Try this healthy chocolate milkshake swap

The hardest thing for me to avoid while trying to be healthy is chocolate. It’s a good day if I can make it through my 8 to 5 without sneaking a couple of fun-size pieces from the candy jar at work, but by the end of the evening I’m left craving something sweet.

It took a few attempts (including a failed experiment with a cooled-down mix of melted chocolate and soft tofu) but I finally worked out a chocolate dessert with a calorie count most anyone would be okay with.

You can’t have a chocolate milkshake without the chocolate, but most bottled syrups aren’t the first thing you should reach for. Instead, you can whip up agave chocolate syrup with agave, cocoa powder and a dash of vanilla. TheĀ recipe on Spark People yields 1 1/2 cups, or 12 two tablespoon servings.

Two tablespoons of Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains 100 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrates, whereas two tablespoons of agave-cocoa syrup has 81 calories and 18 grams of carbs. Plus it’s only three ingredients, and includes none of these Hershey’s extras: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, potassium sorbate, mono-and diglycerides, xanthan gum, polysorbate 60 or artificial flavor.

Once you’ve made your own bottle of agave syrup, the rest is easy: Toss 1 frozen banana, 3/4 cup of fat-free milk, 2 T of the agave chocolate syrup and 2 cubes of ice in a blender or Magic Bullet. Make sure everything is mixed until smooth.

If you want an added nutritional boost, throw in some protein powder or a couple of Brazil nuts. You’ll hardly taste them and Brazil nuts are super good for you.

Without the nuts, you’re looking at 260 calories; with them, 323 calories. It’s a big portion, so if you’re only looking for a light snack, I suggest sharing the drink with someone you love.

The shake wins hands down over Frosties from the Wendy’s drive-thru or a couple of scoops at Baskins Robbins, but calorie-wise, Golden Spoon–where I usually end up when my sweet tooth gets the best of me–has this shake beat. A mini there is 100 calories and a small is double that.

But, I’d still take the shake because of the nutritional value the banana and nuts bring to the table. Good in the morning for a breakfast on the go or as an after dinner treat, this recipe has become a staple in my house.

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