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Tiny Fruit, Big Health Benefits

The tiny cranberry shines in November.  But just because it’s small in size, doesn’t mean it’s tiny in benefits.   Hy-Vee Dietitian, Jen Haugen, highlights why cranberries are a food to include on your plate all year round.

Benefits of eating cranberries:

  • Significantly lower risk of recurring urinary tract infections – a common problem for women, men with enlarged prostates and those with diabetes.
  • Healthier digestive tract
  • Heart health and better cholesterol levels

What is a serving of cranberries?

  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 ounces 100% cranberry juice
  • 8 ounces 27% cranberry juice cocktail

Holiday Green Beans and Cranberries

Serves 6.

All you need:

1-1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

All you do:

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook beans in 2 cups boiling water, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender-crisp.
  2. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in cranberries, butter and orange peel. Serve immediately.


Ways to Use Cranberries:

Dried Cranberries

Add 1 Tbsp to ¼ cup per serving to the meal ideas below

  • Include them on your salad to add unique flavors and texture 
  • Add to oatmeal during cold months or cold cereal during spring and summer
  • Mix into chicken or turkey salad 
  • Incorporate into whole grain side dishes such as quinoa, bulgur and brown rice
  • Add to trail mix
  • Mix into stuffing recipes

Cranberry Sauce

Use 2 Tbsp to ½ cup of sauce per serving for the meal ideas below

  • Spread on turkey sandwiches
  • Spread on top of pancakes or waffles for a fruity alternative to butter or syrup
  • Combine with cheese for a sweet and salty quesadilla filling
  • Use as a condiment in vegetable or chicken wraps
  • Use cranberry sauce as a side to roasted chicken or turkey

Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

Use 2 Tbsp to ½ cup per serving for the meal ideas below

  • Make into a cranberry relish or chutney
  • Blend into fruit smoothies
  • Mix into applesauce during the fall

Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.  Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading nutrition professional organization in the country.