The holiday season ushers in another one of our favorite times of the year - cranberry season! These tart and nutritious berries are plentiful all winter and make the perfect solution for a much needed post-holiday detox. Try one of our favorite healthy cranberry recipes and make a simple cranberry smoothie.
Cranberry sauce makes every dish taste better (just like a ketchup but much more fancy). You might enjoy cranberry sauce with the holiday meals, but that's only a tiny fraction of the capabilities of fresh or frozen cranberries.
The cranberry is a healing superfood that our bodies could benefit from eating regularly. Luckily, the grocery store is loaded with bags of frozen cranberries, just begging for someone to buy them.
We love plenty of frozen cranberry recipes, but one of our absolute favorite is this cranberry smoothie, which makes a super quick weekday breakfast stuffed full of fresh and juicy fruit, vitamins, and minerals.
We'll show you how to use cranberries to make the ultimate healing and detoxifying drink in less than five minutes!
How to make a cranberry smoothie
You will need fresh or frozen fruit and a high-powered blender to make this cranberry smoothie.
While we included frozen bananas in our recipe, you can use fresh instead if you prefer. It'll be a little easier for your blender to break down, but maybe a little thinner, so try adding less water at first and adjusting as needed.
By the way, don't worry about the frozen cranberry chunks at the bottom of your smoothie - that's normal.
Fresh cranberry smoothies recipe - nutrition information
Serving size: ½ recipe
Calories: 182 kcal; Fat 0.5 g; Sodium 4.4 mg; Carbohydrates 46.9 g; Fiber 7 g; Sugars 29.4 g; Protein 2.4 g.
Fresh Cranberries Smoothie - FAQ
Why drink smoothies?
Smoothies are a fantastic breakfast for all of the reasons above and so many more:
- They're full of fibrous fruit, which helps to keep you full for longer so you can last until lunchtime without feeling peckish.
- The high fiber levels also aid and balance digestion.
- They’re sweet, which helps control cravings and satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Smoothies are stuffed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Finally, drinking smoothie allows you to get fresh fruit and veggies without feeling like you're eating salad all day.
There's no way around it - smoothies are rich in nutrition, so drink up without feeling guilty!
There is a caveat to the healthfulness of a smoothie, though. A smoothie is only as good as its ingredients, and they're not all created equal.
Some smoothie ingredients are not as healthy as others, so to keep your smoothie healthy, you'll want to avoid using these:
- Fat-free, chemical-laden yogurt
- Fruit juice, which is relatively high in sugar, with none of the fiber
- Frozen yogurt or ice cream
- Too many fats, like avocado, nuts, nut butter (these are healthy in moderation)
- Sugar, honey, and other added sweeteners
- Canned fruits in juice or syrup, which is lower in fiber and high in sugar than fresh fruit
Are cranberries good for you?
Cranberries are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits you can eat, and many people consider them to belong in the category of exceptionally nutritious superfoods.
- These healthy red berries contain a wide range of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber. All of which help support immune function, iron absorption and ward off free radicals, which cause premature aging of the cells.
- Cranberries are incredibly high in antioxidants, containing higher levels than most other fruits. These antioxidants help to detoxify the body and fight off harmful bacteria.
The best way to enjoy cranberries' healthy benefits is to eat them uncooked, as cooking breaks down some of their nutrition and fiber.
Can I use cranberry juice for detox?
It seems like every January, the word 'detox' gets thrown around a whole lot more than usual. While the idea of detoxing the body by drinking only liquids might seem like an easy solution, it's wholly unnecessary.
Your body detoxes itself naturally, and you don't need a fancy beverage to do that. The best way to help your body 'detox' is to feed it highly nutritious, healthy foods- not by going on a beverage-only diet for a week.
We don't recommend using cranberry juice to detox - it's unnecessary and, quite frankly, won't work. Cranberry juice is missing a significant component of the fruit's benefits - all fiber and some nutrition are gone, while the sugar content remains.
The most effective way to keep your body healthy is to consume whole, fresh fruits, which is why you should try this raw cranberries recipe to make a fibrous and nutritious smoothie that will help support your critical bodily functions!
Check out our wellness tips because many fitness claims that seem too good to be true are exactly that, far too good to be true!
Do I have to use maple syrup?
Just like cranberries, this smoothie tastes a little tart! I love the tart flavor of cranberries in smoothies and don't add any maple syrup at all, but it isn't everyone's cup of tea.
For a sweeter smoothie, add stevia, agave, honey, or syrup to taste. You can also cut down on the cranberries and toss in some sweeter fruit, like strawberries, to adjust this cranberry smoothie's sweetness level without adding any pure sugar.
What can I add to fresh cranberry smoothies?
The beauty of this cranberry smoothie lies in the wide variety of adjustments you can make to it. I get bored with breakfast quickly, so I often switch up the ingredients to give my tastebuds a change. As a bonus, it also creates variety in the nutrients you feed your body, as fruits and veggies all have something a little different to offer.
Here are our favorite add-ins for this cranberry smoothie:
- Plant-based protein powder
- Grapefruit, tangerine, or clementine
- A handful of spinach, kale, or other dark, leafy greens
- Plain Greek or dairy-free yogurt
- Natural nut butter
- Ground flaxseed or chia seed
- Walnuts, almonds, pecans, or cashews
- Unsweetened, plant-based milk
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, or kiwi
- Sliced fresh or frozen avocado
- Cacao powder or nibs
Can you eat raw cranberries?
You can eat cranberries raw, and that's the healthiest way to consume them, but many people find the taste far too tart and off-putting.
Blending raw cranberries into smoothies like this one, salad dressings, or relish can help you enjoy raw cranberries while making them a little more palatable.
Final thoughts on our quick and nutritious cranberry smoothie
Reap the many nutritional benefits of cranberries! Make this smoothie for breakfast or a snack a few times per week and see just what the rave is all about over mouth-watering fresh cranberries.
Don’t just stop at a cranberry smoothie!
You can include cranberries in your diet in a few other ways, too:
- Slice cranberries in a mixed fruit salad;
- Top a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and fresh cranberries;
- Stir fresh into a bowl of freshly cooked, warm oatmeal;
- Add it into your favorite baking recipes for cranberry muffins or bread;
- And blend it into a sweetly tart salad dressing.
We hope you enjoy adding these tart superfruits into your diet! Save this recipe for a delicious and easy cranberry smoothie.
Cranberry Smoothie Recipe: Post-Holiday Cranberry Detox
1/2 c filtered water
1 c cranberries, whole and fresh
2 large oranges, peeled
1 medium banana, peeled and frozen
1–2 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste (optional)
Place the filtered water, frozen cranberries, peeled oranges, and frozen banana in a high-powered blender and blend on high for 1-2 mins or until smooth.
Once the fruit mixture is smooth and creamy, taste with a spoon; if desired, add 1-2 Tbsp of pure maple syrup to sweeten.
Pour, serve, and enjoy your frozen cranberry smoothie!