Struggling for Healthy Children’s Beverages: Why Not Pack a Tisane to Go?
It’s back to school time. As your children are gearing up for another exciting year, you may be worrying about what to pack for lunch. The grocery store is full of drink boxes, sodas, sport drinks and fruit flavored beverages all available in “lunch box” size. The challenge is that most of these beverages are high in sugar and calories. Instead of choosing juice or soda, why not pack a thermos of herbal tea?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, for optimal health, at least half a child’s daily fluid intake should come from water. For many children, plain water is unappealing, so they leave their water bottle untouched. Packing a tisane-filled thermos along with lunch will give your child a hydrating beverage they’ll enjoy.
With the abundance of flavors in the market, there is a tisane created for every palate. Speak with your child to find their favorite flavor then find the tisane that best suits them. Better yet, sample teas together to find their favorite. In addition to a boost of flavor, each tisane adds its unique health benefits, making it a perfect enhancement to their lunch.
The benefits of the South African plant rooibos are numerous. This tisane is full of immune-boosting antioxidants, including nothofagin, which is believed to help prevent heart disease, cancer and strokes, and aspalathin that helps the body get rid of free radicals. Now who wouldn’t want those advantages in their child’s lunch time drink?
Rooibos also works wonders for a child that has a cough, cold or just needs some help getting a good night’s sleep. For an additional antioxidant boost, try expanding your child’s taste buds by offering green rooibos.
Naturally sweet Honeybush seems to be designed for children, offering a smooth flavor that’s packed with immune-boosting phenolic compounds. A relative to the rooibos family, this tisane is believed to help with digestion and even inflammation.
Why not brew a cup of chamomile tea if your child’s suffering from a sore tummy? According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, chamomile has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. Some of its traditional uses include being a remedy for anxiety, restlessness, digestion issues and even infant colic. This tisane is ideal when your child is nervous about a presentation or as the perfect drink to end an active day.
For those looking for a prepared beverage, the ready to drink industry is responding by offering healthier versions of iced tea beverages. Concerned about the obesity trend in both children and adults, Heather Howell, Chief Tea Officer, Rooibee Roo wanted to offer a healthy beverage that children would like to drink.
Rooibee Roo is available in three child-friendly flavors: orange, mango and cherry, all which were determined by children’s tasting panels. One discovery that Howell stumbled upon is that most children liked the natural flavor of rooibos. She decided to use very little sweetener in their bottled iced tisane, so there’s only 12 grams of USDA organic cane sugar in each eight ounce bottle. “It’s just a struggle for moms. And so I hope that this is something that mothers will see we created for them,” said Howell. “Tea in general is such a healthy alternative to soda and sugar-laden beverages like juice.”
The Arizona Kidz line, from Arizona Beverage Company, offers two decaffeinated, ready to drink tea options. “Our concept was to appeal to the mom, make sure that it’s a hundred percent all natural, which all of our drinks always are. But moreover to take the caffeine out because there’s a lot of discussions on whether or not caffeine is harmful to children,” said Wesley Vultaggio, Arizona Tea.
In addition to removing the caffeine, Arizona Tea decreased the overall calorie content of their beverage line by reducing the sugar content. Instead of fructose, the beverages are sweetened with organic cane sugar and lower calorie, plant-based stevia.
If choosing to brew your own black or green tea for children, look for decaffeinated options. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of caffeine for children, as caffeine has been reported to potentially impact bone development, increase restlessness and even anxiety. For young children, naturally caffeine-free tisanes are the best option since some caffeine may remain in decaffeinated beverages.
Don’t know which tisane to buy? Take your child with you and enjoy the experience of smelling and tasting a variety of tisanes. Whether it’s chocolate, vanilla, blueberry or cinnamon, there is a flavor for every child and every mood. Not sure where to start? Several tea companies now offer child-inspired teas with fun names and unique flavors geared to their growing taste buds.
Established in 2005, International Tea Day brings awareness to the tea workers’ contributions to the tea world and their working conditions. It has been observed annually on December 15. However, starting in 2020 it will take place on May 21. But, how exactly should one recognize it? Well, if you’re a business owner I would steer away from using this day as just another marketing opportunity. As someone in the marketing industry, I wanted to offer some other options that businesses, tea related or not, can take into consideration if they would like to honour International Tea Day.
I’ve been updating a spreadsheet on pu’erh prices on release for the past few years in order to get an idea of tea being offered to western consumers and any possible trends. The well-known popular narrative is that fresh pu’erh prices have gone up and this certainly seems true in the data. Last year the prices looked about the same as the previous year. And when and how much the price has gone up depends on how we look at this and there’s a handful of different ways to look at the data and options available (I do three here).