West Valley Medical Center - December 08, 2016

By Anne Brock, RDN, LD
Outpatient/Clinical Dietitian

According to my favorite holiday movie, "Elf," the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. After an in-car caroling session where I can't hit the high notes (or any notes for that matter), I find myself craving a mug of hot cocoa. Sadly, festive drinks like cocoa can add unwanted calories and sugar. Here's a lower calorie version with only 16 grams of carbohydrates:

Microwave Hot Cocoa

Source: Anne Brock, RDN, LD


  • 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 cup of low-fat milk or dairy alternative
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon


  1. Fill 1/2 of your mug with hot water
  2. Add the cocoa powder and honey, stir until dissolved
  3. Fill the rest of your mug with your choice of low fat milk or dairy alternative
  4. Heat for 1 minute on high in the microwave
  5. Add the vanilla and stir, top with cinnamon

Serving size: 8 oz
Calories: 110
Carbohydrates: 16g

Some tips to making other holiday drinks a little healthier are to:

  • Try flavoring water with fresh or frozen fruit, basil, mint, or sliced cucumber
  • Use club soda and fruit or 100% fruit juice in place of regular soda in mixed drinks
  • Use cinnamon and cranberries as a way to sweeten up cider instead of sugar
  • Read the nutrition label on store bought ciders to find the best choice
  • Use low fat dairy, non-fat dairy, or unsweetened plant milks such as almond or soy in place of whole milk or heavy cream

If you drink alcohol remember to drink in moderation 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. 1 drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor.