by John Boitnott
IMAGE: Getty Images
The workplace has begun to replace the coffee shop for many American employees. People employed in an office where coffee is served often skip Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks to save a few bucks by indulging in the free brew.
While starting the day off with a cup of java is a perfectly acceptable practice, many employees return to the coffee pot time and time again throughout the day, filling their body with loads of caffeine, and potentially high levels of sugar if they choose to sweeten their beverage.
A hot drink or a beverage break while working is loved by many–and throwing out the coffee pot to improve employees’ health without replacing it with something equally as satisfactory isn’t advised. For seven healthy alternatives to serving coffee in the workplace that your employees–and their bodies–will love, try the following:
1. Kombucha Tea
You’ve probably heard about this one but don’t know too much about it. Kombucha is a type of yeast. When you ferment it with tea, sugar, and other flavors or ingredients you make Kombucha tea. While the benefits of Kombucha are debated, many claim that it is useful for treating memory loss, preventing cancer, helping with high blood pressure, and more.
2. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is the good alternative to coffee for those who can’t start the day without a cup o’ caffeine. Providing the same buzz that coffee gives, Yerba Mate is preferred by many as it’s packed with nutrients, too. Mate is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the celebrated South American rainforest holly tree. It is widely known for not having the heavy “crash” that coffee can bring. Another benefit of Yerba Mate is that it can be prepared and consumed in a variety of ways–hot, cold, with honey, in a tea infuser, in a French press, or even in a traditional coffee machine.
Most offices will have this available for you already. The teapot offers a very healthy alternative to the office coffee machine. Teas come in a myriad of forms and blends and can be drunk hot or cold. There is a massive selection of green, black, herbal, and specialty teas out there, many of which are caffeine-free and naturally sweet enough to pass on the sugar. Many teas are a well-known source of antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals.
4. Coconut Water
Tea and coconut water are two of the healthier drinks on the market growing in popularity the fastest. Coconut water is a clear, milky liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes and is chock full of rehydrating electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks.
5. Sparkling Water
While it’s not the most exciting beverage in the world, sparkling water can be a refreshing alternative to both coffee and water. Especially when flavored with natural, sugar-free, fruit extracts, sparkling water is delicious and hydrating. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace from Perrier to San Pellegrino.
6. Hot Apple Cider
Hot apple cider’s sweet tanginess offers its own unique pick-me-up in lieu of caffeine, and its soothing warmth is just as satisfying as that of coffee on a cold fall or winter morning. In addition to its natural sweetness, because apples are the key ingredient, apple cider offers health benefits not available in coffee.
Originally published on Inc, October 14, 2014.