Use This In Your Hot Chocolate Instead Of Sugar

For kids and adults alike, there's nothing quite as soothing or warming on a cold winter day (or any day, really) as a rich and decadent hot chocolate. After a steaming mug of that sweet liquid chocolaty goodness, everything seems right with the world. Until you take a look at the ingredient list on those hot chocolate packets and see that the first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. Yikes!

If you're one of the nearly 8 in 10 adults trying to cut sugar from their diets, you may be mourning the loss of hot chocolate from your future. Sure, you can make it without any sweeteners, but let's face it, unsweetened cocoa powder on its own just doesn't have that same satisfying sweetness. Does this mean you are resigned to no or bittersweet hot chocolate for the sake of health? According to this easy recipe from Allrecipes, you don't — you can still indulge in a cup of hot chocolate, without sacrificing sweetness and without adding any refined sugar. The secret ingredient? Maple syrup.

Maple syrup makes for a great alternative to refined sugars in your hot chocolate

Pure maple syrup is a great alternative to refined sugar, even better than honey, explains Real Simple. It's an antioxidant powerhouse — according to a study cited by PopSugar, pure maple syrup from Canada contains more than 60 different antioxidants, including some that can reduce inflammation. Maple syrup also contains prebiotics that can assist with gut health and vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese. It also has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar (around 54 compared to 65), so it's less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike (and crash). And since maple syrup is often sweeter than refined sugar, you can use less of it, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Just make sure you are using real maple syrup rather than fake maple syrup,  which tends to be disguised corn syrup with some added maple flavoring. Maple syrup also still contains sugar, so you'll want to use it in moderation. But for your hot chocolate, it offers a healthier sweet alternative to refined sugar. To really take your hot chocolate to the next level, though, enjoy it in an orange or creamsicle colored mug — it'll make your hot chocolate taste even better.