Happy National Nutrition Month! I’m excited about this year’s theme of “Celebrate a World of Flavors,” which reminds us how flavors from cultures all around the world can be a delicious way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our own diversity! We are all individually unique with different bodies, different goals, different backgrounds, and different tastes. And as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I encourage people to create healthy habits that embrace the flavors of their heritage and inspire exploration of new foods as well.
I’m a second-generation Chinese American and one of my very favorite sweet treats is Milk Tea. It’s a tea-based beverage made with milk and its signature mark are the “bubbles” (aka chewy tapioca pearls also called “boba”). Whenever I visit a restaurant and see Milk Tea on the menu, I do not pass up the opportunity to order one! But Milk Tea can also be made healthier at home because you can control the ingredients.
Celebrate the Year of the Tiger and National Nutrition Month with my version of BROWN SUGAR MILK TEA. Make every sip count by using real dairy milk which provides 13 essential nutrients that are linked to increased immunity, bone and muscle health, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Cheers!
BROWN SUGAR MILK TEA
1 cup tapioca pearls (aka bubbles or boba) *, cooked
1 ¾ cups of water
2 Earl Grey tea bags (or other black tea)
1 teaspoon agave (or other sweetener of choice)
2 Tablespoons Brown Swerve
1 cup ice
½ cup 2% milk
*Note: You can purchase tapioca pearls at your local Asian grocer or online.
- Cook the tapioca pearls in a small pot per package instructions.
- While the tapioca pearls are cooking, begin brewing your black tea by bringing 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil.
- Once your water is boiling, allow your tea bags to steep for at least 4 minutes for a strong brew. (Steep longer for an even stronger flavor, if desired.)
- Add the agave to your brewed tea to sweeten it.
- Once your tapioca pearls are cooked through (they should be chewy), drain off most of the liquid, leaving just a little bit of tapioca water remaining in your pot.
- Add the Brown Swerve to your cooked tapioca pearls, stirring to melt in the sugar.
- Assemble your Brown Sugar Milk Tea in a cup, coating the inside of your cup with “tiger stripes” by drizzling ½ cup of the tapioca pearl mixture along the sides of your cup.
- Layer in the ½ cup ice, ¾ cup sweetened tea, ¼ cup milk, and enjoy with a smoothie or boba straw**!
Other Recipe Notes:
- **Smoothie straws can be found at your local grocer or online.
- One cup of water per one tea bag is a general rule of thumb, but you can adjust per your taste buds.
- You can also adjust both sweeteners in this recipe, the agave and/or Brown Swerve, to your liking.
- This beverage can also be enjoyed without the tea if preferred!
Lindsey is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and employee wellness expert in Franklin, TN. She graduated from the Dietetic Internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and prior to this, earned her B.S. in Human Ecology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a CDC Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach and past TN Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nashville Media spokesperson. Lindsey is passionate about helping people ignite the healthy that makes them happy and you can follow all her food-filled adventures at @themealplanningmethod.