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Standing in the middle of the grocery store isle, I am at a loss as to what to purchase as far as kid's drinks go. On one side of the spectrum, you have the MANY kid's beverages with icky ingredients while on the other side of the spectrum you have the really great organic stuff (like Little Me Tea, which IS totally awesome by the way) that costs way more than my bank account can afford on a regular basis.
You might be surprised by this, but we don't actually buy juice in our house anymore either. After learning about the arsenic levels in apple juice, I began to juice fresh juice for Syfy. Juicing is a great source of vitamins but it can be a bit pricey by itself, so I began to look for an herbal tea that I could add a bit of juice too. It took me some time to learn to blend some great herbal alternatives, that still tasted amazing to my kiddo, but didn't cost my pocket book too much. After some experimentation, I was able to replicate a delicious fruit punch that packs a super immune boosting punch too! This is pretty much his favorite “juice” and is drank daily in our house.
Kool-aid contains nasty ingredients that promote ADHD behaviors
We have never purchased Kool-aid, Hawaiian Punch, or Sunny Delight in our home, but that's because they are literally GMO fakes with absolutely no nutritional value to them. In fact, as I talked about in my post “Calm Your Squirrel“, “Many of the leading causes of [ADHD] symptoms are additives in our food. Artificial food dyes, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners have all shown to either create ADHD symptoms in a child without ADHD or exacerbate these symptoms in children with ADHD.” When you look at the Kool-aid labels, there is nothing natural about it. Kool-Aid's Grape Flavor Mix ingredients include:
Sugar, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Calcium Phosphate (Prevents Caking), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Blue 1.
With 5 tsp. of sugar per 8 oz. as well as artificial flavors and colors, Kool-aid is nothing but one big glass of ADHD.
Herbal tea that tastes like fruit punch and boosts the immune system
With practically every kid's drink on the market loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and artificial colors, it's enough to exacerbate any mother. Seriously, I have stood in the juice aisle at Whole Foods, wondering where I could find an affordable kid's drink that actually promoted health rather than taking away from it. After experimenting further with flavors in herbal teas, I was able to create an herbal tea that tastes like fruit punch and is chock full of vitamins and minerals that help to keep the immune system strong! The ingredients that I chose to put in this tea are not only tasty but each herb lends their own herbal value:
Raspberry leaf – Vitamin and mineral rich, raspberry leaf is the perfect base for this tea. With a very mild tea-like flavor, you can't even taste it within the blend. Raspberry leaf is rich in vitamins E, C and B-complex, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, magnesium, and manganese.
Hibiscus flowers – Due to its high vitamin C and antioxidant content, hibiscus helps strengthen the immune system and acts as an immunostimulant to help fight off colds and infections. Hibiscus is the herb in this recipe, that gives the tea the tart flavor and beautiful red color.
Orange peel/Lemon peel – Lemon peels are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, and beta-carotene. Lemon peels improve bone health too! Since they contain high amounts of calcium and vitamin C, lemon peels have been shown to aid preventing osteoporosis, inflammatory polyarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Orange peels also rich in vitamin C have been used to help treat coughs, colds, congestion, and even digestion issues. Both lemon and orange peels are great at fighting colds and boosting immunities.
Lemongrass – With its lemony flavor, lemongrass is another great herb to add to this fruit punch tea. Used to help with digestion, cold and flu symptoms, and even depression, lemongrass is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Rosehips – Another one of my favorite vitamin C rich herbs, one rosehip can have as much vitamin C as four lemons! With a sweet flavor to them, rosehips used to be made into a syrup that was given to children to supplement vitamins and minerals.
Chamomile flowers – Ahhhh the wonderful calming effects of chamomile. Not only is chamomile a wonderful digestive aid capable of soothing the ugliest of colic, but chamomile is also very soothing to the nerves to help calm and quiet the crazies! I sometimes feel like I am spiking my kiddo's juice by putting chamomile in it!
The Hippy Homemaker's Flower Child Refreshment Tea
I normally make this tea as a tea lemonade. You can mix all sorts of fruit juices with this tea, to make a delicious fruit punch that all the kids (and adults) are sure to love! Lemons and oranges are my two favorites because they have electrolytes in them and are chock full of vitamin C, helping to boost the immune system. I love to use this tea in my homemade jello, homemade gummy fruit snacks, and even in popsicles (which happen to be great when your kiddo's sick!)
LOOSE LEAF TEA INGREDIENTS
- 2 parts Raspberry leaf
- 1 part Hibiscus flowers
- 1 part Orange peel
- 1 part Lemon peel
- 1/2 part Lemongrass
- 1/2 – 1 part Rosehips (depending on how sweet you want the tea, you can experiment with how much rosehips you use to balance the tart of the hibiscus)
- 1/4 part Chamomile flowers (optional – I love to add this to my tea mix to give the kiddo a little bit of extra calming, plus it's great for digestion!)
FRUIT PUNCH INGREDIENTS
- 4 cups boiling hot filtered water
- 4 Tbsp. loose leaf tea
- 4-5 medium to large lemons (or 1 1/2 – 2 cups of another juice. You can substitute all sorts of fresh juice here, such as limes, oranges, apples, etc.)
- raw unfiltered honey/maple syrup/coconut sugar/stevia leaf to taste
- 1-gallon container (bigger or smaller is fine too, this isn't an exact science)
- ice and cold filtered water
- Combine loose leaf tea ingredients in a bowl and store in a sealed container when not in use.
- In the bottom of your gallon jug, steep 4 Tbsp. of the loose leaf tea blend, in four cups boiling hot water for 8-10 minutes.
- While tea is steeping, juice lemons (or other fruits).
- Strain tea and combine with fresh juice. Stir sweetener of choice into hot tea before adding ice cubes and cold water.
- Add plenty of ice and fill to the top with cold filtered water.
- Stir well, serve and enjoy!
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