Loving the BITE: Homemade Syrup for Chocolate Milk Recovery

10
May
2012

A few months ago we got the conversation going about Chocolate Milk for recovery.  And, as a fan of this approach, I was inspired to go to the store and get some chocolate syrup for this purpose.  For months, I’ve been hooked on using milk with honey for recovery, but variety is the spice of life, and I was ready for some chocolate.  I wanted an add-in chocolate, rather than a pre-made chocolate milk so that I could determine how much to put in myself, based on my own needs for recovery carbohydrates after riding.  I assumed, naively, that I would be able to find at least one good option for dark chocolate syrup, made with only a few real-food ingredients, even if I had to pay a couple extra bucks to avoid cheap junk sugars, colorings, and chemicals.

I was wrong.  We all know what happens when we assume.

It wasn’t a health food store, to be fair, but generally, my favorite grocer has a good variety of organic and healthy options.  I was dumbfounded as I looked at the shelves over and over again, reading horrible lists of ingredients and nutrition labels. I do this for living, after all, and I couldn’t find a good one.  Of course, I should have known where to start.  In my own kitchen.

Recipe of the Week: Homemade High-Antioxidant Chocolate Syrup

  • 1 1/4 C organic honey
  • 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 C water
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Place honey, cocoa, water, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, whisking to remove all lumps and mix thoroughly.  Bring to a boil and allow to thicken, about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in vanilla and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

To make chocolate milk, add 1-2 Tbsp to 8 oz. dairy or soy milk.

Nutrition information: (1 Tbsp chocolate syrup) 30 calories, 10 mg sodium, 8 gms carbohydrates, 1 gm protein

For even more variety: Try real maple syrup instead of honey, add 1 Tbsp of pure mint extract instead of the vanilla, or add in some coffee with the milk for a recovery mocha.

Comments:

Want a high-antioxidant, powerhouse of a recovery drink?  Of course you do and now you’ve got it.  Here’s why this combination of honey, cocoa, and milk will work for you:

  • Cocoa is a concentrated source of antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress, fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity.  Click here for more details on the health benefits of cocoa
  • Organic Honey also contains antioxidants.  What’s more, it provides the carbohydrates needed to replenish glycogen stores (the most crucial function of recovery) and natural enzymes that aide digestion and improve nutrient absorption.  Take care to buy organic honey, though, as non-organic honey has been found to be little more over-processed and void of all the healthful benefits.
  • Milk: As we discussed in our previous chocolate milk post, milk is certainly NOT the only good choice for recovery proteins.  But, with both quick- and slow-acting proteins in whey and casein respectively, it’s a good choice.  I realize there are many athletes who cannot tolerate or choose to not consume casein or dairy.  One option would be to use soy milk instead, and if you tolerate whey, add a whey protein isolate to provide a quick-acting and an intermediate-acting protein.  In order to spare muscles, you need to consume a carbohydrate source for default energy needs, and a protein source for rebuilding…most any protein source will help (although some are better than others).  If you’re looking for an alternative to dairy milk, though, realize that coconut milk and almond milks contain virtually no protein.
  • Fluids: No, this won’t work for your recovery fluid needs.  While milk is technically a fluid, I tend to not count it toward fluid needs for athletes as the kidneys have to do quite a bit of work to filter out and use the proteins.  Instead, consider any fluid it offers icing on the cake in terms of hydration and drink another fluid on the side for recovery (aim for 32 oz. per hour of your ride minus your intake during your ride).

While this information might not be groundbreaking, especially since we just discussed Chocolate Milk Recovery just a couple months ago, it certainly is an improvement over commercial chocolate syrup options – in the nutrition and deliciousness categories.  And, although some of the benefits of the ingredients will be diminished with cooking, they will still far outshine the high fructose corn syrup-laden chemical chocolate concoctions at the store.  So simple, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before.  Hadn’t spent much time in the chocolate syrup aisle, I guess.  This week, for recovery nutrition, let’s minimize the junk and keep it real.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.
Enjoy Your Ride

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14 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Homemade Syrup for Chocolate Milk Recovery ”

  1. Tony Ruiz on March 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    The Almond Coconut Milk I drink only has 1 g of protein in a cup, should I throw some Greek Yogurt or whey protein powder in it to get to 3 to 1 Carb to protein ratio?

    • Kelli Jennings on March 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Tony – YES!:) One issue with non-dairy milks (excluding soy) is the lack of protein – and many are unaware. Since they are called milk, many assume they have protein. Not sure if you’ve seen/tried Hemp Milk (it’s popped up in my local store) – it does have 4 gm protein per cup, so more than the others. For recovery, a 3:1, or even 2:1 carbs:protein is effective. Hope you enjoy the syrup! Take care!

  2. Amanda Cowan on January 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Love it! I hadn’t thought of using honey!

    • Kelli Jennings on March 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Amanda, I’m glad you like it! Yes, I love using the honey, and it comes out to about 1/2 the calories/sugar as regular syrups.

  3. Kelli Jennings on January 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Shannon, Kate, and Jase – Thank you very much for your comments on this chocolate syrup. It’s always in my fridge as well for my own recovery. I always look forward to it. Sometimes I ride a little longer than planned just to justify the recovery chocolate milk :). Soon, I’ll post a hot chocolate variation. It’s 10 deg F where I live right now, and recovering with a warm drink is a welcome variation. Coming soon…

  4. Jase on January 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Turned out very well. Healthier and more affordable than store bought since less is needed for the same degree of chocolatey flavor. Thank you.

  5. Kate on July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    We’ve been making this consistently for the last couple of months, and I’m finding I really crave it. Very easy to make and very tasty.

  6. Shannon on May 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    This is a great recipe! I ran out of regular chocolate syrup and I’ve been looking for an alternative with no artificial ingredients, anyway. My son is extremely picky and the only way he will consistently get any protein is chocolate milk. I made him a cup of milk with a spoonful of syrup and he chugged it! Thank you for posting it.

  7. Rob at OceanAirCycles.com on May 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for this hint. As a person who is gluten intolerant, it has been hard to find a chocolate syrup that is also gluten free. It kind of makes you wonder why so much other stuff is in the prepared foods on the shelf at the store. My wife is going to be stoked at this work around.

    • Kelli Jennings, RD on May 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

      I agree – it’s amazing how many extra ingredients are packed into processed foods. The extra chemical colorings (strawberry syrup for example) and flavorings drive me nuts. I think this recipe is also much better tasting…I hope you enjoy it! Kel

  8. AmandaGaleKotyk on May 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Definitely making this one!! I have all the ingredients at home, and I also like the idea of a healthier chocolate syrup for the kids.

    • Kelli Jennings, RD on May 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

      It’s passed my (picky) kids’ test :). And, since it’s richer in chocolate taste than store-bought, I can use just a small amount. Hope they like it!

  9. Jessica on May 10, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Awesome! I’ve been meaning to search for a healthier way to make chocolate milk for the kids! And now I can enjoy it after my long runs too!

    • Kelli Jennings, RD on May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Jessica – I definitely can always feel a difference when I recover properly after training (I’m drinking this syrup/milk as I type after riding) – and this recipe is easy, cold, and refreshing. Serves the dual purpose for me and my kids in my household, too. Hope you enjoy!

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