Children's tea or lemonade?
The temptation in our home is always great. Our children love to have a nice full glass of apple or orange juice after school. Usually, however, it does not stop at one glass.
I always knew that soft drinks and fruit drinks are full of (added) sugars. Inquiries on the website of the Nutrition Center show that a glass of apple juice already contains 115 kcal or 26 grams of sugar. Which is equal to 6.5 sugar cubes!
If you compare this to tea, there are only 0 calories in the same amount of glass of tea.
The choice seems to be made quickly. However, not all teas are suitable for (young) children. Below I try to explain the (health) benefits of tea or herbal blends for children.
Is tea healthy?
It is well known that tea offers many health benefits to adults. Examples of this are:
- Tea strengthens the immune system and supports health due to the many vitamins and minerals it contains.
- Tea also contains natural polyphenols. These are so-called antioxidants that fight against harmful influences that can threaten health. The so-called radicals. It can be argued that green and white teas are richer in polyphenols than black teas.
- In addition, tea lowers bad LDL cholesterol. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Tea also has a positive effect on the metabolism. This is stimulated by tea, which burns more calories.
- Another effect of drinking tea is to keep blood sugar levels low, which could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
All in all, many positive qualities when it comes to adults.
But is tea also so healthy for children?
You would think that the health benefits for adults also extend to children, and by and large they do. However, what is important to know is that real tea contains caffeine.
Whether it's white, green, yellow, black or oolong tea, tea simply contains caffeine. Of course, certain teas will contain more caffeine than others, but caffeine is in them anyway.
In the case of tea, caffeine is also called theine. For example, green tea contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine per cup. (with coffee this is 75 milligrams)
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means that when you consume it, you get a boost of energy. It has this effect on both children and adults. Small amounts of caffeine can make you more alert, but too much can cause side effects.
Because children are smaller, small amounts of caffeine can cause negative effects. Too much caffeine can lead to:
- nervousness, upset stomach, headache, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, faster heart rate and higher blood pressure.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, we recommend limiting your tea consumption to a few cups a day.
We recommend that children up to the age of 12 drink little or no 'real' tea, but let them enjoy caffeine-free rooibos tea, herbal blends or fruit blends.
In addition, our rooibos, herb and fruit blends do not contain any artificial fragrances, colors or flavors. So pure nature!
Is Rooibos suitable for children?
Although Rooibos tea is officially not a tea (this honor is only reserved for the processed leaves of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis), Rooibos definitely deserves a place in every tea collection.
So why is Rooibos called tea? Because after harvest the leaf is actually processed in the same way as tea leaves and because the drink is prepared in the same way as the 'real' tea.
Rooibos itself is soft and mild in taste, slightly nutty and with a natural sweetness. If you let rooibos steep for longer, it will become full and rich, giving off a warm, woody and honeyed scent.
Rooibos is an incredibly versatile tea that goes well with most tastes and combines very well with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers.
Whether you combine rooibos and vanilla, add chai spice to rooibos or combine it with exciting fruits such as mango or dragon fruit, rooibos gives them a stage and let these flavours shine without losing themselves.
Because rooibos contains little tannin, it will not become bitter, which can happen with green and black tea.
Is Rooibos healthy for children? Yes, of course!
Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and packed with antioxidants. The latter help the body fight free radicals. Rooibos is also said to help strengthen the immune system, balance sugar levels and have a calming effect in case of stomach and abdominal cramps.
Small children can therefore benefit from drinking rooibos for colic. You can start giving rooibos tea from the age of 6 months.
Is Herbal Tea Suitable for children?
Herbal teas and/or fruit teas are made from dried herbs and fruits and contain no caffeine. However, they are often full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and they have a stimulating effect on the immune system. Often mint, chamomile or ginger is used in herbal teas for children.
Benefits of Mint Tea
Mint tea can help soothe an upset stomach and relieve nausea, sore throat, cough, and motion sickness. It can also help relieve a stuffy nose from a cold or allergies.
Benefits of Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is effective in relieving stomach problems in both adults and children. It can also help relieve nausea.
Benefits of Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a calming tea and can help children relax and get ready for bed. It can also relieve nervousness.
Chamomile is related to ragweed and if your child is allergic to ragweed, it is better to avoid using chamomile. Also in case of a chrysanthemum allergy it is better not to drink chamomile tea.
Benefits of Fruit Tea
Fruit tea is an excellent alternative for children to sugary drinks such as soda or juice. Red fruit, forest fruit, peach or citrus teas are very popular with young children. And fruit tea can be very tasty not only warm but of course also cold, as iced tea.
How do you steep children's tea?
In general, you make tea for an adult in the same way as for a toddler or young child.
My experience, in the tea rooms and at home, is that toddlers and young children enjoy tea differently than adults. Most children prefer teas that are weaker and cooler.
My tips for brewing children's tea are:
- Read the ingredients of the herb and rooibos blends to be used carefully. Your child may be hypersensitive to certain ingredients.
- Let the tea cool down (room temperature or lukewarm) before children drink it. Also, do not overfill the teacups and make sure the teapot is out of reach.
We ourselves use kettles with a built-in thermostat in the tea rooms and at home. This allows you to set the temperature very precisely. For my daughters I set the temperature at 40ºC. Then I just brew the tea in the same way as normal (5-8 minutes for rooibos and herbal blends). During this period, the tea has cooled down to such an extent that your children can drink the tea immediately. Also, the tea is not as strong because of the lower temperature of the water.
- Make no more than 3 cups of tea per day for your child. This prevents them from being overexposed to herbs.
My advice for children's tea
The advice is not to offer herbal teas and fruit teas until the age of 2 years. Always read the ingredients list carefully to avoid any herb, spice or fruit that could cause an allergic reaction. In this context, it is not recommended to give herbal tea to children younger than 6 months.
Would you also like to buy a nice children's tea?
The Smallest House has put together a nice selection from the extensive loose tea collection in the tea shop that is suitable for children.
Our top 5 by tea variety for children is as follows:
- Rooibos Super Grade (organic)
The traditional pure Rooibos, without any other additives. This Rooibos has a very soft taste, slightly woody with a nice honey-like aftertaste and notes of vanilla. Also highly recommended drinking cold.
- Rooibos Raspberry Vanilla (organic)
This Rooibos is organically grown in South Africa and supplemented with real pieces of raspberry and vanilla. Very soft and sweet in taste. Also suitable to drink as iced tea.
- Rooibos Apple
A Rooibos with apple and rose petals. A great alternative for children who love apple juice. Also delicious to drink before bedtime.
- Rooibos Dragon fruit (organic)
Again another pleasant organic Rooibos with, among other things, dragon fruit and real pieces of candied ginger. Very fruity and sweet in taste. Our daughters love it, but I can imagine that it is just a bit too intense for some children because of the presence of ginger. The longer you let the tea steep, the more pronounced the ginger taste becomes.
- Rooibos Mango Lime
A Rooibos with real pieces of Mango, lime and cardamom. A sweet and fresh summer tea. A very popular tea even among adults. Also suitable for making iced tea.
Herbs - Fruit Tea:
- Fruit Festijn (organic)
An organic fruit tea full of pieces of strawberry, raspberry and apple, richly supplemented with vanilla. The sweet-sour notes are complimented by the mildly warm notes of vanilla. Also a delicious alternative to the traditional iced tea.
- Cloister Garden
Perhaps one of our most special herbal/fruit blends that our tea shop knows. A tea richly filled with sweet banana pieces, carrot, lavender and mint. At first sight it may seem a strange composition, but once drunk, most children do not want anything else.
- Chamomile blossom
The real flowers of the chamomile plant can be found in this tea. The chamomile tea has a sweet honey-like taste. The tea has a calming effect for both children and adults.
- Forest fruits
A beautiful and healthy alternative for children who love forest fruit lemonade. No sugars have been added to this tea. Be careful! If you let the tea steep for too long, the hibiscus present can become overpowering.
- Ginger Pear (organic)
Although the name of this organic tea suggests that the emphasis is on ginger and then pear, in reality this is not the case. As soon as you open the bag, the sweet summer scents meet you. These only get better once you've made them into tea. Also a welcome thirst quencher as an iced tea in summer!
For a large part of her life Kirsten has had a passion for entrepreneurship and tea. Since 2014, she has been combining this with her husband, Niels, in the tea specialty store Het Kleinste Huis (The Smallest House in Amsterdam). Kirsten likes to write about things that keep her busy (this doesn't have to be just tea!).