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Morning beverage?

madgreek Jan 31, 2008 05:58 AM

I would like to know if you can give me some recommendations for a good morning drink for my wife that doesn't have a ton of sugar, but still has some "pick-me-up" to it. She doesn't drink coffee or tea, an likes hot chocolate, but is looking for other options as well (she has only ever had Swiss Miss, btw). She's not much of an adventurous eater, but I can usually persuade her to try new things. I was actually embarrassed when she asked me if I could give a recommendation, because I am usually good at unique food ideas (unique to her at least).

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  1. m
    missfunkysoul RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 06:13 AM

    How about Yerba Mate?

    2 Replies
    1. re: missfunkysoul
      madgreek RE: missfunkysoul Jan 31, 2008 06:42 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion, but I fear it's too much like tea (which she hates). She'd love to have the health benefits of say, a green tea, but just can't stand the taste.

      1. re: madgreek
        Deepster RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 07:14 AM

        I drink a lot of hot apple juice/cider...100% juice, no added sweetners or other ingredients. Though I'm not much of a hot tea drinker either, at least on it's own, I do drink a lot of tea in the winter time using apple juice as the sweetner(2/3 tea:1/3 apple juice, or 3/4 tea:1/4 apple juice). You can heat the apple juice in the microwave to add to the tea. You can use regular tea, or decaff, or for me herbal teas, such as lavender, chamomille, peppermint, etc. I also often will have hot tomato juice or V-8. I buy neither. I make my own in the blender 1/2 gal at a time using low sodium canned products, organic whenever available. Hot milk with a tbsp(or to taste) of organic honey, and a drop of vanilla extract is also another favorite(you can also add a "chunk" or morsels of your favorite chocolate to this....again, to taste).

    2. Bat Guano RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 08:03 AM

      How about yogurt mixed with fruit and other stuff? I don't know if that's the direction she wants to go; really more like a meal than a drink, but if you add some brewer's yeast, for example, the B-vitamins really do give you a good pick-me-up without caffeine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bat Guano
        madgreek RE: Bat Guano Feb 1, 2008 02:54 AM

        I love yogurt! Unfortunately, my wife doesn't like it, or any similar fermented milk product, like sour cream, also she doesn't like cottage cheese cream cheese, ricotta, etc. It's a wonder she even likes milk-lol!

      2. b
        bellywizard RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 08:36 AM

        I like the hot cider idea! Lots of variations come to mind (cinnamon, maple, etc).

        Other ideas:
        1) vanilla drink: any kind of milk (dairy, soy, rice, almond) with vanilla extract and optional sweeteners (honey, splenda, molasses, maple syrup) - BTW: the last two sweeteners contain lots of healthy minerals
        2) chai isn't much like regular tea: make it with milk, and you've got a tasty treat
        3) grain drinks: like Horlicks, Inca, etc. They taste better than you'd think.
        4) banana cinnamon (great energy boost), or banana peanut: use any milk and add banana & peanut butter (and/or cinnamon), blend - and enjoy!

        1. hannaone RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 08:46 AM

          May be too sweet but there are quite a few varieties of "syrup teas" that can be found in asian groceries. These are not true teas, so do not have the tea flavor.
          These drinks are intended to be served hot.
          Some examples are
          Honey Ginger - semi spicy ginger and honey mix
          Citron - Light citrus flavor - can be sugar or honey for sweetener
          Honey plum - Plum and honey mix

          Some other asian options
          toasted barly
          toasted corn
          ginseng (not the ginseng/tea mix)
          han royal
          solomon's seal

          1 Reply
          1. re: hannaone
            Kholvaitar RE: hannaone Jan 29, 2013 06:03 AM

            I like the Ottogi Samhwa Honey Jujube Tea, found at HMart--

          2. ArikaDawn RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 01:16 PM

            Kefir is great in the mornings, and if blended with frozen blueberries, provides a good dose of antioxidants. It can also be blended with frozen strawberries, bananas, raspberries, etc. and is great with fresh when they're in season. If you don't want to go the smoothie route it can simply be sweetened with honey or agave nectar or flavored with vanilla. I actually really like it straight up at room temp. Chocolate soy milk is another option since she likes hot chocolate. I like the Silk Soy Slender which is lower in calories and fat, but my SO prefers the full fat version.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ArikaDawn
              piccola RE: ArikaDawn Feb 1, 2008 05:01 PM

              I was just going to suggest kefir. Or horchata (though probably not in the winter).

            2. s
              smarsh RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 02:41 PM

              This doesn't fit your low sugar requirement by any means, but it seems to fit right in with your wife's tastes. Swiss Miss now makes a hot chocolate with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. I think its called Pick Me Up.

              1. OCAnn RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 02:44 PM

                How about Gogurt or one of the other yogurt drinks?

                1. c
                  corgette RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 02:56 PM

                  I've been getting into homemade cocoa made with almond milk and a little sugar lately.

                  I also like to steep fresh ginger and lemon with a little honey. No caffeine, but it's a good pick me up.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: corgette
                    swissgirl RE: corgette Jan 31, 2008 03:02 PM

                    I like the Nestle Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate packets. Luckily, they are free at work and I add to my coffee.

                    The best part is the added calcium - I think it's 30% of RDA. And it tastes pretty good. Drinking it on it's own, you get a nice pick-me-up without the sugar crash later.

                    You can purchase this in canisters at the grocery store.

                    1. re: swissgirl
                      sunkissedbabe43 RE: swissgirl Jan 31, 2008 05:26 PM

                      Do you add the whole packet or just part of it? I'd never thought of that before and it's a really good idea. Does it taste kinda like a cafe mocha?

                      1. re: sunkissedbabe43
                        swissgirl RE: sunkissedbabe43 Feb 1, 2008 09:30 AM

                        I use half a packet per mug of coffee, which is about perfect. It is my version of a cafe mocha - I don't spend much money at or time driving to coffee places. Luckily, work provides the coffee and hot chocolate free. It's not gourmet but I like it.

                        In the 90s before the Starbucks phenom, a boyfriend got me to like coffee by adding hot chocolate mix, and milk. Since then, I've grown to like coffee on its own. But I do like Cafe Mochas, just not all of the sugar. The Sugar Free Nestle is the best sugar-free hot chocolate I've discovered (plus the calcium is a nice bonus).

                  2. im_nomad RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 03:06 PM

                    costo used to stock a low carb/sugar free protein shake mix that was a chocolate coconut flavour, and even though i'm not much of a milk drinker, i liked it.

                    1. p
                      Panini Guy RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 04:56 PM

                      If her only exposure to hot chocolate is Swiss Miss, might we also assume that her only exposure to coffee is via Folgers or Maxwell House (or instant?). If so, I'd suggest getting some good coffee and trying again. Like something from Intelligentsia or Stumptown or Counter Culture. About as big a difference between drinking jug wine and a 1er cru.

                      1. roma_girl RE: madgreek Jan 31, 2008 05:18 PM

                        I'm not sure if you only want hot beverages, but I have a glass of cranberry juice every morning. I get the ocean spray light (made w/splenda) so it is low in sugar. I find that the tartness helps wake me up.

                        1. c
                          currymouth RE: madgreek Feb 1, 2008 03:50 AM

                          Since giving up coffee as a morning starter, I have a glass of V8 juice, spiked with horse radish and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Works for me , but if she's not an adventurous eater it may be a hard sell.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: currymouth
                            piccola RE: currymouth Feb 1, 2008 05:01 PM

                            Looooooooove this. Though I usually do salt, lime and tabasco.

                            1. re: piccola
                              currymouth RE: piccola Feb 2, 2008 04:48 AM

                              I do the salt also, as well as hot sauce but tabasco is just too sour for me, have to try the lime next time. thanks

                              1. re: currymouth
                                piccola RE: currymouth Feb 2, 2008 10:15 AM

                                Well, it's just a dash of Tabasco. I'm not picky when it comes to hot sauce - I just try to keep it to one bottle/type at a time.

                          2. c
                            cimui RE: madgreek Feb 1, 2008 06:15 AM

                            How about Friendship Tea? It's a bit Sandra Lee, and something of a testament to my midwestern / southern upbringing -- but I still like it! There's not enough tea flavor for her to object to, probably, it's really pleasant served warm, and she'll get a bit of a pick-me-up from both the caffeine and sugar.

                            Recipes here: http://www.seedsofknowledge.com/frien...

                            Friendship Tea Mix

                            18 ounces Tang drink mix
                            1 cup instant iced tea
                            2 cups granulated sugar
                            1 package powdered lemonade mix
                            1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                            3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

                            Mix and place into a covered jar or other container. For hot tea mix 2/3 tablespoon to 1 cup of hot water. For iced tea mix substitute cold water and pour over ice.

                            p.s. This isn't particularly healthy, if you couldn't tell from the ingredients list...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cimui
                              jujuthomas RE: cimui Jan 29, 2013 06:26 AM

                              my mother used to make a mix like this when I was a kid, altho I'm not sure she added lemonade mix. Anyway, we called it Russian Tea, and the OP could easily make it s/f, if his wife was willing to try it. :)

                            2. pepper_mil RE: madgreek Feb 1, 2008 06:21 AM

                              doesn't like black tea? How about cinnamon tea, cinnamon sticks boiled in water? (enjoying some right now, but it is evening so I spiked it : ) Can do the same with ginger

                              Here in China the to-go winter morning drinks are hot soy milk with sugar or to-go cups of congee that we slurp through a big straw.

                              1. morefuuud RE: madgreek Feb 2, 2008 11:26 AM

                                Might bust on the sugar content, but I grew up on Horlicks and Ovaltine as a warm morning drink for a pick me up during cold winters. Closer to her favouring hot chocolate, but she must like malt. We used to also dissolve either in a hot cup of tea, add a raw egg in it, stir it up and down the hatch ... but that's for another post ...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: morefuuud
                                  gnomatic RE: morefuuud Jan 30, 2013 12:27 AM

                                  Ovaltine from Asia or Switzerland (called Ovomaltine) isn't as sweet as the North American version.

                                  I think that is probably why Ovaltine is often made with sweetened condensed milk and hot water in Hong Kong.

                                2. Sra. Swanky RE: madgreek Feb 2, 2008 01:36 PM

                                  Fruit smoothies always hit the spot in the morning. A good combo is pomegranate juice mixed with orange, add strawberries or blueberries, ice and blend. Very healthy and lots of anti-oxidants too.

                                  One drink that I sometimes make in the morning is hot caramel milk - delicious - and a nice change from hot chocolate. It does have a 4 tsp of brown sugar however - but that's not too bad in comparison to Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate! Heat some milk in a mug in the microwave. Add 4 tsp brown or light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Stir well and enjoy.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sra. Swanky
                                    chicgail RE: Sra. Swanky Feb 4, 2008 03:32 AM

                                    Smoothies are great.

                                    You/she might want to make them with some greens added for extra nutrition. It doesn't negatively affect the taste at all (although it can change the color a bit). Spinach (especially baby spinach) is a great way to start because it's so sweet. Beets and their greens are also a wonderful addition to fruit smoothie.

                                    Someone else mentioned miso which is another good morning option. You can make it from paste or buy it in instant packets (just add hot water!).

                                  2. p
                                    Pampatz RE: madgreek Feb 2, 2008 01:36 PM

                                    While I was undergoing chemo, DH would make me Earl Grey Tea with honey each morning to get me up. He would climb back in bed and we would watch the morning news and drink our tea together. The "together" is much more important than the tea. It's become a daily tradition now. In the winter sometimes he makes Mexican hot chocolate that's sweet and spicy.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pampatz
                                      Sra. Swanky RE: Pampatz Feb 2, 2008 02:15 PM

                                      I agree completely - the "together" far outweighs anything else. :o) Glad you both continue the tradition and best wishes for continued good health & wonderful moments.

                                    2. k
                                      Kinnexa RE: madgreek Feb 3, 2008 05:44 PM

                                      Celestial Seasonings makes a bagged tea called Roastaroma that was their caffeine-free answer to coffee in the '70s: roasted barley, roasted chicory, roasted carob, cinnamon, allspice, and Chinese star anise (that's right off the box). I like it with skim milk. It's not very spicy and doesn't really taste of cinnamon, and the more tea you use in the cup the stronger and richer it is. I have a huge Dunkin' Donuts travel mug at work, and I throw in a couple of Roastaroma bags and refill it with hot water and milk all night. Keeps me warm, but if I need to wake up I have diet AriZona green tea energy drink in the fridge!

                                      I also like cool drinks in the morning. 100% cranberry juice is great; also grapefruit juice (or any juice you like) mixed roughly half-and-half with seltzer. I tried cold coffee and seltzer once, but the Garb-All got most of it. I'll stick with juice!

                                      1. meatn3 RE: madgreek Feb 3, 2008 05:57 PM

                                        If she likes savory, try a simple miso soup. The dashi (dried mushroom/seaweed/fish broth) can be pre-made & reheated by the cup. Once hot, just stir in miso to taste. A very simple preparation & satisfying way to get going for the day. Good for her too! If she is new to miso, start with a lighter colored one - usually the lighter the color, the milder the flavor.

                                        1. m
                                          mm151 RE: madgreek Feb 19, 2008 10:57 PM

                                          I would say either a White Russian or a Screwdriver. Both are excellent moring drinks...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mm151
                                            jrvedivici RE: mm151 Jan 29, 2013 06:10 AM

                                            mm151 we my friend are cut from the same cloth

                                          2. k
                                            KevinB RE: madgreek Feb 19, 2008 11:48 PM

                                            OK, everyone will hate me for this but... ice cold Diet Coke. It's got snap and bite, a nice hit of caffeine, and the carbonation really cuts through the morning breath.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: KevinB
                                              foodiemommy RE: KevinB Feb 20, 2008 03:08 AM

                                              Kevin, you bring back fond memories of dragging myself to morning lectures, sitting in the back row and cracking open a Diet Coke. Great kick-start to the day. Nowadays it's ice water with lemon, and a good coffee a couple of hours later.

                                            2. jpr54_1 RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 06:16 AM

                                              Has your wife tried any of the other types of tea?
                                              or herbs
                                              mint, jasmine, lavender, rose, lemon verbena steeped .

                                              1. j
                                                jujuthomas RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 06:27 AM

                                                penzey's makes a great hot cocoa powder.

                                                1. m
                                                  MonMauler RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                  Category 1 (Preferable - Alcoholic):
                                                  1. Bloody Mary
                                                  2. Whiskey
                                                  3. Beer
                                                  4. Irish Coffee
                                                  5. Screwdriver

                                                  Category 2 (Not Preferred - Non-Alcoholic):
                                                  1. Coffee
                                                  2. Tea
                                                  3. Diet Coke
                                                  4. Water
                                                  5. Smoothie

                                                  1. s
                                                    shoo bee doo RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                    Lemon water or kombucha.

                                                    1. Ruth Lafler RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 03:39 PM

                                                      Why don't we try working backwards. What kinds of things does she like (i.e. favorite flavors and spices), and what kind of "pick-me-up" is she looking for?

                                                      As for tea, I wouldn't dismiss it entirely. There are all kinds of tea, and the flavor can vary a lot depending on how its brewed. Most people, for example, make the mistake of brewing green tea with boiling water, which makes it bitter. If you brew it with water that's hot but not boiling (130-160 degrees) it's much smoother.

                                                      Another option is to start with something that contains a small amount of tea and build up her taste. Something like a weak chai. I understand because there used to be almost no hot beverages I liked, but slowly developed a taste for fine teas.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                        jujuthomas RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 29, 2013 03:44 PM

                                                        Ruth has an excellent point. While I'm not a fan of black tea, I enjoy herbals quite a bit and find that mint tea provides a nice pick me up.

                                                      2. t
                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 06:44 PM

                                                        For a hot drink, something like spiced apple juice might work, or a blend of apple and cranberry.

                                                        Japanese Barley tea may be far enough away from tea to be worth while - it's got a light, toasted flavour, and is good hot or cold.

                                                        Flavoured milk, hot or cold? I'm thinking cinnamon, vanilla, orange, that sort of thing.

                                                        There's also herbal teas - peppermint, chamomile, etc, or ginger tea (aka hot water and ginger) which is an excellent warming winter drink.

                                                        1. Sra. Swanky RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 07:20 PM

                                                          How about Abuelita - the Mexican hot chocolate that Goya makes? The tablets come 6 to a package and melts very quickly in milk. A nice change from regular hot chocolate.

                                                          1. Jetgirly RE: madgreek Jan 29, 2013 07:30 PM

                                                            Every night I set my coffee maker to start at 5:45. I don't put any coffee in it. The carafe keeps the water hot for an hour- until 6:45, then it starts to cool down. I get up at 7:00 and put a teaspoon of honey and a slice of lemon in a mug, and top it with my hot water.

                                                            Here are 102 reviews of this drink, a la Paula Deen's recipe for peas.

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