Host A Heart-Healthy Tea Party

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 55 comments

heart-healthy tea party

February is National Heart Health Month. Wouldn’t it be fun to promote awareness by hosting a heart-healthy Tea Party?

You could go all out, putting all the la-de-da and elegance that you can think of into the planning. This would include the dress-up, the hats, the flowers, fancy china, tablecloths, napkins, etc. It would be fun to pretend you’re Kate Middleton throwing a party for her royal in-laws.

None of this needs to cost a lot- it just needs to look impressive. A good Thrift Store would be able to provide anything needed for next to nothing. This would include table linens, dishes, serving platters, etc. Things wouldn’t need to match, it’s actually better if they don’t.

Of course, hosting a heart-healthy tea party means the focus is on food and drinks that are exactly that – heart-healthy choices. While scones, a traditional food could be served, they should be oatmeal scones served with light cream cheese (or yogurt cream cheese) instead of clotted cream, and topped with quick strawberry spread. (Recipes/Instructions later in this article).

heart-healtthy tea party

If you need inspiration, check out the gorgeous photos in this post about Afternoon Tea at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London, England.  http://www.safariontheblog.com/2015/01/afternoon-tea-at-the-sheraton-park-lane-hotel-london.html

Now let’s go plan a  Tea Party.

The details:

  • Set the date and the time – traditionally between two and five in the afternoon
  • Send out fancy invitations
  • Ask the guests – young girls love this one – to dress-up: dresses, hats and if available, white gloves. If boys or men are invited they should wear suits and ties
  • Plan the table(s) setting:
    • Tablecloths and cloth napkins
    • Flower arrangements – one bouquet divided into smaller ones is perfect
    • The dishes, again, nothing needs to match:
      • Tea Pots, Cream Pots, Sugar Bowl, Honey Bowl, Dish for Lemon Slices
      • Serving Dishes of all kinds
      • Cups and Saucers
      • Small Plates
      • Cutlery

The Tea:

It may be possible to buy a variety pack of herbal teas which will allow your guests to sample different kinds. They may prefer to drink regular black or green tea or be more adventurous and try the different herb teas or even a combination. Both black and green tea contain tannins which are good for heart-health.

One of the best herbs for general heart-health is hawthorn (the berries). Celestial Seasonings, available at any supermarket, includes hawthorn berries in several of their teas. For children rooibos tea is a pretty safe bet.

A great way to get used to drinking herbal teas is to mix them with regular tea. Ginger and  cinnamon, two spices that most people normally have on hand, are excellent heart-healthy choices. Try adding 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger to a pot of regular, chamomile or mint tea. Provide cinnamon sticks in place of spoons to stir the tea.

The Food:

Besides the spices mention above, oatmeal, fruit (apples, cherries), berries (red ones like strawberries and raspberries), nuts (almonds, walnuts), and dark chocolate all benefit the heart. None of those foods are exotic, hard to find or costly.

Some suggestions to get you started:

You get the idea – be fancy, be elegant, be hoity-toity. Present heart-healthy food and drink, then simply enjoy.

Talk to you again next week,

Lenie

Girls Tea Party Photo by antiqutea.com.au

55 Comments

  1. Sounds like fun! I will have to look for hawthorn berries in tea. We already have a wide selection, though my daughter and I both prefer green tea with mint. Rooibos tea is one we often have available.

    • Hi Leora, I love trying different herb teas but like you I tend to come back to favourites. Growing my own herbs, I do tend to use them to make the tea and I enjoy the ritual. Goes to my childhood I guess where my mom always took time to prepare the tea – most kinds are even better with a few chocolates to dunk.

  2. Great idea, Lenie. And your suggestions about what to serve are good too. As long as people don’t serve cakes and cookies that is. Sugar and fat is after all not good for the heart:-)

    • Catarina, if a little thought goes into the planning, it really isn’t necessary to add the cakes and cookies. There are a lot of healthy alternatives.

  3. Can’t think of anything more fun than a healthy tea- party…or just a tea party in general. I find this custom to be so civilized! And I love cucumber sandwiches!!! Happy Heart Month Lenie!

    • Jacquie – I think we need to do all we can to help promote health awareness days and if we can make it fun, we’ll naturally be more successful. I love the cucumber and salmon sandwiches too, although the strawberries dipped in chocolate aren’t bad either. Happy Heart Month to you too.

  4. Last year when I was visiting with my son and his family in Seattle, my daughter-in-law treated us for girls to a tea party at a only tea and crumpets kind of restaurant. It was as you suggest we think if we host our own Heart-Healthy tea party – fancy, elegant and for SURE hoity-toity. Oh, it as not necessarily heart healthy! How can that work for a 4 year old and 9 year old if they cannot sprinkle their iced cupcake and hot chocolate with their favorite sprinkles! Thanks Lenie.

    • Pat, I’ll bet you had a great time. It really is fun to go all out once in a while, isn’t it. I’ll bet the grand-daughters loved it. I don’t know of any place around here that puts on tea and crumpets – I’m thinking Tim Horton’s is missing a bet by not hosting such an event . maybe they’ll read this and try it next year LOL

  5. What a fun idea. A heart-healthy tea party. The recipes all look good.

    • Donna, I really think we all need to do our part in helping promote health awareness days and this just seemed a fun way to do it.

  6. Awesome idea! Such creative way to celebrate without the risk to hurt the heart.

  7. Hearts and flowers… can they ever be too far apart? Certainly not in this sweet post Lenie. Look at all those pink and pretty little girls, with flowers and bows everywhere. How lovely to set their toes dancing on the path to a happy and healthy heart.

    • Christine, I can see why you’re such a great storyteller – what a lovely comment. Glad that the picture of the little girls caught your attention as it did mine. Aren’t they just glowing with joy?

  8. Oh, what fun, Lenie! I don’t have any little girlfriends anymore but my big girlfriends and I love tea parties. I love herbal tea the best.

    • Hi Beth, I just thought it would be a fun way to support an important program. Looking at the little girls in the photo, they sure look like they’re having fun and why not…….playing out your fantasy, who doesn’t like that?

  9. Lenie, love that you used Chin We’s blog post from last week as a catalyst for your’s this week. Inspiration is everywhere.

    • You’re right Kire – ChinWe’s post was a lovely post that added a great deal of background to mine. That’s what so great about our group. Inspiration and knowledge abounds.

  10. Hi Lenie! My girls would love this! I’ve never heard of Rooibos tea. I’ll have to google that. 🙂 I’ve been thinking of replacing my coffee with tea because I just can’t drink coffee without the creamer and that stuff is loaded with chemicals! Tea and honey would be a healthier alternative.

    • Hi Angela – hosting a healthy tea party for your girls would be a great way to introduce you and them to herbal teas and healthy snacks. And think of the fun you could have. You’ll find though that a lot of herb teas actually do not need sweetener. Let me know if you decide to go ahead with it.

  11. A heart-healthy tea party is such a fun and lovely idea. No reason to host one only in February, any time of year would be great and over time, other low fat desserts could be added and recipes shared, etc.

    • Oh Michele, I like the idea of the recipes shared – host a healthy tea party and everyone has to supply either a healthy tea or homemade food that comes with the recipe. Once you got started it could really be expanded.

  12. Hi Lenie, I used to love playing tea party as a girl and hosting all my friends for make believe tea and pastries.. Can’t get much healthier than that. 🙂 as an adult I love a real tea party with all the fun and planning that goes into it. With some thought a healthy spread can be provided.

    • You’re right Susan, those make believe pastries sure were good and also healthy. It really is surprising, as you would know, how many yummy healthy choices there are or how easy it is to adapt foods to make them healthier. I had fun putting this post together because I just kept pretending I was setting up the real thing – la-de-da and all.

  13. Sounds like an interesting and creative way to educate people about heart healthy eating choices.

    • Ken, I did event planning and fundraising for years. If you want to grab people.s attention you need to offer them something different. So I did.

  14. Hi Lenie,
    My granddaughter is 3 1/2 and she and I have our own little tea parties with a teeny bit of red Chinese tea with goji berries and a frozen strawberry! Tasty and very pretty. I enjoy this little gal so much! I look forward to the great fun it’ll be when she invites friends over for dress-up “tea parties.” I’m smiling at the thought. Thanks for your great suggestions.
    Ramona

    • Hi Ramona, aren’t grandchildren fun? I don’t see ours near enough – they all live quite a distance away. So glad you’re able to enjoy yours as much as you do. Keep on partying.

  15. Lovely idea Lenie, a heart-healthy tea party. Smart way to educate people. I love herbal tea! Thank you so much for using my blog post. Happy heart Month Lenie. Hugs from London.

    ChinWe

    • Hi ChinWe
      It was my privilege to add your blog post to my post. It added some great value and background that made my post better so no thanks are necessary. Hugs rights back at you from your Canadian friend.
      Lenie

  16. Love ,love, love this! I attended graduate school with a woman from the UK and in the middle of the afternoon she’d stop working and take time for tea. We worked together on a research project and the first time she stopped for tea I thought she was nuts taking time off from finishing the job. I decided to join her and it was so revitalizing! An added benefit was we worked better as a team because of our afternoon socializing.

    • Pamela, I took a year off from everything when I was sixteen to stay home and help my mom. Besides the wonderful bonding, one of my precious memories of this time was afternoon tea, always served in china cup and saucer with one or two dutch chocolates on the side. I guess that’s one of the reasons tea-time just seems special.

  17. Ohhh Lenie. Tea with scones and finger sandwiches is something I will never turn down. Love the idea of it all. As a kid in NZ we always used to have tea parties and make huge bowls of whipped cream to put on fake scones. Not very heart healthy but so good 🙂

    • Tim, the things we ate as kids are no longer good for us but at the time, with the active lifestyle we led, I don’t really think it did us much harm. Tea Parties just seem to have something so classy about it, you just have to feel good. Course the food I listed tastes pretty darn good, even without the whipped cream.

  18. Wonderful idea Lenie, hosting a tea party! I can see the floral dresses when I just close my eyes…

    • I know Eve. It’s so easy to let your imagination soar with this. I am kind of keen on the big hats – love those.

  19. What a fabulous idea and such brilliant suggestions for food and drink. It’s always good to have alternatives of ways to come together & celebrate just being alive and not have alcohol necessarily the focus

    • Hi A.K. I think more awareness needs to be raised about heart disease – this just seemed a fun way to do it. And with the heart healthy foods that are available you certainly don’t need to feel deprived.

  20. Oh Lenie I love this idea! I’ve been blessed with opportunities to have high tea in various luxury hotels around the world and it has always been something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but it never occurred to me to organize a tea party at home. What a special treat!

    • Hi Marquita, I think it would be fun to have one at home. Here we are in the middle of snow so having it outside is out but you could make it a garden party – please invite me, that would be so fun.

  21. I’d love to attend a tea party with you, Lenie!

    Those little girls are so cute!

    Don’t forget that serving pure, dark chocolate is perfectly acceptable at at heart healthy tea party, as pure chocolate is actually good for the heart! Enjoy!

    • Hi Doreen, I was actually thinking of you when I added the strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Both of them are good for the heart and how yummy. (Guess I should have added the Guinness truffles).

  22. Hi Lenie

    Having a heart healthy tea party sounds fun.

    Never had one before. So this certainly is a great post.

  23. Heart month is important to me — I used to serve on the Board of the New York Affiliate of the American Heart Association and started its first Woman and Heart Disease initiative. Many woman don’t know that heart disease is the leading killer of women. With the Go Red for Women campaign, the message is finally getting out but we all need to be aware of the major risk factors for heart disease: being overweight, stress, high blood temperature and smoking — plus high cholesterol. So a tea party for youngsters is a good way to start them learning proper eating habits early in their lives.

    • Hi Jeannette – Like you, I feel strongly about the importance of spreading awareness about heart disease – especially in women. When I was working I collaborated quite often with our local Heart and Stroke Foundation – I was even a VIP serving soup at their fundraising soup kitchen, that was fun. I guess that’s why I think raising awareness should be fun – you grab way more attention that way. BTW – the Tea Party was also planned for adults.

  24. What a lovely idea, Lenie! I especially like the part about scouring thrift stores for a variety of tea cups and linens. My daughters would love to put on a tea party like this!

    • Meredith, when I found the picture of those little girls, I thought you would appreciate it. If the party was going to be for young girls I was even going to suggest they do the Thrift Store shopping. Can’t you just hear the giggles when they find something they consider la-de-da?

  25. As much as I enjoy a basic black tea like “English Breakfast” or “Irish Breakfast”, my favorite tea is a smoky Chinese tea called lapsang souchong, which I heartily recommend to one and all.

    • You know Andy, I have had all kinds of tea, including many different herbal ones but I’ve never had lapsang souchong – read about it many times and have always wanted to try it. This seems like as good a time as any.

  26. What a great idea Lenie. I love afternoon tea, but I’ve never held one at home. 🙂

  27. I love ginger tea as well as licorice tea (which can be bad for the heart if you have high blood pressure, but luckily my blood pressure is pretty good!) I’ve never had a tea party but it seems like a fun idea! i think it would be fun to do here in Los Angeles where everyone is so casual. Nobody ever asks you to show up in your fancy clothes!

  28. Wow Lenie! Now that is a cool idea.

    Health comes first! And can there be a better way to promote this!
    Way to go.

    Some small tips and brief lectures on healthy lifestyle can add spark to the event.

    Thank you

    • Hi Tuhin – thanks for sharing your tips – you’re right. That could be expanded to sending guests home with some heart-healthy information, some of the heart-healthy recipes and a few tea bags. Simple things that could make a huge difference.

  29. Amazing post Lenie

    I am sure many like me will get help from the recipes and your suggestions. I always try to use disposable plates, cups etc so its always easy to clean after such parties. I always try new flavors of teas in parties and if I like then I try at home as well. 🙂

    Thank you for great recipes.

  30. The healthy tea party sounds like a good time.

  31. Love tea parties with scones and cakes. Your recipes are so creative.