Cheers to the weekend! Usually at the end of a week people want to let loose and indulge themselves for a day or two. That is certainly fine every now and then, but going overboard on sweets/snacks/alcohol every weekend can seriously hinder any progress you are trying to make on your health. That’s why we are going to give you some Healthy Swap Saturday ideas! I love to experiment with a traditional recipe and substitute some ingredients to make a healthier version of it! (This is especially fun to do with baking!) So on Saturdays we will highlight a recipe or clever swap we have tested that we think will satisfy your indulgence.
Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite healthy swaps – tea. Tea is so natural and simple it is almost like a magic water. I first started drinking tea in college. I was never a big coffee drinker and had no interest in those frilly 500 calorie Starbucks drinks, but I still wanted something hot to sip while studying or catching up with friends. Hello, tea! There are so many different types of tea from black to green to herbal that you can hardly ever get bored experimenting.
I start every day with a cup of green tea with a lemon wedge. Green tea has huge health benefits. It is a great source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, that help to combat free radicals in the body. Green tea has more polyphenols than any other tea! It also supports cardiovascular and metabolic health, while providing a small amount of caffeine to start your day (lower than coffee, black or oolong tea- without all the jitters!). I used to drink just hot water with lemon first thing in the morning before my tea, but once I realized I did not have time for that (seriously, two hot beverages in the morning?!) I combined them! Plus I absolutely love lemon and it gives the tea a little extra kick. Intrigued yet? Give it a try!
Herbal teas are technically not tea because they are not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, however they are still great for afternoon and nighttime cravings. They are made from any other plant and are naturally caffeine free. You can find a wide variety of flavors at nearly any grocery store. They are great if you want something that tastes sweet, but don’t want all of the added sugar and fat. They are perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up without all of the caffeine and junk in energy drinks. There are even teas with benefits that can help you target a specific need. For example, there are plenty of teas that aide with sleep, digestion, and detoxing. Some of my favorite herbal teas are peppermint and lemon ginger.
So the next time you find yourself going for your morning grande mocha frappe-ma-call-it, or 3pm Red Bull or Pepsi, try a cup of tea. Pick whichever sounds most enjoyable to you and will suit your needs at that moment. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!