The Power of Cranberries

n_cranberriesNational Eat a Cranberry Day is coming up on November 23rd. What better time to celebrate cranberries than a few days before Thanksgiving? Cranberries are a trademark for the Thanksgiving holiday feast and many other holiday celebrations.  Today, I encourage you to eat a cranberry (or a couple) and create amazing recipes that focus on cranberries as the star of the show!  Who knows, maybe a recipe you create today can be a test run for your Thanksgiving dinner or dessert.

 

Cranberries are a great way to make any ordinary day or holiday feast nutrient-packed, and have recently gained popularity due to nutrient content and antioxidant qualities.  They are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber. Vitamin C can work wonders this time of year as it is a powerful antioxidant and can boost your body’s resistance against infections and boost your immune system.  Fiber is known to keep you satisfied, and full.  This can be a blessing during the busy holiday season where you find yourself with less time to prepare meals. Increasing your daily fiber intake has also been linked to lower risks of stroke, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Vitamin E is associated with helping the immune system function properly, and preventing or delaying the onset of chronic disease due to its antioxidant properties.

 

So how can you celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day? I have to be honest here – popping one of these berries into your mouth is probably not the best way to enjoy them!  Cranberries are very sweet, tart, and bitter all at the same time.  But, the unique characteristics and tastes this berry has to offer make it an excellent ingredient for many food creations and holiday treats. Cranberries can be used to make desserts, drinks, sauces, jellies, and breads!  I am sure there is a cranberry creation that is just right for your family.

 

If cranberry sauce will be served at your Thanksgiving dinner table, I encourage you to make your own this year.  It will make a world of a difference in freshness and taste! The great thing about cranberry sauce is that the leftovers can be strategically and creatively used.  The day after turkey day, treat yourself to an antioxidant packed lunch.  Use a whole wheat wrap layer the leftover turkey.  Use the cranberry sauce as a condiment instead of using high fat alternatives.  Leftover turkey also makes for a great turkey salad! If you did not prepare your own cranberry sauce this year, no worries.  Shred turkey and mix with low-fat mayonnaise, walnuts and dried cranberries.  Eat over a salad or spread on crusty bread.

 

Are you more of a baker?  There are tons of excellent healthy homemade irresistible bread recipes that incorporate cranberries.  What about adding dried cranberries to classic banana bread?  Cranberry-pecan bread has always been a personal favorite of mine.  Cranberry muffins or scones are also an alternative to breads if your family is more into easy grab-and-go options.  So do some research and get creative!

 

Make this holiday season special and unique by incorporating this nutrient super food for your upcoming Thanksgiving feast.

 

Your Turn to Take Action:  How do you best like to cook with cranberries?

 

 

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