Cocoa processed with alkali

Among the higher ranking hot chocolates on this list, this one is arguably the easiest one to find. This is great news because 100 calories for a cup of cocoa is an impressive stat—way to go, Swiss Miss! Testers’ taste buds enjoyed this mix, too. For many, Swiss Miss’ Simply Cocoa tasted “just sweet enough” and had a “very pleasant chocolaty flavor” reminding some of “warm chocolate milk.” This cocoa possesses a “delightfully milky” texture that many felt would please kids and adults alike.


Sillycow Farms Hot Chocolate

Per 2 Tbsp: 100 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (2 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients We Don’t Love: None

Phrases like “chocolate heaven,” “A+” and “perfect for a cold day” were used to describe this low-calorie, rich hot cocoa. Testers noted that Sillycow’s sippable chocolate was more of “an adult beverage” than its contenders, thanks to its “amazing velvety consistency.” Almost all our testers agreed that it is “definitely worth a purchase.”

Eat This! Tip

Strange but true: Your hot chocolate will taste and smell sweeter if you serve it in warmly toned mugs instead of plain white or stark red, according to European scientists. In what may have been the easiest volunteer experiment ever, 57 people had to drink hot chocolate served in four different types of cups. They were all plastic and the same size but were either white, cream, red, or orange with white inside. The tasters reported the chocolate tasted better in the cream-colored and orange cups. This adds to the growing set of studies that claim the vessel in which our food is served can have a dramatic effect on the way our senses perceive the food.

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

Low Calorie Hot Chocolate (Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free)

This is a yummy, healthy, homemade hot chocolate. With just 3 ingredients, it can’t get any easier to make. Plus it’s sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and Paleo! Each serving has only 60 calories, 5 grams of fat and 2 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Prep Time: 5 minutes


1 cup Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Breeze (Almond Coconut Blend, 40 calorie/cup) or your favorite, see shopping tips

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa. I like Ghirardelli, Droste or Scharffen Berger), see shopping tips

1½ packages of Truvia, Stevia, Splenda or your favorite sugar substitute, add more to taste


1. Microwave: Add almond milk to a mug. Heat in microwave until very hot. Stir in cocoa and sweetener. Mix well until cocoa is completely dissolved. If desired, once mixed pour into a blender and whip for 20 seconds. This makes it frothy good like at a coffee house!

2. Stove Top: In a small pot, add all ingredients. Using a whisk, fork or spoon, stir together while heating over medium heat. Continue to mix while heating until cocoa is dissolved. If desired, once hot, pour into blender and whip for 20 seconds.

Make 1 serving

Shopping Tips
Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Breeze (Almond Coconut Blend) can be found in most supermarkets in the refrigerated section near the milk. I also buy it at Target. It’s so yummy and has only 40 calories per cup! Or use your favorite unsweetened, non dairy drink such as vanilla almond or vanilla coconut milk.

Be sure to buy a good quality, unsweetened cocoa. I like ones like Ghirardelli, Droste or Scharffen Berger. For gluten-free, use brands such as Scharffen Berger or Hershey’s dark. These cocoa’s are usually found in the baking aisle near the chocolate chips.

WW Freestyle SmartPoints 2-Blue
WW SmartPoints 2-Green
WW Points Plus 2

SKINNY FACTS:1 (12 oz) serving
60 calories, 5g fat, 2g sat. fat, 0mg chol, 2g prot, 5g carbs, 1g fiber, 120mg sod, 1g sugar

10 Healthy & Hot Drinks To Keep You Warm This Winter

The winter months were made for mugs full of hot chocolate and eggnog, but those drinks aren’t always the best for your health. You can only drink so much cocoa, especially if you aren’t Santa, you know?

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to your favorite hot drinks, there are plenty of options that will keep you toasty this winter without also packing on the calories, all while helping to ward off colds and flus.

Try any of these 10 recipes for a healthier version of your wintertime favorites.

1. Almond & Maple Hot Chocolate

Made with almond milk and maple syrup, this is sure to be a treat that’s just as sweet as the real deal, but it happens a little healthier. Get the recipe.

Feel Great In 8

2. Warm Spiced Coconut-Almond Milk

Ginger, almond milk and coconut oil combine for a drink that’s just as comforting as it is cozy. Fight off the cold with this warm drink. Get the recipe.

Health Bites

3. Hot Lemon Water

Hot lemon water has subtle flavor but is great for the body. Hot water and lemon are said to flush the liver and kidneys of toxins. Sure sounds like a great way to stay hot and healthy to me. Get the recipe.


4. Ginger Tea

Ginger has tons of healing properties, so starting your day off with a warm cup of ginger tea seems like a great idea, especially during the peak of cold season. Get the recipe.

Image: Shape

5. London Fog

Earl Grey tea is a major ingredient in this recipe. It has healing properties as well as a boost of caffeine, so you may want to try this in place of your cup of joe in the mornings. Get the recipe.

Free People Blog

6. Apple Cider With Cinnamon

You know what they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” So, why not put that to the test by drinking a warm cup of apple cider on cold days? Don’t mind if I do. Get the recipe.


Image: Shape

7. Russian Tea

Cloves, cinnamon, tea and juices combine for a super flavorful warm beverage. There are powdered recipes for this drink, but making it with natural juices is better for your health. So, give this version of Russian tea a try for a healthy alternative. Get the recipe.

DIY Natural

8. Hot Vanilla Chai Tea

The spices in chai tea have tons of health benefits, and it has less caffeine than coffee. If you’re looking to cut back on calories and/or caffeine, a chai tea is the way to go. Hot, healthy and delicious coming right up! Get the recipe.

Mom On Timeout

9. Sage Tea

Not only is sage is said to be good for brain function, but this recipe for sage and thyme tea also sounds incredibly delicious. So, that’s a win in my book. Get the recipe.


10. Dandelion Latte

Herbal dandelion root tea is combined with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon for a flavorful, healthful drink. Get the recipe.


Stay warm and healthy this winter with these drink recipes because cold season doesn’t have to get the best of you!

10 Low-Calorie Starbucks Drinks


Sip, and savor, these healthier treats.

By Asia Bradlee· 8/15/2019, 11:24 a.m.

Read all about the latest gym openings, healthy events, and fitness trends in our twice weekly Wellness newsletter.

Illustration via Getty Images/Kraska

Infamous for their pumpkin spice lattes and sucking your wallet dry, there’s no denying that Starbucks can be one of the best guilty pleasures.

Their menu is big and there always seem to be new options popping up. While this is great for our taste buds, it’s not always great for our health. With so many options, it can be hard to know which drinks are better choices than others. Luckily, Starbucks lists all their nutrition facts online and it is easy to mix and match menu items to make healthier alternatives of your favorite drink order.

Treating yourself to a not-so-healthy drink every once in a while is essential for maintaining a healthy balance in life, but when it comes to your daily caffeine fix, it’s important to choose a drink that’s on the lower side for calories, sugar, and fat.

To help guide you on your next Starbucks trip, we put together a list of low-calorie Starbucks drinks.

*All nutrition information is based on Grande drinks and 2% milk, unless specified*

1. Black Hot Coffee or Iced Coffee

Start simple. These two beverages are as simple as coffee gets. They have 0-5 calories and zero sugar, fat, or carbs. If you need some milk and sugar, add your milk of choice and try to stick to one packet of sugar.

2. Caffé Americano

If you need your espresso fix, an Americano is the way to go. It’s like black coffee, except made by mixing espresso shots with hot water. You can treat an Americano like regular coffee, adding in the milk and sugar of your choice.

3. Cappuccino

Cappuccinos have more foam than milk as compared to a latte, which makes them a lighter choice at 120 calories and 10 grams of sugar from the milk. Because of the milk, there’s also an additional eight grams of protein.

4. Nitro Cold Brew with Sweet Cream

Despite being made with a vanilla sweet cream top, this drink contains only 70 calories and four grams of sugar. It does, however, contain 18% of your saturated fat intake (3.5 grams) so just be wary of that.

5. Iced Blonde Flat White

Blonde espresso, which has a smoother taste than regular espresso, is mixed with milk for the perfect iced coffee. According to Starbucks it’s “not too strong, not too creamy, but just right.”

6. Iced Latte Macchiato

Macchiatos contain two shots of espresso layered in between milk and milk foam, as opposed to a latte or cappuccino which contain only one shot of espresso. These are naturally sweet from the milk and contain no additional sweeteners.

7. Iced Blonde Vanilla Bean Coconut Latte

For a dessert-like treat, this drink is on the lower side for calories (120) and sugar (14g). The drink is made by mixing coconut milk and vanilla bean powder with ice, then topping it with a shot of blonde espresso.

8. Shaken Iced Green Tea

This drink is lightly sweetened and is a mix of lemongrass, mint, and lemon verbena. If you don’t want it too sweet, you can always ask for it unsweetened.

9. Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refresher

This is one of the lowest in sugar for the Refreshers drinks, containing only 14 grams. It’s mixed with fruit juice and real blackberries with the addition of Green Coffee extract for a boost of energy.

10. Brewed Tea

Starbucks has a lot of tea options, but many of them are loaded with sugar. If you want tea, your best bet is to go with freshly brewed, unsweetened tea that’s hot or iced.

I enjoy hot drinks throughout the year, but come winter time I can’t get enough. I find they not only keep warm, but they keep me from snacking and even can satisfy my sweet tooth. Ok sometimes I include a piece of dark chocolate with my tea, but that is still better than a bottomless bag of cookies.

My standby hot drink to keep my hands warm is a selection of herbal, black and green teas, but when I want something with a little more substance to replace my coffee in the morning or an afternoon pick me up or a late night treat I look to these 5 recipes for a sweet treat that feels indulgent, but also comes with extra nutrients.


I love myself a good spicy chai tea with milk and honey. I also add extra ginger and black pepper to any blend, which I love for taste, but is also quite healthy. In this recipe we get an extra boost from a little bit of healthful pumpkin puree. Fiber and vitamins will fill your mug. You can even keep it caffeine free with a rooibos tea blend.


One of my favorite drinks to enJOY in Israel, but when you make it at home you can control the amount of sugar and add even more toppings. This drink can be made with any kind of milk, the thickening comes from the cornstarch, so keep it lighter or heavier based on the milk you choose. Same with the toppings, cover it with nuts and even dried fruits when you want it as a satisfying snack, or limit it to cinnamon and coconut for fewer calories.


Turmeric and ginger and have been found to both decrease inflammation. This is a great mix you can prepare in advance and add to your daily routine. Keep it light with almond milk and let it reduce your pain.


A simple hot cocoa with the added health benefits of extra cinnamon is our answer to your chocolate fix. Low calorie and very satisfying, this hot cocoa will help get you through cold nights without affecting your waistline.


Because I know you love chocolate as much as I do, I had to share one more hot cocoa that actually uses bone broth!!! I know it sounds crazy and you have to make the bone broth, but it is super healthy and a nice different way to include it in your diet.

Read more about the health benefits of bone broth here.

If you’re not quite ready for a chocolate bone broth drink then get our SUPERFOOD HOT COCOA recipe when you subscribe to our newsletter, right here.

If you’re trying to avoid unhealthy sugary flavored lattes for diet and health, try a homemade low-calorie hot drink instead. These five warm beverages are super easy to make and can help you beat seasonal blues or soothe a scratchy throat. As bonuses, you probably have most of the ingredients already, and making drinks at home will save you some money at the pricey coffee shop.

1. Twisted hot chocolate

Just pour out the packet and add water, right? Not quite: A few additions raise the bar on this classic. Pour 1 cup of nonfat milk (almond, goat, cow, soy, coconut…) into a mug and microwave it for 1-1/2 minutes. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, no more than 3 packets of artificial sweetener and a drop each of vanilla and peppermint extract. Stir. Sip. And, while you’re taking it in, think about substituting cinnamon, chili or cayenne powder or citrus zest for the peppermint next time. (It may be a long winter.)

Cocoa flavanol (a naturally occurring antioxidant) reduced mental tiredness and improved minor cognition in a trial published in 2015. And a study article in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that regularly consuming small amounts of cocoa could be a strategy for lowering blood pressure. Look for cocoa mixes listing dark chocolate as the first ingredient.

2. Apple soy chai latte

A homemade chai tea concoction that rivals a barista pro’s? No problem. Steep chai tea for 5 to 10 minutes; meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm 1 cup of light vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup of apple cider, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring until foamy. Add the tea to the pan and mix. Pour into a large mug, and garnish with cinnamon stick. Voilá!

While you can make this sans cinnamon, you may not want to skip it. Cinnamon has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.

3. Spiced apple cider

Hankering for a sweet treat without the comfort carbs? This drink is as easy (and as tasty) as apple pie. Simmer 1 quart of apple cider with orange zest, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks — plus any typical pie spices, like allspice, nutmeg, cloves, even ginger — in a large pot for 5 minutes. Your kitchen will smell divine — and it’s only 100 calories per cup.

Apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant that can help ward off neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Other evidence supports a possible therapeutic role for quercetin in the treatment of hypertension.

4. Pear and spice almond milk

While this warm smoothie sounds fancy, it couldn’t have a much plainer recipe. Simply high-speed blend a cored pear, vanilla-flavored sweetener (to taste) and 1 cup of almond milk. Pour the mix into a mug, microwave and sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Everybody knows pears have a peel — wash it, but don’t remove it. Eating skins avails you of the vitamins and minerals concentrated just below the surface. According to recent research supported by the Pear Bureau Northwest, fresh pear consumers ate more potassium, vitamin C, copper, magnesium and dietary fiber than non-fresh pear eaters. The average pear provides about 24 percent of the daily value of fiber. Fiber works to prevent many chronic diseases and can aid in diabetes management.

5. Turmeric and ginger tea

This feisty brew is sure to tease out your oomph and counter winter ho-hum — perhaps clear your sinuses too. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric and ground ginger, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in a splash of low-fat milk and strain the tea into a cup. To balance out the slight bitterness and pungency of the spices, add sweetener, honey or maple syrup to taste.

The medically active component from turmeric, curcumin, has been widely used to treat inflammation. Ginger can help alkalize your body (i.e., even out your pH level) to support organ health and overall wellness.


With their sense-stimulating and organ-supporting effects, these drinks give new meaning to the term “mood food.” Let them comfort and nourish you. You deserve it.

About the author:

Jennifer G. Kirker is a writer/editor based in and around New York City. By day, she copywrites pharmaceutical marketing materials. By night, she crafts blog entries and stories for her young daughter. She cooks, explores new neighborhoods and binges TV series for fun.

9 Hot Starbucks Drinks That Are 100 Calories or Less

There’s nothing better than sipping a hot Starbucks beverage on a crisp fall morning. And since the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, it’s officially time to transition from iced teas to piping hot lattes. We love PSL season—especially because it means peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes are right around the corner—but the fall and winter months can mean a lot more calories if you’re not careful.

With so many flavorful teas and cold brew coffees to choose from in the summer, it’s easy to find iced Starbucks drinks under 100 calories. But with the introduction of so many tasty holiday syrups and flavors—caramel brulée, anyone?—we often find ourselves consuming hundreds of extra calories a day without really thinking about it. For example, a grande pumpkin spice latte contains just under 400 calories, and a venti PSL with whole milk will put you right around 520—which can add up fast if you hit the drive-thru every day.

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While we fully support the occasional indulgence, some days we’re in the mood for a healthier option. Luckily, there are tons of under-100-calorie hot fall beverages you can swap in on the days you don’t want to splurge on a sugary drink. We’ve rounded up our favorite low-cal beverages so you’ll be prepared for your next morning coffee run. Grab one of the new reusable Starbucks Halloween cups and fill it with one of these piping hot drinks.

If you need a refresher on Starbucks’ non-traditional sizing, here’s how much you’ll get for each size: There are 8 ounces in a short, 12 ounces in a tall, 16 ounces in a grande, and 20 ounces in a venti.

1 London Fog Tea Latte with Almond Milk

This latte combines Teavana black tea, bergamot essence, lavender flowers, and milk to create a fresh take on the classic Earl Grey. It’s typically made with 2% milk, but you can save a few calories by swapping in almond or coconut milk instead.

Short: 70 calories

Tall: 100 calories

2 Flat White with Almond Milk

The flat white is made by mixing espresso shots with steamed milk for a creamy, frothy warm drink that packs a big punch of caffeine. Ask for almond milk instead of the traditional whole milk for a lighter and smoother beverage.

Short: 50 calories

Tall: 70 calories

Grande: 100 calories

3 Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea

Go ahead and order a venti, because this tea has zero calories across the board. The jade citrus mint green tea is made with spearmint leaves, lemon verbena, and lemongrass for a bright and refreshing taste. Mint tea can help settle an uneasy stomach—so if you’re not a regular breakfast eater, this is a good drink to pick up on the way to work.

Short: 0 calories

Tall: 0 calories

Grande: 0 calories

Venti: 0 calories

4 Matcha Green Tea Latte with Coconut Milk

This latte typically has more than 100 calories, but you can shave off a few by sizing down and asking for it to be made with coconut milk. The sweetness of the coconut milk pairs even better with the matcha flavor.

Short: 80 calories

5 Blonde Caffe Americano

The Americano is made by pouring hot water over espresso shots to create a light layer of frothy crema on top of the drink. It’s great for black coffee drinkers who are looking for a little something extra—and at just 15 calories for a venti, it’s one of our favorite low-cal ways to get our daily caffeine boost.

Short: 5 calories

Tall: 10 calories

Grande: 15 calories

Venti: 15 calories

6 Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte with Almond Milk

This decadent latte starts with a mixture of vanilla bean powder and frothed coconut milk, which is topped with hot espresso. It’s delicious with the default coconut milk, but you can shave off a few extra calories by requesting frothed almond milk instead.

Tall: 70 calories

Grande: 90 calories

7 Chai Tea Latte with Almond Milk

The chai tea latte is notoriously high in sugar (and calories), but there are a couple ways to make it healthier. Swap in almond milk, rather than the traditional 2% for a short that’s under 100 calories—and save even more by asking for one less pump of chai syrup.

Short: 90 calories

8 Rev Up Wellness Brewed Tea

This blend of black, oolong, and green teas was designed to help boost your metabolism—and the addition of mango, apricot, peach, and marigold flavors makes it taste incredible. Since the tea contains zero calories, order any size!

Short: 0 calories

Tall: 0 calories

Grande: 0 calories

Venti: 0 calories

9 Caramel Macchiato with Coconut Milk

This combination of steamed milk, vanilla syrup, espresso, and caramel drizzle is seriously decadent—but don’t count it out of a low-cal lifestyle! Order a short and ask for it to be made with coconut milk for a drink that’s exactly 100 calories—or splurge a little, we won’t tell!

Short: 100 calories

Sweet & creamy hot chocolate with a fun holiday flavor option. You only need 4 ingredients & 5 minutes to make it, and it’s just 35 calories!

Before hopping in the shower one day early last week, I flipped on the heater that corresponded to the bedroom section of the house. After finishing, I grabbed a snack and sat down at my desk to answer a few emails before dashing out to Target for pumpkin purée (for this amazing pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving!) and head to a Girls Night. Since our gas and electricity bill is already high enough because of how often I bake, I turned the heater back off before leaving the house.

After an incredibly fun evening of munching on the best crispy house-made potato chips at a cute restaurant, giggling through the recently released “Love the Coopers” movie at the theater, and chatting with both old and new friends, I finally arrived home eight hours later and switched the heater back on so I wouldn’t freeze while doing a little work before bed.

Ten minutes later, I stood up and planted my feet right under the vent in the ceiling. Looking up, I felt nothing. No hot air blowing, no cold air blowing… Just nothing.

The following evening, the repairman tinkered around with it before announcing that the heater’s motor had broken, and he would install a new one for us when the replacement part arrived the following week. He also showed us how to start the heater by hand in the meantime while we waited for him to return.

Because I didn’t want to risk numb fingers and toes, we pulled a few little space heaters out of storage that day, and I wore as many layers—shirts, sweaters, scarves, even beanies—as needed to stay warm. I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold!

But the silver lining of the broken heater debacle was that it provided the perfect excuse to drink lots of this 35-Calorie Hot Chocolate! Between both the classic plain and festive peppermint versions, we washed plenty of mugs over the past week… And I foresee many more in the near future!

This recipe is beyond easy. You just need 4 ingredients, most of which you already stash in your pantry and fridge. Even better, it’s ready in only a few minutes and costs a lot less than driving over to the coffee shop to get your holiday hot chocolate fix!

This simple hot chocolate begins with unsweetened cashew milk. It has just 25 calories per cup and a thicker consistency than regular dairy-based milk, as well as soy and almond milks, which makes it perfect for hot chocolate (and this homemade pumpkin spice coffee creamer, too!). Its creaminess makes the hot chocolate taste a little more decadent, almost like it’s made with a hint of real cream!

The most important ingredients are the cocoa powder and the vanilla crème stevia. You can’t have hot chocolate without some sort of chocolate and sweetener! Cocoa powder provides the rich chocolaty taste for a fraction of the calories of melted chocolate, so you’ll use 1 full tablespoon in each serving.

As for the other ingredient, vanilla crème stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that’s really concentrated. A little goes a long way! It comes in a small glass bottle with an eyedropper, and you can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, as well as online. I love the SweetLeaf brand because of its warm vanilla flavor.

Tip: You’ll also use the same vanilla crème stevia in these recipes of mine!
♥ Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte
♥ Skinny Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
♥ Skinny Gingerbread Latte
♥ Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
♥ The Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pie
♥ Cinnamon Roll Almond Butter
♥ Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
♥ and more!

So now, all that’s left to do is whisk those ingredients together in a small saucepan—plus a few drops of peppermint extract, if you want a festive holiday version!—and warm them over medium-low heat. Try your best to incorporate as much of the cocoa powder as possible before turning on the stove, but any lingering tiny clumps will dissolve in the hot milk. Then…

Pour yourself a mug and enjoy!

35-Calorie Hot Chocolate 4.8 from 4 reviews

Yields: 2 cups This hot chocolate is so easy to make! It’s sweet, creamy, and perfect for chilly winter days. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled to serve more!

  • 2 cups (480mL) unsweetened cashew milk
  • 2 tbsp (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 12 drops vanilla crème stevia, or to taste
  • 3 drops peppermint extract (optional)
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan, and whisk together until the cocoa powder is mostly incorporated. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until warmed through. Pour into mugs and enjoy.

Notes: Any milk or sweetener may be substituted for the cashew milk and vanilla crème stevia.
{gluten-free, vegan, clean eating, low calorie, sugar-free} 3.2.2925

View Nutrition Information

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12 best hot chocolates

The most delicious hot chocolate needs to be savoured. Your hands should feel its warmth as it seeps through the mug. Your nose must breathe in its rich cocoa aroma and your tastebuds will want to savour its smooth molten chocolatey deliciousness.

But not all hot chocolates are equal. Some are not worthy of this tasting ceremony.

We’ve rounded up some of the best hot chocolate drinks around. Only the creamiest tastiest cups of liquid heaven feature here. So that no one feels left out, we’ve included some yummy vegan and dairy-free options too. And, surprisingly, a couple of sugar-free versions have made the list, too.​

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Chulucanas Hot Chocolate, 200g: £5.99, Willie’s Cacao

The purest, finest chocolate

Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s mission in life is to produce the finest, purest chocolate. His Chulucanas Hot Chocolate powder is made from two ingredients: Peruvian single estate 50 per cent dark chocolate powder and Barbados raw cane sugar, that is it.

As advised, we made this with full-fat milk. We also tried it with semi-skimmed, but the full-fat gives it that extra creamy kick. It’s only just over a fiver, too.

For vegans, this powder is just as tasty with oat milk and with almond milk, although in both cases it isn’t quite as creamy. With almond milk, the nutty flavour does come through, but that’s no bad thing.

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Chocolat Chaud, 1l: £6.95, Paul

Just pour and heat

This is as close as you will get to an authentic chocolat chaud served up in a Parisian tearoom and it tastes the same as the rich molten chocolate drink that you can order at any cafe in the Paul patisserie chain.

This ready-made, pour-and-heat drink comes in a 1 litre carton, which is enough for about four mugs. It works out at about £1.75 a serving, so it’s not a budget buy, but it is a rich, creamy almost instant chocolate treat.

Before opening, you can store it in your kitchen cupboard so it’s always on stand-by.

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Raw Organic Cacao Hot Choc, 100g: £4, Green Goddess

Vegan, organic and gluten-free

Vegan, organic and gluten-free, this chocolate drink is high in iron and magnesium, and made from just three ingredients: raw Peruvian cacao powder, natural sweetener coconut blossom and nutrient-rich South American sweet fruit lacuna.

Sticking with its vegan theme, we tried it with oat and unsweetened almond milk. We weren’t sure what to expect of this healthy-screaming drink, but with both types of milk it was surprisingly creamy. It has a lovely cocoa aroma and a rich chocolatey taste.

It’s not as sweet as sugary alternatives, but it’s a good, wholesome treat.

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Ruby Hot Chocolate, 150g: £12.95, Fortnum & Mason

Berry-flavoured creaminess

Ruby chocolate, a pink-hued milk chocolate with a distinct berry flavour, is a great innovation. The instructions suggest drinking this blend in a smaller quantity that standard hot chocolate – think teacup rather than mug.

Following the recipe, we heaped three tablespoons of the powder into a teacup, gradually added a little hot milk to create a paste then slowly stirred in more milk. The result: a delicate rose-coloured creamy liquid with a strawberry aroma that tantalises the tastebuds with its sweet berrylike flavour.

A pricey delight for hot chocoholics that like to splash out and experiment.

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Orange Drinking Chocolate, 170g: £5.99, Cartwright & Butler

Cute packaging and dairy-free

Cartwright & Butler makes a selection of drinking chocolate all packaged in these cute mason-style jars. The only downside to these polished pearls of dark orange-flavoured chocolate, is that they are tasty enough to eat by the handful, which means they risk never making it into your mug of milk.

Contain yourself, however. Stir these pearls into a mug of cows’ milk and the result is a velvety lava that will have all chocolate orange fans hooked.

As this drinking chocolate is dairy-free, we tried it with milk alternatives, too. Despite the almond milk being unsweetened, the result was still extremely sweet, but it was just as creamy and tasty with oat milk as it was with cow’s milk.

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Cadbury Hot Chocolate in an Instant, 400g: £2.50, Tesco

Budget buy and popular with children

If you’re looking for a good, cheap, store-cupboard staple for your kitchen or office that can be made up in an instant by mixing four heaped teaspoons into a mug of hot water then this is it.

Although it contains cows’ milk, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as a hot chocolate made up with milk or milk alternatives, and it’s sweeter than some of the more luxury alternatives. This makes it particularly popular with children. This is a great budget-buy with a long shelf life.

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Green & Black’s Organic Hot Chocolate Drink, 300g: £3.65, Waitrose

Organic and dairy-free

Whisk four teaspoons of this finely ground, organic, dairy-free hot chocolate powder into hot milk and it will change the colour of the milk almost instantly into a deep chocolate brown

This hot chocolate isn’t too rich and is slightly less creamy than others. We tried it with cows’ milk, oat milk and almond milk and it was delicious with all three. At £3.65, it’s reasonably priced, too.

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Chocolat Charbonnel The Original Chocolate Drink, 300g: £8, Charbonnel et Walker

Rich, dark chocolate taste

The classic white, blue and gold tin that encompasses this drinking chocolate powder will smarten up any larder, although to reduce waste it would be preferable if the powder wasn’t in a plastic bag.

The recipe for this chocolate drink was created in 1875, when the chocolate flakes were mixed with hot water. It’s good in it original form, but for a creamier taste, mix the powder to a paste with boiling water and then stir in hot milk.

These chocolate flakes do contain cow’s milk, so it’s not one for vegans or those on a dairy-free diet. Despite this, the drink has a rich dark chocolate taste. Dark chocolate fans will adore it, others will prefer it diluted with a swirl of whipped cream.

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Lavender, Lemongrass & Vanilla Bean Drinking Chocolate, 150g: £7.95, Coco Chocolatier

Sophisticated white chocolate

It’s rare that you come across white drinking chocolate, but we think that all this needs is the flame of publicity and it could easily catch on.

These are posh white chunky flakes of drinking chocolate infused with lavender, lemongrass and orchid vanilla bean. You need to appreciate this special drink as you would a fine wine, first smelling its perfumed aroma and then savouring its distinctive flavour. It is unusual, but it works.

This is pricey, but it comes in a cute reusable tin, although we do wish the chocolate wasn’t in a plastic bag. It isn’t one for vegans as it contains cows’ milk, but it makes the perfect gift for a chocolate connoisseur.

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Classic Hot Chocolate, 250g: £9, Hotel Chocolat

Whisk this on the hob

Hotel Chocolat’s Classic Hot Chocolate involves a three-stage cooking method, which demonstrates that you are making something special.

You must heat the milk until it’s steaming, but not boiling, remove from the heat to stir in the six heaped teaspoons per cup, return to the hob and whisk until all the chocolate has dissolved.

The result is an indulgent, velvety hot chocolate. It’s just as delicious, although a little less creamy with almond and oat milk, so vegans can enjoy it too. It is pricey though and opening the cardboard tube and dipping your spoon into the bag within is a bit of an unnecessary faff.

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100% Colombian Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate Drops, 200g: £6.95, Chococo

Pure chocolate and sugar-free

This is for hardcore chocoholics as the only ingredient is Columbian dark chocolate. To make you place four of the chocolate drops into a saucepan with a dash of milk. Once the buttons have melted you add a mugful of cows’ or plant milk, which ever your preference and continue to heat as you stir. You can have it neat, as the Mayans are thought to have enjoyed it.

The bitterness makes it more akin to a strong espresso than hot chocolate, it’s an acquired taste that works for some. Or you can add sugar. We admit to being wimps. We tried it with cows’ milk, almond milk and oat milk. In each case we had to add a couple of spoons of sugar to enjoy it, but it was quite scrumptious with each milk once sweetened up.

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Gnaw Chocolate Liqueur Hot Choc Shot Bundle: £8.50 for three choc shots, Not on the High Street

Alcoholic treat

These are for non-vegan grown-ups as they contain cows’ milk and alcohol. This bundle features three hot chocolate shots that come with a pipette of Coffee Liqueur, Amaretto or Irish Cream, you can choose which of these you want in your selection.

Dip your chocolate stick into a steaming hot mug of milk and stir till it’s completely melted – which takes while – then squeeze in your chosen liquor shot.

At just over £2.80 each, these very sweet hot toddies aren’t cheap, but they are tasty and they are a great way to round off a fun evening.

Buy now

The Verdict: Best hot chocolates

The purity of Willie’s Cacao Chulucanas Hot Chocolate is what makes this drink stand out. It is easy to make, has a heady cocoa aroma, is creamy without being too rich, and is not overly sweet. It also works well with both cows’ milk and vegan alternatives.

Hotel Chocolat’s Classic Hot Chocolate comes a close second, although it is a little pricey.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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