The world is waking up. More people than ever are waving goodbye to fast and processed foods in favor of natural and healthy products. Everyone is aware of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, thanks in large part to our parents reminding us every single day throughout our childhood before allowing us to leave the table. “Eat your vegetables,” is a common saying in many households, but… “eat your tea”? Green tea to be specific. The saying might not catch on but the act of eating green tea, in addition to drinking it, is at an all-time high.
Benefits of Green Tea
Many people classify green tea as a superfood because of its wide range of positive effects on the body, mind, and overall well-being. Studies show that green tea can increase your metabolism, which in turn elevates the body’s ability to burn fat. In fact, green tea is the active ingredient in a variety of weight loss supplements. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants, which is generally agreed to reduce the risk of cancer and even to slow the growth of existing tumors. Other benefits, with varying degrees of effectiveness across many studies, include increased brain function, healthier skin, lower risk of heart disease and even reduced stress.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could take all of these benefits and double them, triple them or even more? Matcha is a special type of green tea that is grown in the shade and then stone ground into fine powder, using the best parts of the leaf, causing the healthy ingredients to become concentrated. The powdered form also makes it more versatile for use in recipes since it can easily mix with other ingredients.
Green Tea in the Kitchen
1. Ice Cream
What better way to start off a list than with one of human kind’s most favorite treats? Even though ice cream isn’t the healthiest thing in the world it can help your conscience knowing that you’re getting many important nutrients. This is especially true if you opt in for a health-conscious, dairy and sugar free ice cream option.
Start off by using a coconut rough ice cream recipe and add 1-2 tablespoons of matcha green tea (adjust according to taste) to the mixture and continue as normal. Your ice cream will now be a beautiful shade of green with a hint of delicious green tea flavor.
2. Chocolate Energy Balls
With so many people having busy schedules these days, it’s essential to have enough energy to complete your huge list of daily tasks. It’s far too common for people to head to their nearest convenience store and purchase a canned energy drink, loaded with sugar and empty calories.
A simple recipe is to add ¼ cup each of pitted dates and either almonds or cashews to a blender and mix well. Knead in ¼ cup of cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of matcha and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Roll into 10 balls and lightly dust with matcha powder. These chocolate matcha balls will give you that extra boost you need to power through the daily grind.
3. Baked Goods
Muffins, cakes and even cookies can reap the extra benefits from the powerful matcha green tea powder. No special instructions are required for this one but it’s best to start by using it with simpler recipes until you get a feel for how the flavor affects the overall taste.
Pro tip: Matcha is amazing when added to chocolate chip cookies or muffins. Try white chocolate chips for that extra little dash of elegance. All you need to do is add 1-2 tablespoons to the correct amount of flour for your chosen recipe. It’s that easy. This one is sure to impress your friends.
Smoothies are already an extremely popular beverage for those seeking a healthier lifestyle, and now they’ve just been kicked up a notch. Get all of the nutrients from your favorite fruits and vegetables along with the added antioxidizing properties of green tea. Instead of matcha powder this time, you’re able to prepare a smoothie by brewing regular green tea leaves.
A delicious recipe is to start off by brewing 1½ cups of strong green tea (if you’re using bags, use 2) and let it cool. Get out your blender and add 3 cups of frozen white grapes, 2 cups of baby spinach, 1 medium-sized ripe avocado and 2 teaspoons of honey. Add your green tea and blend until smooth and drink immediately. This recipe is ideal for before or after workouts.
These are just a few of the exciting ways to work with green tea in the kitchen. Try experimenting yourself to see what other new creations you can come up with. Add matcha to waffles, frosting, and even cocktails. Mix with foods that your kids love to make sure they have enough energy for the day and to maximize their brain’s performance. It’s thought to help with concentration, which is a big bonus for classroom learning. Use of green tea is only going to increase in popularity as more people learn about everything it has to offer. The best time to start is now.