Who cares about calories in hot chocolate?

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If you’re anything like us then you will love to indulge in a rich, luxurious cup of hot chocolate. There’s something so comforting about this drink and yet, many of us don’t realise that when we raise that cup of choccy deliciousness to our lips we’re sending an awful lot of calories down to our tummy.

Hot chocolate can contain a lot of calories. In a single cup of hot chocolate, you can find anything from 120 to 400 calories depending on the brand and type of hot chocolate you are making or drinking. However, there are diet versions of Hot Chocolate, such as Cadbury’s Options, which only have 40 calories per cup.

If you’re calorie counting, calculating the number of calories in a cup of hot chocolate is notoriously difficult. There’s not only the power, or chocolate flakes to take into account, but also milk, syrup, cream and then of course the size of the cup (volume of liquid in other words). And we haven’t even mentioned those tempting little marshmallows. Yikes.

Is hot chocolate the same as cocoa?

Before we go further let me address the elephant in the room. I love hot chocolate. For me every day is hot chocolate day. But I have to admit my daily hot chocolate is a low calorie powdered one. I have two or three cups a day.

The weekends are when I take out the hot chocolate maker or, of course my handy choccy making milk frother, and whip up a real cup of chocolate.

Hotel Chocolat 472756 Velvetiser Hot Chocolate Machine, Grey
  • Barista grade hot chocolate, as served in Hotel Chocolate cafes, velvetised at the touch of a...
  • Contains - The Velvetiser hot chocolate machine - 10 single serve hot chocolates, milky, salted...
  • An electrical product, ready to use straight from your countertop, a removable whisk and...

But I realise for others, calories counters or those embracing a healthier lifestyle than myself, a hot chocolate may be best seen as a treat. After all, sugar, fat and calories are important parts of our nutrition but too much can result in health problems and weight gain.

Read more: Is a Velvetiser worth it?

In this article, we will be exploring what exactly is in your hot chocolate and how many calories you are adding, the more ingredients you use.

Different types of hot chocolate

The number of calories in your cup will vary drastically depending on how you make your hot chocolate and what recipe you use. Of course, many people opt for the most convenient method of using powder but for a more indulgent treat, you might use real chocolate. Let’s see what to expect from each type.

Hot chocolate power

Hot chocolate powder is a blend of dried chocolate and flavourings as well as powdered milk and sweeteners. While it might not look like a lot in its powdered form, it does contain quite a surprising number of calories.

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular brands of hot chocolate powder; Cadbury. In a single 18 gram serving, you can expect to find 168 calories.

The good thing about looking at nutritional information on the packaging for products like this is that they typically give you the values with skimmed milk added to the powder along with your hot water. Of course, if you’re adding whole milk, then the calories will be higher, but more on that later.

This means that, in a 100g serving of Cadbury hot chocolate powder there are as many as 404 calories, and that’s before you’ve even thought about adding milk or anything else.

But, and there is always a but, as I mentioned earlier Cadbury Options are only around 40 calories per cup. So fill your boots. Or mug.

Cooking chocolate

One of the easiest way to make a really luxurious drink is by using cooking chocolate. You can see how I whip up a lovely treat using cooking chocolate and a milk frother in this video.

While cooking chocolate is slightly lower in calories than other types of chocolate, the difference really isn’t that great. In a 100g bar, there are 501 calories.

However, you might decide to use other types of chocolate which contain even more calories. For example, milk chocolate has 535 calories per 100 grams while dark chocolate has 546 calories per 100 grams.

Cooking chocolate

However, those numbers look a lot less scary when you realise you only need 30 grams to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate. At about 170 calories (excluding the milk) making your drink with real chocolate suddenly begins to look more attractive doesn’t it?

Hot chocolate flakes

Hot chocolate flakes come in a packet and are a slightly more luxurious way of making hot chocolate and a good alternative to powder. There are a lot of different brands and so each will have varying numbers of calories but we have chosen to explore one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world; Lindt.

In a single cup 30 gram serving of Lindt hot chocolate flakes, there are around 173 calories. So, there’s no difference between melting a chunk of chocolate or using flakes. It’s all chocolate after all.

Chocolate bombs

Hot chocolate bombs have become something of a craze with people making their own at home and artisans crafting stunning bombs to sell as gifts. They contain a chocolate shell packed with hot chocolate and marshmallows and simply require the drinker to pour over hot water.

As indulgent as they are, you may be surprised to learn that there are some hot chocolate bombs out there that aren’t as high in calories as you might think. Still more than hot chocolate powder with some like the Co Cobo bomb containing 238 calories per serving, others are much lower in calories.

What about additional ingredients?

It pays to remember that, for the most part, the calories we have discussed relate to a cup of hot chocolate without anything added to it. Once you begin adding other ingredients, the calorie count can go sky high, depending on what you use.

For many people, adding a dash of milk to their instant hot chocolate helps them to enjoy a smoother and creamier texture. Let’s assume you add 5ml of whole milk to your drink, that only contains three calories.

UK and US milk and cream comparison

However, if you opted to make your hot chocolate entirely from milk, and made a 250ml serving, you would have as many as 100 calories in this.

Have you ever topped your hot chocolate off with a good blasting of squirty cream? If so, this is only going to add to the calorie count. If you use two heaped tablespoons of squirty cream on your drink, you’ll be adding a further 38 calories to the total.

And let’s be honest – you’re going to use a hell of a lot more cream than just a couple of spoonfuls.

Finally, who can resist a hot chocolate topped with cream and a handful of sweet marshmallows? There’s nothing quite as wintry and comforting but those sweet treats are going to cost you some of your precious daily allowance.

Ten mini marshmallows contain around 22 calories and let’s face it, we’re all putting at least double this on our hot chocolate so you’re looking at closer to 50 calories by the time you’re done.

Who cares about the calories in hot chocolate?

Hot chocolate is a super sweet, super calming and super delicious drink but there’s no denying that it’s packed with sugar, fat and calories. While the number of calories will vary depending on the type of hot chocolate you use and what you add to it, it’s safe to say that this is definitely a drink that should be enjoyed in moderation.

Or at least that’s the sensible way to look at it. Personally I love my hot chocolate and there’s no way I’m moderating my choccy intake. But each to their own.

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  • An electrical product, ready to use straight from your countertop, a removable whisk and...
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