Cranberries are just one of many berries that you can add to regular recipes for some extra health benefits. But since we are in the midst of cranberry season, why not take advantage of these home grown berries to boost your overall health.

At the shops in town and at the Fireweed Community Market at Shipyards Park you can find all sorts of jams, pies and other baked goods made with this lovely berry. Here are some quick recipes on how to enjoy cranberries in a nutritious way.

Trail Mix

First up, a protein packed trail mix. Nuts are a great way to get protein and essential fats. Add cranberry to the mix and you have also added vitamin C and dietary fibre. For more flavour add coconut flakes or dark chocolate shavings.

When creating my trail mix, I like to combine unsalted nuts and seeds, such as cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries – or you can use fresh cranberries depending on your personal preference. Simply combine all the ingredients together in a container, shake and enjoy.

Pancakes

Another option for a healthy way to enjoy cranberries is protein pancakes with cranberries. There are two ways to make this. You can use a premade protein pancake mix, (protein pancakes are pancakes with protein powder added to the mix) or you can make your own.

If making your own mix, follow these easy steps. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of oats, 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 60-80 grams of protein powder – I would recommend using a whey isolate protein powder because it blends better. Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, half a teaspoon of salt. Blend well, and then add the cranberries. Chopped fresh berries will work best. You can add blueberries or blackberries or dark chocolate chips, as well. For 1 cup of protein mix add half a cup of milk and 1 egg. Fry the pancakes, and then serve with 1 tablespoon of heated natural maple syrup or 2 tablespoons of warm flax seed oil.

Sausage

Add finely chopped cranberries to your regular sausage recipe. The cranberries will add extra moisture, so you don’t have to worry about the sausage tasting dry with a lean cut of meat. This recipe will work for any type of game. My personal favourite is elk. However, you can also use ground turkey. For some extra nutrients you can also add finely chopped spinach or kale. The nutty flavour of the greens will go quite well with the slightly sweet cranberry taste.

Smoothie

There are numerous smoothies you can make using cranberries, but if you don’t have time to cook and want to replace your meal with a smoothie, here is a smoothie to try.

In your blender add one avocado, 3 tablespoons of flax seeds, 1 large handful of fresh cranberries, and half a banana. Pour vanilla almond milk in the cup all the way up. Blend away for 45 seconds.

The flavor will be a party in your mouth. The sweetness of the banana will take away any tartness from the cranberries. The avocado will had a smooth texture. You can also had in a couple spoons of chia seeds too.

Frozen Yogurt

This is a cranberry dessert that’s not too heavy on the waistline. Drop two scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt in your bowl. Sprinkle half a cup of dried cranberries and half a cup of walnuts. Add a small handful of dark chocolate chips and garnish with a tablespoon of orange zest and a dash of cracked sea salt. I promise it’s yummy, and guaranteed to hit that sweet spot.