I can’t speak for any other parent reading this, but my kids are completely obsessed with beverages. All KINDS of beverages. They love juice, milk (all flavors!), and I’m sure they would drink soda and coffee all day long if I allowed them. Anything but water!
Well, a few years ago when my kids were 2 and 3 years old, my eldest started drinking tea. He was infatuated. And he not only drank warm tea on cold days, but he’d order it at restaurants and drink it out of adult mugs. Waiters were very perplexed by this habit. And well, so was I. (But it was either that or processed hot chocolate, so I wasn’t complaining.)
And over the course the of the next year and half we’ve gone on all sorts of tea dates.
I make it at home and we drink it at coffee shops.
Most herbal teas are safe for kids and a healthy alternative for hydration because they offer a lot of interesting complex flavors without the added sugars and colorings found in juice boxes, sports drinks, and soda. Herbal teas are decaf and come in all sorts of organic varieties, too. Just be sure to check with your doctor about which types are appropriate for your children and their health needs before introducing any teas. And consider serving toddlers a more diluted version of a kid-safe tea by steeping for a shorter time or adding more water to cool the cup down. Little ones can’t always drink what adults sip.
One of the best is roobios. Full of antioxidants and caffeine-free, this tea is so fun for kids!
Iced, hot, sweetened, unsweetened, added milk or cream or none of the above—there are so many options.
One of my favorite things to do is make a concentrated tea. I add about 3-4 tea bags to about 3 cups of hot water. I let it sit and steep for about 5-10 minutes (depending on the tea). Then, I add sparkling water, a natural sweetener, and ice. Suddenly, I’ve made soda with a fraction of the sugar and without corn syrup. There is a rooibos vanilla creme tea that I love. I do this with sparkling water and it ends up tasting like old school creme soda (root beer flavor)!
Another fun one is mint. Mmmmmm. Mint or even ginger. Two great teas for upset stomach. Adding a natural sweetener makes it great for sipping.
Chamomile is great because it’s everywhere and if you add a little honey you’ve got a wonderful nighttime relaxer.
One of our favorites is hibiscus.
But more acidic teas like hibiscus and raspberry are less sweet. They are wonderful iced and a fun alternative to other drinks like soda. Even Starbucks makes a great one too, in case you’re on the go and in a hurry. NOTE: These tart teas are not good with any added cream or milk. It curdles it’s so acidic!
Next time you’re at the store, check out the organic herbal teas (caffeine free) and play around with different sweeteners, if needed—xylitol is great for teeth and gums and honey is wonderful for the throat!
Guest Contributor Juli Novotny = Food lover. Green chef. Health advocate. Business owner. Mother. Blogger. Modern minimalist. When she’s not running her health food company Kookie Karma or enjoying the beach with her two little boys, Juli blogs and takes beautiful photographs about healthy family living at PURE Mamas.