I frequently have patients who comment that they drink “a lot” of sweetened iced tea when asked about their dietary habits. Many people think that iced tea is a somewhat healthy choice when compared to things like soda or energy drinks. While this is true to a certain degree, I am always quick to point out that sweetened tea has loads of sugar, often times to the tune of over 20 grams!
Whenever a patient tells me that they love sweet tea, I always encourage them to try and make fruit infused iced tea for a natural burst of flavor and sweetness without the addition of processed sugar. Although this may sound like some work, I can assure you it is very simple! Take a look at the basic recipe below and then the flavor combinations for some summertime inspiration!
Basic Unsweetened Iced Tea Recipe (Cold Brew Method)
72 Oz Container
8 Cups Of Water
9-10 Bags Of Tea or 6 Tablespoons Of Loose Leaf Tea (Black, Green, Or White)
Fruit/Herb Add Ins (see below for specific recipes)
Place water into a pitcher. If you are using loose leaf tea, place tea in pitcher or in an infusing strainer that will set inside your pitcher. If you are using tea bags simply place those in the water inside the pitcher. Add your fruits/herbs into the pitcher or the strainer that will fit inside your pitcher. Now place your pitcher into the refrigerator overnight, ideally 12-16 hours. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the flavor and the tea will be. Once the tea is ready, simply remove the infusing strainer or use a fine mesh strainer to pour the contents from your first pitcher into another pitcher, straining out the excess loose tea and fruit/herbs. If you used tea bags, simply remove the bags. Add ice to a glass and enjoy your flavorful but unsweetened/naturally sweetened beverage!
Unsweetened Ice Tea Flavor Combinations
*Note that all of these flavor combination recipes are based off of making an 8 cup pitcher of tea
5 Cups Blackberries
¼ Cup Fresh Mint
Directions: Puree blackberries in a blender. Strain the puree in a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, discarding (or reserve for baking) the pulp and seeds. Add the liquid juice and mint leaves (whole) to your pitcher of tea and water and leave in the refrigerator overnight to brew.
3 Cups Blueberries
3 Cups Frozen Acai (* note that frozen is the easiest way to buy acai however you will want this thawed into a liquid before straining it – see directions below)
Directions: Puree the blueberries and acai in a blender. Strain the puree in a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, discarding (or reserve for baking) the pulp/skin/seeds. Add the liquid juice to your pitcher of tea and water and leave in the refrigerator overnight to brew.
2 Cups Diced Pineapple
4 Cups Diced Mangoes
Directions: Puree the Pineapple and mangoes in a blender. Strain the puree in a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, discarding (or reserve for baking) the pulp/skin/seeds. Add the liquid juice to your pitcher of tea and water and leave in the refrigerator overnight to brew.
6 Passion Fruits
Directions: Slice open the passion fruits and scoop out the inside pulp. Place the pulp into a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice into a separate small bowl. Discard the pulp and skins. Slice in half and juice your lemon, adding the juice to the small bowl. Pour the liquid contents into your pitcher of tea and water and leave in the refrigerator overnight to brew.
4 Peaches, Peeled and Diced
1 Inch Piece Of Ginger Root, Peeled
Directions: Place diced peaches into blender and puree. Place the puree into a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice, discard (or reserve for baking) the pulp. Place the peach juice and ginger root (whole) into your pitcher of tea and water and leave in the refrigerator overnight to brew.
Now, sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy your ice cold glass of tea guilt free!
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California