Snack: Homemade Chocolate Milk
Brain Booster Rating: 7 out of 10. The protein in the milk will calm your stomach rumbles and restore your concentration. Use low-fat milk to reduce sugar to begin with, and don’t add much as you make it. Cocoa powder is low in sugar and high in iron and antioxidants.
Equipment: Spoon, Kettle, Glass
Ingredients: Cocoa Powder, Sugar, Water, Milk, Instant Espresso (optional)
Growing up, I had this bogus nutritional theory that a glass of milk canceled out any unhealthful food eaten beside it. (I think this misinformation came from some mixture of Mom’s insistence that donuts and cookies should be eaten beside a glass of milk and those omnipresent and kind of beloved Got Milk? ads.) If I had one cookie, that meant one glass of milk. If I craved a second, I just poured a second glass of milk, and ta da! no guilt. Yup.
But in all honestly, a good cold glass of milk has always satisfied me, and it’s especially winning as an after-dinner snack because it’s filling but not so hearty that you’ll wake up feeling stuffed. Add chocolate to that and there’s no going back.
Making chocolate milk is something you’ve got to do to taste. I prefer it to most bought chocolate milks since I can make it not too sweet and very, very chocolatey. Here’s what you do: put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of good cocoa powder and a scant 1 tablespoon of sugar in a glass (don’t use a Solo cup). If you need a caffeine boost, add 1 teaspoon instant espresso. Mix. Heat water in your kettle, then pour it over the cocoa mixture to cover it by about 1/2 an inch. Stir well, scraping up all the cocoa from the edges of the glass and dissolving it in the hot water. Pour low-fat or (gasp!) whole milk almost to the top of the glass, then stir again. Add a couple ice cubes if you like, and drink it down!
Cara is the co-founder of Small Kitchen College and Big Girls, Small Kitchen. At camp, she was a champion at building pyramids out of individual-sized chocolate milk cartons after she and her friends had drunk them.