Whether you love canned commercial energy drinks or hate them, you can probably agree that they’re overpriced. Plus, nobody likes a case of the caffeine jitters when you’re up late trying to cram for test or working third shift.
While giving up Monster and Red Bull sure helps out your wallet (and your body – scroll through energy drink ingredients, and you’ll find a cornucopia of preservatives, sugars and artificial sweeteners, and more), you’ll probably want some sort of alternative. Here’s the good news, though – you can make your own healthier energy drink with green powdered tea.
If you follow pop culture news even casually, you’re probably no stranger to the “miracle drink” trend – supermodel Miranda Kerr and actress Megan Fox are still swearing by the apple cider vinegar diet, and juice cleanses keep making short-lived comebacks.
But when you get some matcha and some tea and a collection of inexpensive other ingredients, you can create your own power drink – it’ll give you sustained energy, support clearer skin, and taste better than any of the energy drink brands you’ve tried (and taste much better than straight-up apple cider vinegar Megan!)
First, you’ll need to select your own energy drink ingredients. A lot of what you want in an energy drink comes down to personal preference, so you might want to do a bit of trial and error before settling on your dream drink.
To start, though, you can pick a brand and form of green tea and/or matcha that you like. Green powdered tea is popular because it’s easy to throw in the blender in a pinch, and it also can be mixed with cold water for an instant iced tea.
Picking Your Ingredients
There are some suggested recipes below, but the best way to make your ideal healthy green tea energy drink is to use ingredients that you love. Here are a few suggestions to consider the next time you’re at the grocery store:
All tea – especially green – goes with lemon. Plus, remember reading about the wonders of lemon water in the morning? It kickstarts better digestion and boosts metabolism. (It also works wonders for hangovers.) If you aren’t a plain lemon-water girl, you can just add it in your own tea energy drink.
Berries are delicious, they’re full of antioxidants, and they’ll provide you with complex carbohydrates that’ll keep you going long after that Monster has worn off. They also add a delicious touch of natural sweetness.
It’s true that honey is sweet, but a little bit of local honey each day can actually help ward off allergies. It works similarly to hyposensitization allergy shots – when you ingest local honey, you take in trace amounts of the kinds of pollen that are around where you live. You get used to them, and then your body won’t react as severely when your car is covered in that annoying greenish pollen dust. Plus, like berries, it adds a sweet kick.
Not everyone likes greens in a blended drink, but if you want your energy drink to keep you full and give you great and lasting energy, throwing in some greens is great. Kale is probably the most popular choice when it comes to smoothies. but if you want something savory and spicy, throw in some mustard greens (Be careful, though – when they’re fresh, they’re spicy!). Greens also have plenty of antioxidants and iron, and the amount of fiber in them means that you’ll stay full and stay energized.
Greek Yogurt or Protein Powder
Again, this comes down to personal preference, but if you want to make your energy drink a sort of all-in-one meal/energy booster, working in some protein can help you out in terms of nutrient profile, energy, and even texture. If you go with yogurt, Greek is your best bet. Regular yogurt is typically full of sugar and doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value. Greek yogurt has lots of protein, and it comes in low-fat and fat-free varieties, so you can get a ton of protein with little to no fat if you want. Some brands of Greek yogurt can be expensive, but the Food Lion/Harris Teeter/Target/Walmart brands are all inexpensive and still offer the same nutrients. Plus, when you use yogurt, you can benefit from probiotic cultures as well.
Apples and Bananas
Bananas are a very popular smoothie fruit – they add texture and support a pleasant consistency. They’re also somewhat flavor-neutral, so you can build the flavor you want around a banana-based drink. Plus, there’s a reason bananas are a favorite of athletic events – they’re cheap and provide great sustained energy. They may be a bit carby, but in terms of the hierarchy of carbs, they’re up there with the high-quality ones.
Apples, on the other hand, aren’t usually what comes to mind when you think about making a smoothie or energy drink. But they can make some truly delicious drinks – try an apple blended with cinnamon with some green tea and Greek yogurt!
Cinnamon and Cocoa
Maybe you wouldn’t use these in the same drink (or maybe you would), but they can add health benefits and flavor. Cinnamon helps you effectively use your insulin and supports a faster metabolism, which is always good. And cocoa powder offers the antioxidant power of dark chocolate without all the fat and sugar. Plus, chocolate works similarly to caffeine, so it can give you that three-p.m. energy boost we all need.
Just Do It!
Essentially, while we all probably enjoy an occasional trip to Starbucks or one of our favorite energy drink brands, there are plenty of cost-effective, healthier ways to make something just as delicious. Try experimenting with some of these ingredients and some of your own. You’ll be feeling healthier and more energized soon!
Have you tried one of these energy drinks? Let us know in the comment section below.