I don’t like coffee.
I think I just heard some gasps. It’s true. I just don’t like coffee (though some days I wish I did!).
My parents weren’t coffee drinkers. And we didn’t have the Starbucks craze of today. So it just wasn’t something I was exposed to.
But I have always loved tea.
Growing up the word “tea” meant one thing – black tea with milk and sugar. I’m pretty sure there was more milk and sugar than tea in it for my siblings and I.
Regardless we loved it when my mom would make us tea. And we always participated when we visited my grandparents and they had tea time.
Healthy Teas for Children
When I was little I had no idea there were herbal teas and flavored teas. There was a whole world of tea out there! Who knew!
Now as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, looking back black tea was not the best option for us. And it’s definitely not something I serve to my own four children. Black tea is high in caffeine.
It also has the highest concentration of tannins of any tea. Tannins may have some health benefits, but they also may interfere with protein digestion and nutrient absorption. This can cause digestive upset and constipation.
Black tea also contains oxalates. While not a problem for some, those that are sensitive to oxalates or that don’t have the genes to break them down can experience painful symptoms from oxalate overload, Some even say there is a connection between autism and oxalates.
Thankfully there are teas that you can and should serve to children with actual health benefits.
Herbal Teas for Kids
When making hot drinks for kids and toddlers, the first item on my list is to avoid caffeine. We don’t know the full consequences caffeine can have on a child’s growth and development (especially the brain).
Here are a few known potential side effects:
- high blood pressure
- mood swings
- nervous system dysregulation
That’s not a risk I’m willing to take. This goes for teens as well. There seems to be a trend in the US of more and more teens and preteens drinking coffee. This can become an addictive behavior and have negative consequences on health and development.
One of the most dangerous effects of caffeine is its ability to disguise adrenal fatigue. This can have long-standing consequences and lead to other health problems if not addressed.
Sadly I see adrenal fatigue in many of my young clients. Even my own son was in total adrenal burnout at eight years old! Had I allowed him to drink coffee or energy drinks I may have never known. Thankfully Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis can help pinpoint adrenal fatigue regardless of stimulants.
With all the unknowns and risks it’s just not worth it. Let’s stop the Starbucks trend and replace it with herbal tea infusions!
Tea Time for Kids
What are the healthy options for hot drinks for kids? There are plenty! Herbal tea is a great choice. Some safe herbal teas for kids and teens include:
- stinging nettle
- red raspberry leaf
- marshmallow root
- dandelion root
- slippery elm
- milk thistle
- lemon balm
- tulsi (holy basil)
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Health Benefits of Herbal Teas for Children
Herbs are powerful plants with medicinal properties. Used in tea form you get the benefits of the herbs in a low dose, making it safe for kids.
My favorite aspect of herbal teas is that they contain minerals! Minerals are the body’s sparkplugs. Most herbal teas contain macrominerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur.
Many also contain trace minerals such as zinc, copper, molybdenum, and boron. Minerals are essential for the body to function.
Herbal teas often also contain small amounts of vitamins, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and part of the B-complex.
Herbal teas also help with specific symptoms including:
- digestion – ginger, chamomile, marshmallow root, peppermint, slippery elm, fennel, mullein
- nausea – ginger, peppermint, fennel, catnip
- sore throat – lemon, lemon balm
- anxiety – chamomile, peppermint, catnip, tulsi
- insomnia – chamomile, lemon balm, rooibos, catnip
- hormone balance – red raspberry leaf, tulsi
- immune support – elderberry, lemon balm, ginger, mullein, rooibos, nettle, hibiscus
- detoxification – dandelion root, milk thistle, lemon balm, nettle
By making these herbal teas into infusions you get a larger dose of nutrients and stronger medicinal properties. But still safe for kids. All you have to do is steep the tea longer!Print
Fruity herbal infusion that helps support the immune system.
- dried elderberries
- loose leaf hibiscus tea
- loose leaf lemon balm tea
- loose leaf nettle tea
- 1/4 c. frozen berries (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry)
- 1 Tbs. honey (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. acerola or camu powder (optional)
- Combine equal amounts of each tea/elderberry in a large tea strainer.
- Add frozen berries and honey to a quart mason jar.
- Place the tea strainer in the mouth of the mason jar.
- Pour hot water over the tea, filling the jar.
- Let steep for 2-24 hours.
- Remove tea and strainer.
- Stir in acerola/camu if desired.
- Serve room temperature or with ice.
For an herbal detox support infusion use the same directions above with these ingredients: loose-leaf dandelion root, loose-leaf milk thistle, loose-leaf nettle, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 2 Tbs. honey, 1/4 c. frozen strawberries (optional)
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 25
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 0g
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0g
Keywords: warm drink, drink recipe, immunity
Making Herbal Infusions Fun for Kids
Infusions are a fun and simple way for kids to get the health benefits of herbs. There is no need to worry about whether or not the tea is hot – very important for toddlers and young kids! Plus you can make your own herbal blend and specialty drinks that kids will love.
Herbal infusions make great replacements for sugary drinks like Kool-Aid and Gatorade. Loaded with minerals (electrolytes), infusions work well as a sports drink too!
Loose-leaf tea works well for infusions so you can use a larger dose and mix up your own blend. But if you don’t have the time or a tea strainer, using multiple tea bags works just as well.
If your child is hesitant to try tea, here are a few ways to make it more fun:
- Use real tea cups.
- Serve infusions in fun water bottles (also great for sending infusions to school to stay hydrated).
- Throw a tea party.
- Have a one-on-one date with your teen.
- Let your child make their own tea blend.
For my daughter’s thirteenth birthday she had a “tea”n party. We had fillable tea bags, fun reusable tea strainers, and an assortment of loose-leaf herbal teas. Every girl got to mix her own tea blends and sample some tea. It was such a joy to watch them all try different teas!
Herbal tea infusions provide nourishment, help ease everyday complaints, and taste great! Such a simple and fun way to keep your kids well-nourished and thriving.
Are you ready to make tea time a part of your child’s day?