Cranberries are a tart and colorful berry that provides a nutritional and flavor punch.
Many people, however, equate cranberries with added sugar, particularly when they are consumed in the form of cranberry sauce or sweetened cranberry products.
But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll look at ways to enjoy cranberries without adding sugar. We’ve got you covered on everything from fresh cranberries to inventive dishes.
How Do You Eat Cranberries Without Sugar?
Cranberries with no added sugar can be a delicious and healthful treat. Cranberries have a naturally tart flavor, but there are various ways to enjoy them without adding sugar:
Fresh Cranberries: A Tangy Delight
Cranberries are one of nature’s tiny treasures. They are cranberries in their purest form, with a delicious tartness that wakes your taste receptors. Here’s how to get the most out of these small treasures:
Snacking: You can eat fresh cranberries on their own. A handful in your mouth can deliver an energizing blast of flavor as well as a delightful crunch. Tartness can be a welcome relief from overly sweet treats.
Salad Enhancement: Add fresh cranberries to your salads for a pop of color and taste. They go perfectly with greens, almonds, and a simple vinaigrette. Cranberries’ tartness helps offset the richness of other salad elements.
Smoothie Booster: Add fresh cranberries to your morning smoothie to boost its flavor. Their zesty edge can provide a welcome contrast to the sweetness of fruits such as bananas or berries. You’ll also benefit from the nutritious value they provide.
Cranberries In Cooking And Baking
Cranberries aren’t just for cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. They can improve a variety of recipes without the need of added sugars:
Savory Sauces: Cranberries can be used to flavor savory sauces for meat or poultry meals. Cranberries’ natural tartness can enhance the savory flavors of many recipes, adding a unique twist.
Homemade Cranberry Juice: Avoid the sugary, store-bought cranberry juice. Make your own by combining fresh cranberries, water, and a dash of natural sweetener such as honey or stevia. You can manage the sweetness and avoid using too much sugar this way.
Baked Goods: Cranberries are a delicious addition to baked goods. Consider integrating cranberries into muffins, bread, or oatmeal cookies for a blast of flavor and nutrition. If you are concerned about sugar, you can minimize the amount in your recipes or use natural sweeteners sparingly, such as honey or maple syrup.
When you do want to add a touch of sweetness to your cranberry meals, there are natural sugar substitutes:
Honey: Honey is a versatile natural sweetener that complements the tartness of cranberries remarkably well. It adds a gentle sweetness and depth of flavor without overpowering the natural cranberry flavor. Begin with a small amount of honey and gradually increase to the desired sweetness level.
Stevia: Stevia is a calorie-free natural sweetener obtained from the leaves of the Stevia plant. It has gained appeal as a sugar alternative and can be used to supplement cranberries without triggering blood sugar spikes. Stevia comes in both liquid and powdered forms.
Maple Syrup: Pure maple syrup has a distinct and rich flavor that can improve the overall flavor of cranberry meals. It adds a gentle sweetness that complements the tartness of the cranberries. Add maple syrup sparingly to keep the flavors balanced, like you would honey.
Cranberries’ Nutritional Profile
An 80g serving of fresh cranberries has the following nutrients:
- 12 kilocalories / 52 kilojoules
- Protein: 0.3g
- 0.1g fat
- carbs 2.7g
- 2.7g of sugar
- 3.2g of fiber
- potassium 76mg
- Vitamin C 10mg
A single glass of 150ml unsweetened cranberry juice or an 80g serving of fresh cranberries counts as one of your five-a-day. However, like with all juices, only one glass counts, and ingesting more will not add to your five-a-day intake.
Are Cranberries Healthy?
Answering this question is difficult. They can be healthy in their natural state. However, if you get your cranberry fix from juice or dried cranberries, be mindful that both include a lot of added sugar.
Generally, one serving of dried cranberries has around 25 grams of added sugar. That’s actually how much added sugar some people can have in a day.
The sugar is used to counteract the sour taste of the cranberries. They require that sweetness to make it more pleasant.
However, this does not mean you should avoid cranberry juice or dried cranberries. Simply limit your sugar intake and pair cranberries with less sugar items.
For example, instead of the candy pieces found in store-bought trail mix, you may prepare your own by combining gently salted roasted almonds and dried cranberries.
For a delicious treat, mix plain yogurt or oatmeal with dried cranberries instead of honey. Seeking for unsweetened dried cranberries, which claims are difficult to get. They may be available at a health food store or online.
When it comes to juice, the bulk of options are juice cocktails that combine cranberry juice and apple juice to sweeten it.
You’re not receiving 100% cranberry juice when you consume it in that form.
Also, keep an eye on how much liquid you consume. No more than 4 to 8 ounces of juice each day is recommended. To add a bit of sweetness to your beverage, dilute juice with sparkling water or plain water.
Cranberry Health Advantages
Cranberries are high in antioxidants and can be quite healthy. Here are some of the health benefits of cranberries.
Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
The most well-known advantage of cranberry juice is its ability to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries do not cure an illness once it has occurred.
A-type proanthocyanidins prevent E. coli from binding in the bladder, which is generally the initial step in developing a UTI.
If you frequently have UTIs, including cranberries in your diet may be useful.
If you suffer from UTIs, having cranberries as part of a healthy diet is something you can do that will not hurt you. It could be a proactive strategy.
You would not think of cranberries as a strategy to prevent cavities, but a study shows that the a-type proanthocyanidins that help keep UTIs away can also help in other ways.
Researchers believe that a-type proanthocyanidins also inhibit bacteria development in the mouth.
If you eat cranberries, the acids in your mouth may go down, which may help avoid cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and even oral cancer.
Cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties due to their high antioxidant content, particularly anthocyanins and flavanols, which give cranberries their dark color.
Antioxidants have been found to minimize the risk of certain chronic diseases by lowering inflammation in our body. That is why it is advised to eat enough of fruits and vegetables, as these foods will utilize antioxidants.
Maintain Digestive System Health
If you eat an animal-based diet, cranberries can help send good bacteria into your digestive system.
A-type proanthocyanidins, which are only present in cranberries, can aid in the reduction of harmful microorganisms in your colon.
More research is needed, however there is a possibility that cranberries could help prevent colon and stomach cancers.
Improve Your Heart Health
Cranberries can help improve overall heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
There is modest evidence that cranberries can assist improve a person’s lipid profile by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Cranberries may also help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. It’s worth noting that many of this research made use of low-calorie cranberry juice.
As you may have guessed, a-type proanthocyanins are potent antioxidants. As a result, researchers are beginning to investigate if and how they may have anti-cancer capabilities.
We know that eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables and fruits lowers your risk of developing some cancers.
Cranberries are not only delicious but also extremely nutritious, with numerous health benefits. While sweetened cranberry products are widely available, embracing cranberries’ natural acidity may be a gratifying culinary experience. There are several ways to enjoy fresh cranberries without adding sugar, from snacking on them as a snack or salad topper to utilizing them in savory recipes and baking.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful.