Saturday, September 15, 2012

DIY—Delicious Healthier Chocolate Milk

If any of you are on the whole foods journey like my family is, I am sure that finding healthy substitutes for your kids’ favorite snacks are at the top of your priority list too. As our journey progresses, non-whole foods items get used up and suddenly we are wondering what to replace them with. Good quality whole milk (raw, pastured, or organic—whatever your family prefers or can get a hold of) by itself makes a healthy and filling snack, but let’s face it—for some reason it’s better with chocolate. Well, what isn’t!

So we ran out of the chocolate syrup we would normally use and I was scouring the grocery store shelves for an acceptable whole foods alternative. I found one organic brand, but I wasn’t willing to pay the price when it still contained ingredients I wasn’t crazy about. A few weeks later I saw a blog post about making chocolate milk with cocoa powder. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Cocoa powder is a staple in my pantry, so it’s nothing extra to buy. I use it to make hot chocolate, so why not chocolate milk? I tried their method of shaking the raw cocoa powder up with the milk in a sealed mason jar, and it was okay. I could never get the cocoa powder to completely mix and there were always little bubbles of raw cocoa floating around that don’t taste great and look unappetizing, not to mention the hideous milk mustache they gave my toddler. It also had a tendency to separate quickly.

So here is my method:

I like to use an old Tupperware salad dressing shaker that has a spinney thing that fits inside the lid. It does a great job of getting a good mix and the added benefit of a small opening to pour the milk out of. This helps if you want to add a few ice cubes for ice cold milk, but want to strain them out after mixing.

I put the cocoa powder and sugar in the bottom of the dressing container. Then I add just enough hot water to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar. A VERY small amount will do, just enough to make a paste. Make sure the cocoa is completely dissolved in the water. Use a mini-whisk to mix this if you have one.
Before Mixing
After Mixing
Add your milk. Put the spinner and the top on the shaker and shake away! You will end up with a delicious chocolate milk, maybe even a little frothy if you shake hard enough. Let your kids do the shaking—just make sure the lid is on tight!

To Make 1 ½ cups Chocolate Milk (enough to fill my toddler’s cup and a small drink for me):

1-2 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder (1tsp dark cocoa, 2 for regular, or to taste)

3 teaspoons unrefined sugar (maple syrup or honey are good too)

1 ½ cups milk

Optional: add a dash of vanilla or other flavor extract, or maybe even a dash of cinnamon

Another thing my boys loved was “pink milk”. They mostly got it at grandparents’ houses. It was the only way I could get my youngest to drink milk after he weaned from nursing. I gradually decreased the amount of pink stuff until he was drinking straight milk—now he likes milk any way I give it to him. The other day I thought it might be a treat to give him “pink milk” so I used my stick blender to puree some fresh strawberries in his milk. It was a little tart, but he drank it. It will depend on the strawberries of course, but you could add a little unrefined sweetener to taste. The stick blender makes it really frothy and you can throw in other things like flax oil and hide it pretty well. Just some ideas…I hope I’ve inspired you to create a yummy drink for yourself. I’m tempted to go and make myself one now, but I’ve already had a smoothie this afternoon!

NOTE: Remember not to feed strawberries to little ones until you are aware of allergies!

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