Some people have expressed interest in trying to eat a bit healthier while we have this break between thanksgiving and Christmas and I’ve felt the same way. My solution? Dessert tea! My biggest vice is desserts. I may be a dietitian but that doesn’t mean I just lost my taste buds or all of my bad habits when I became a dietitian lol So I recently found these dessert inspired teas by tazo and I am obsessed.
They currently come in 3 different flavors; butterscotch blondie, glazed lemon loaf, and vanilla bean macaron. And they have been lifesavers at the end of the day when I’m craving something sweet but don’t want to stuff my face with more desserts.
The vanilla bean macaron is a black tea with notes of vanilla and cinnamon and a hint of sweetness. I prefer my tea with milk to add extra sweetness and creaminess but it isn’t necessary as this tea is super flavorful and pretty sweet on its own. I’m not sure I immediately think of “macaron” with this flavor but it is sweet and indulgent enough to tame my sweet tooth and keep me from reaching for things I shouldn’t be eating. This one does have a little caffeine so if you are sensitive to that, it might be better to drink this one earlier in the day.
The glazed lemon loaf has an herbal tea base (green roobios) with a mix of orange peel, chamomile, rose petals, licorice root, and ginger. This one goes far beyond your average lemon tea and it has a subtle sweetness that really does bring to mind a lemon cake. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked this one as much as the others because lemon for me is more of a summer flavor and it is snowy and winter-esque right now. But the more I drank this one, the more I enjoyed it. It’s amazing any time of year. Definitely recommend if you love lemon.
Last but certainly not least, butterscotch blondie! Not to play favorites but this was definitely my fave of the bunch. Black tea base with a subtle butterscotch flavor and hints of vanilla. This one also had a nice sweetness to it so it felt like I was indulging without actually splurging. Although this tea is delicious on its own, my favorite way to enjoy it is with a little milk and a splash of decaf coffee. A dirty butterscotch blondie, if you will. Ok, maybe not. That name just sounds wrong lol But the tea adds a really nice flavor to the coffee without having to turn to artificial creamers.
And speaking of coffee, I recently received a request from one of my followers to discuss the pros and cons of coffee so I thought this would be the perfect time to do a little comparison between coffee and tea.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants and research indicates that 3-5 cups of coffee on a daily basis can serve up to 60 percent of your daily antioxidant intake requirement. Plus, coffee (and tea) can actually contribute to your daily water intake. However, this only applies If you are having three cups or less per day. The antioxidant and other benefits of coffee and tea outweigh the slight diuretic affects of caffeine. However, anything beyond 3 cups will not count towards your daily water intake.
Other benefits of coffee:
- Drinking up to four 8oz cups per day may reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and developing type 2 diabetes by 25%
- Can help control symptoms of parkinsons
- Coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to develop liver cancer than non drinkers
- Great source of antioxidants. Up to 1000 are in the actual coffee beans and up to 300 more are added during the brewing process
So that all sounds great, right? What about the downsides of coffee? Well, of course, as with anything else, there are some downsides. So I mentioned above that drinking up to 4 cups per day can help reduce heart disease, diabetes, etc etc. Well drinking more than 8 cups of coffee per day has the exact opposite effect and can lead to increased levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, result in excessive weight gain, and diabetes. So everything in moderation!
And here’s an RD tip for ya that I picked up: avoid adding milk to your coffee/tea. In tea, the proteins in the milk bind with the flavonoids in the tea thereby deactivating them. Adding milk to coffee lowers the absorption of certain antioxidants by up to 25%. Obviously I don’t always abide by this because, I mean, sometimes you just gotta live a little and add some milk to your coffee or tea. But I digress…
Ok, let’s talk tea! If you’re sensitive to caffeine but still need something to keep you wide eyed and busy tailed, tea is a great alternative! Here’s a breakdown of the caffeine content for tea and coffee per 8oz:
|American breakfast tea||60-90mg|
Matcha is especially a great alternative if, like me, you can’t tolerate coffee (sad face). It contains a natural substance called l-theanine (if you frequently shop at holistic or alternative medicine health stores you may have seen this in supplement form). L-theanine induces relaxation without drowsiness so matcha produces more of an “alert calm” as opposed to the caffeine shakes that you might experience with coffee.
So what exactly is matcha? It is basically a special form of green tea. Traditional green tea involves infusing the green tea leaves in hot water then discarding the leaves afterwards. Matcha, however, involves the entire leaves. They are made into a fine powder which means you are ingesting the entire leaves. Because of this you are getting not only a more potent flavor but also a more potent source of nutrients, including antioxidants called polyphenols. These have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer and have also been said to help with blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, as well as anti-aging. EGCG is one type of polyphenol in matcha that has specifically been shown to not only boost metabolism but also slow or halt the growth of cancer cells!
Not a fan of matcha? That’s ok, too! There are tons of other options out there. Black tea has been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides as well as increase HDL levels and antioxidant levels in the body. If anything, tea is also a great alternative to sugary juices, pops, starbucks drinks, etc. Here are some factoids to help you get the most out of your tea drinking experience:
- Steep often to reap the most benefits! It is best to drink tea several times throughout the day as opposed to just once to keep antioxidant levels in the bloodstream high!
- Health benefits of tea are the same whether tea is hot or cold
- Best to drink without milk as it blunts the effect of the antioxidants
- Better blood vessel function occurs within 30 minutes after drinking tea, especially green tea!
Before you go, I want to share one last thing with you! A fun tea infused custard recipe! I am a sucker for tea and for custard so I thought to myself “what if I could infuse the flavor of tea into my custard?” So that’s exactly what I did. I tried this “experiment” first with the glazed lemon loaf tazo dessert tea and it turned out so good! Light and refreshing with a hint of lemon.
I also tried this idea with a black forest tea I had on hand as well as the butterscotch blondie tazo tea and both turned out quite good! Disclaimer: I have only tried this with a few teas so it may not work with every tea. Feel free to experiment yourself and see what fun tea infused custard flavors you can make!
Tea infused custard
⁃ 1 cup milk
⁃ 1 tea bag in flavor of choice*
⁃ Pinch sugar (you can always add more at the end if need be)
⁃ 1 egg yolk
⁃ 1 tbsp cornstarch (for a latte, drinkable version leave this out)
*i have only tried this with a few tea flavors (pictured) so feel free to experiment with other tea flavors
In a small pot, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and steep tea bag for at least 10 minutes to infuse the flavor into the milk. Squeeze out tea bag into the milk before throwing away. Place pot back on low to medium heat and stir in sugar, egg yolk, and cornstarch. As mentioned above, leave out the cornstarch if you want a latte version. Stir until mixture thickens but be careful not to bring it back to a boil. If mixture is not thick enough, do not add more cornstarch directly to the pot. Instead, pour a little milk in a bowl and stir in a tbsp cornstarch until dissolved then add this to the pot. Once it starts to coat the back of your spoon, remove from heat and let chill in the fridge (I assure you this does not taste good while hot). Once cool, enjoy!