Try these healthy winter drink recipes that are great alternatives to the premade drink packets at the grocery store. These are not only yummy & healthy, but fun to make with the family!
Healthy Hot Cocoa
Most packaged cocoa mixes are not very healthy. They are high in sugar content which is a culprit to common colds and flu. The flavonoids in chocolate have potent antioxidant properties which help to protect us during the cold and flu season. The antioxidant benefits are in the raw cocoa itself, so raw dark chocolate is more effective than milk chocolate because it contains a higher concentration of cocoa.
2 cups milk (you can substitute lowfat, skim, soy, rice, or almond milk, if you like)
2 heaping tablespoons organic pure dark-chocolate cocoa powder to taste
For a sweetener I recommend using raw sugar or honey (organic if possible), pure maple syrup, or sucanat.
1. Heat the milk in a saucepan and add cocoa powder, whisking to combine.
2. Add agave syrup, raw honey or sugar to taste, stir again, pour into a large mug, and serve hot.
Makes 1 serving.
Optional garnishes: cinnamon stick, nutmeg, or ground clove. Want to spice it up a notch? Try adding a pinch of chile powder for a Mexican style hot cocoa.
Spiced Chai Tea
Chai tea is basically black tea brewed with different spices and milk. Though the spices vary among regions, the common spices include cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper. The popularity of Chai tea has grown in Western cultures and adaptations have been made such as using green tea instead of rich black tea. The health benefits of chai green come from the beverage’s two components, spices and tea. Cinnamon, cloves and ginger are all sources of antioxidants which protect the body against damage caused by free radicals.
2-1/2 cups water
6-8 green cardamom pods
2 whole black peppercorns
1-2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and diced
2 sticks cinnamon
2/3 cup (175 ml) milk
4 tsp honey
2-3 tsp loose black tea (4 – 5 teabags depending on how strong you like your tea)
Put the water in a saucepan, add spices, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add milk and honey and bring to a boil. Add tea, turn off the heat, and let infuse for two to three minutes. Strain (if using loose tea) into two cups and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.
Try substituting green tea instead of the traditional black to get powerful antioxidants that will help you boost your immune system during the winter months. Also, for a yummy bedtime treat you can use chamomile tea for a calming effect.
Green Tea: A Natural Cold Remedy
Green tea comes from unfermented tea leaves and has the highest concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that taking a green tea extract reduced the number of sick days and the severity of cold symptoms felt by participants. Drinking several cups of hot green tea a day throughout the winter can help you to fight off those annoying cold and flu symptoms.
Healthy Hot Apple Cider
In our world of premade food and drinks, this traditional winter comfort recipe has seemed to have lost it’s way. This recipe is the perfect holiday drink for parties or potluck and can be cooked on the stove or in a crock pot.
Organic apple juice
4 – 10 whole cloves
2 – 6 green cardamom pods
1 /2 – 1 whole cinnamon stick
Optional: 1 thin slice fresh ginger
*Use more or less spice depending on quantity.
Heat the apple juice with the spices on the stove or in the crock pot. When using a crock pot, start it a few hours ahead of time, or heat on the stove, then transfer to the crock pot to keep warm