12 Days of Holiday Recipes Day 1: Ginger-Spiced Hot Cocoa

Let’s face it: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa can inflict gastronomic carnage on the most disciplined of healthy eaters this time of year. If you need proof, come check out our office kitchen, which is right now overflowing with cupcakes, cookies and other holiday-party leftovers. Or see the stacked containers full of same my mother-in-law brought to my house yesterday.

Fortuntely, we’re here to help.

We’ll be counting down the days ‘til Santa slides down your chimney by bringing you recipes that won’t burst your seams over the gluttonous holidays.

Today’s recipe for ginger-spiced hot cocoa comes via the Food Network and Ellie Krieger, a registered dietitian and host of the Food Network show “Healthy Appetite.” It saves calories through the use of low-fat milk, less sugar and the addition of dark chocolate, which also contains antioxidants and has other health benefits. The addition of fresh ginger brings a spicy zing and helps promote digestion and good circulation.


  • 8 ounces 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/4-inch piece peeled, fresh ginger, sliced into 2 rounds
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark chocolate shavings (about 1/8-ounce)


Heat the milk and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until milk begins to scald, about 4 minutes. While milk is warming, place cocoa powder and sugar into a mug and add water, stirring until the mixture has a pasty consistency. Remove the ginger from the warmed milk, add the chocolate mixture and whisk until slightly frothy. Pour the milk into the mug and top with chocolate shavings.

Nutritional Information (Makes 1 serving)
164 calories; 4g total fat; 24g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 9g protein


Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

Sven Gustafson

About Sven Gustafson

Sven Gustafson is a senior writer in the Office of the President at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He enjoys food, running, soccer and exploring Detroit and Michigan at large.
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