As you’re thinking about your upcoming holiday parties, do you worry about what you’ll be able to eat or drink? When you’ve changed your diet to be healthier, attending a party can feel like navigating a minefield. But we’ve got some suggestions and recipes that will keep you feeling festive with trendy and healthy drinks:
Matcha is a drink made from green tea. Instead of tea leaves steeped in hot water, the leaves are ground into a very fine powder. Matcha is prepared by adding the powder to hot water and blending until the drink is frothy.
Matcha has been used in tea ceremonies for centuries, and boasts a variety of health benefits. Some of the benefits come because you are actually drinking the tea leaf, so the drink is more potent.
Health Benefits of Matcha
- Contains polyphenols, up to 137 times the number of polyphenols in green tea.
- Can burn stored fat. Those same polyphenols can increase the rate of fat burning.
- Full of an amino acid called L-Theanine that balances the caffeine. Matcha tea has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, or 3 times as much as green tea. But the amino acids bring balance and prevent the jittery effects of caffeine.
- Can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, because of the catechins.
- Be careful with the matcha that you buy. Some brands add sugar and/or powdered milk to the matcha powder to alter the taste.
- Matcha can also have higher levels of lead, so it’s important to not over consume.
During the holidays, try brewing matcha tea instead of hot apple cider. You can drink it “black” or add a splash of almond or coconut milk and a little honey. See our festive Matcha Mojito recipe below!
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black tea and sugar and a live culture. You could compare the fermenting process to making sourdough bread. With sourdough bread, you always have to mix a starter into the dough and let it grow. To prepare kombucha, you brew black tea and sweeten it, and then add the starter (which is called a SCOBY). You let it sit in a cool dark place for 5 – 7 days and then you can remove the SCOBY and drink it. The fermentation process makes the kombucha slightly carbonated and tangy.
Although it’s recently gotten popular enough to have many brands in the grocery stores, kombucha has also been around for centuries, much like matcha.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
- High in antioxidants that support and boost the immune system, and can help reduce inflammation.
- The SCOBY and fermentation process makes kombucha full of probiotics, which supports a healthy gut.
- Contains B vitamins, including B12, which can contribute to mental wellbeing.
- Antibacterial effects against infection-causing bacteria.
- Can help lower triglycerides and regulate cholesterol for a healthy heart.
- Glucaric acid helps support the liver’s detoxification process.
- Because it is traditionally brewed with black tea, it does contain caffeine.
- The fermentation process leads to a .5% alcohol content, which could be more if brewed for longer.
Buy a bottle of kombucha instead of a bottle of soda.
For Your Holiday Parties
Try these trendy drinks in one of these recipes for a festive healthy drink during your holiday party. (Or just on a Tuesday!)
Cranberry and Pear Spritzer
Makes 4 servings
32 oz kombucha (raw gingerade kombucha is suggested)
1 cup cranberries (halved if desired)
1 pear, sliced
4 fresh rosemary sprigs (for garnish, optional)
Divide the kombucha into 4 glasses. Add cranberries, pear, and rosemary. Enjoy!
Makes 1 serving
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 cup water (160 degrees F)
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp lime juice
2 lime slices (plus extra for garnish)
3 – 4 mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
In the serving glass muddle the lime slices and mint. In a separate cup, brew the matcha in the hot water and whisk, add the maple syrup and stir until dissolved. Combine all in the serving glass with ice.