Healthy Back to School Bites with Cranberries

If you’ve read our other blogs, by now you know it’s no secret that although we’re veggie-loving twin sisters, registered dietitians and personal trainers who are lucky to like a lot of healthy foods, we both also have a wicked sweet tooth that we work hard to keep in check.  Fortunately, we’ve got many strategies as wells as delicious, waistline friendly ways to satisfy our sweet canines that work for our clients, too!

One of our favorite, satisfying, healthy and most effective ways to squash a sweet craving is with treats made from fruit.  This actually is something we learned from our wholesome, plant-based, cook-everything-from-scratch mom, as she often served us desserts made from fruit and it worked like magic to quell our sweet cravings!  Apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as we do the same thing for Tammy’s daughters.  We find this technique to be especially helpful when the kids go back to school, as they always seem to come home from school and want a sweet treat for a snack.  One of our most requested after-school snacks is a Cranberry Smoothie which is a cool, delicious and healthy guilt-free snack that feels like a super indulgent treat.

And our clients who serve this to their kids feel good knowing that this nutritious, sweet-tooth satisfying snack fits perfectly with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend choosing nutrient dense foods packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other naturally occurring compounds that may improve health.  Cranberries, like in this Cranberry Smoothie, are the perfect example of a nutrient dense food, as they’re packed with naturally occurring unique health-promoting flavonoids called PACs.  Because of these nutrient superstars, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have made an exception for naturally tart, low-sugar foods, like cranberries, that may be sweetened to improve taste.  They explain that there is room in a healthy eating pattern for nutrient dense foods with added sugars, such as cranberries and rhubarb, as long as calories from added sugar are less than 10% per day.  In this smoothie, just a teaspoon of honey is added to each serving and it packs in the nutrients in just 150 calories—woot, woot!

 

 

 

 

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Cranberry Smoothie            

Serve this healthy, sugar-tooth satisfying alternative to sweets for an after school snack.  Or simply sip a serving of this for a healthy dessert.

Yield: 6 servings

 

Ingredients

2 cups frozen cranberries

2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt (try different yogurts, such as Greek yogurt)

2 cups 1% milk or almond milk

2 Tbsp. honey

2 tsp. vanilla

 

Directions

Mix in blender until smooth.

Nutrition Information Per Serving*: Calories 150, Calories From Fat 10, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 1g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 105mg, Total Carbohydrate 28g, Sugars 24g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 7g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 25%, Iron 0%

*With 1% Milk

Hungry for Cranberries at lunch? Your kids will gobble up this unique, sweet and savory sandwich!

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee

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Cranberries can be a great fit as part of a healthy lunch – like in this tangy chicken salad!

Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread

Makes 8 servings

Portion: ½ cup chicken salad on 1 flatbread roll

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries

⅓ cup 100% cranberry juice

½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (we suggest using nonfat Greek yogurt to keep the creaminess and up the nutrients and lower the fat)

⅓ cup fat-free poppy seed dressing

8 oz. grilled white chicken meat, diced

1 cup sliced celery

¾ cup thinly sliced scallions

2 cups shredded fresh spinach

8 flatbread rolls, split

 

Directions

  1. Place cranberries and cranberry juice in a saucepan and heat slightly. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Cranberries will absorb all liquid. Hold.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and dressing.
  3. Stir in diced chicken, celery and scallions. Toss well to coat. Stir in reserved cranberries and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  4. To Serve: For each serving, place ¼ cup spinach onto a split flatbread roll and portion ½ cup salad on top of spinach. Replace top and serve.

Variations: Use additional fruits, including fresh mango, pineapple, melon, blueberries, peaches, pears, etc. in salad.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 100, Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 12g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 800mg, Total Carbohydrate 57g, Sugars 17g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 10%, Iron 20%

Hungry for more recipes? uscranberries.com

The Nutrition Twins work with US Cranberries to help teach people how they can get more beneficial PACs in their diet.

 

Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup 100% cranberry juice
  • ½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (we suggest using nonfat Greek yogurt to keep the creaminess and up the nutrients and lower the fat)
  • ⅓ cup fat-free poppy seed dressing
  • 8 oz. grilled white chicken meat, diced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 cups shredded fresh spinach
  • 8 flatbread rolls, split
Instructions
  1. Place cranberries and cranberry juice in a saucepan and heat slightly. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Cranberries will absorb all liquid. Hold.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and dressing.
  3. Stir in diced chicken, celery and scallions. Toss well to coat. Stir in reserved cranberries and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  4. To Serve: For each serving, place ¼ cup spinach onto a split flatbread roll and portion ½ cup salad on top of spinach. Replace top and serve.
  5. Variations
  6. : Use additional fruits, including fresh mango, pineapple, melon, blueberries, peaches, pears, etc. in salad.

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