Cranberry-Raspberry Chia Yogurt
Can we just take a step back from the flavored yogurt craziness that has completely taken over the dairy aisle? It has gotten a tad out of hand. This week I found several varieties that had over 25 grams of sugar per serving, which for comparison purposes, is about the equivalent of a package of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. I’m convinced that the yogurt aisle is part of a conspiracy by the grocery industry to make people eat dessert that is packaged to look like health food.
I have started bypassing all of the premixed flavors, no matter how tasty and healthy they sound, and stick with the big tubs of plain yogurt so I can flavor it myself. Right now, I’m loving this cranberry raspberry puree. I make it in big batches (shocker) and freeze it in smaller one cup containers (of course). It’s a solid plan because you’re getting all of the benefits of the fruit you choose, but none of the extra stuff you don’t need. I make it a bit on the less sweet side, because then we can control how sweet we’re going to make it, usually by drizzling a bit of extra honey on top, if at all.
Cranberries are the star of the show around the holidays, but come January they seem to be looked upon with about as much excitement as a late snow in April. Do yourself a favor and don’t ignore the cranberries when you walk past them, even though it is no longer December. Even better, buy some extra bags and freeze them so you can have some this summer! At any given time, I probably have about 4 bags of cranberries floating around in the depths of my deep freeze. They are naturally not organized nor located in any logical place, so inevitably one day I’ll grab a pack of pork chops, and voila! Underneath the chops is hidden a bag of cranberries and I feel like I just won a prize! In a way, I did, because cranberries are a great source of Manganese, a key dietary mineral, Vitamin C, and fiber, as well as an amazing source of antioxidants. Much like pumpkin, cranberries are often given the sugar treatment and so their health benefits get overshadowed by the sugar added to them to make them palatable. In order to avoid that, I mix cranberries with other sweeter fruit, specifically, pears and raspberries. Everything gets simmered together until the cranberries start to pop. Then the mixture is cooled, blended, and pressed through a sieve to remove the seeds.
While you’re cleaning up your yogurt, consider adding some chia seeds to it! Have you tried chia seeds? If you haven’t, check out this article from Bon Appetit, which literally tells you just about everything you need to know about chia seeds. If you have heard about chia but aren’t really sure of what you should do with it, adding a tablespoon to some yogurt is a great way to give them a try. Yogurt and fruit on their own are a great combo, but add in some chia and you’ve got a powerhouse snack that includes protein, fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and a host of other good-for-you stuff.
Chia has a nutritional profile similar to flax, but with more fiber and almost 3 times the calcium. Unlike flax seeds, chia does not need to be ground in order to derive any nutritional benefit from the seed. The seeds are also shelf-stable for a very long time, unlike ground flax which needs to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer long term. I typically find chia seeds for about $8 per pound, which sounds expensive, but if you only use a tablespoon or two at a time, one pound will last you for a while. Try looking for it in the natural food section of your grocery store.
If you need even more reasons to give Cranberry Raspberry Chia Yogurt a try, listen to Olive. According to her, Cranberry Raspberry Chia Yogurt is good because 1). “Adding your own fruit lets you make sure that you never run out when you get to the bottom of your yogurt” and 2). “It’s really healthy so it makes for good fuel to power you through your day so at school (or work) you can think and stay focused.” This girl knows what she’s talking about.
Makes 1 Serving: 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon chia, 2 tablespoons fruit puree
Calories: 165 Fat: 4.8g Protein: 8.3g Sugar: 16.7 Fiber: 5.5g
Sodium: 88.1mg Carbohydrates: 24.1g
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 T. chia seeds
- 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 1. Combine cranberries, raspberries, pears, orange juice, cinnamon sticks, and honey in a small saucepan.
- 2. Bring fruit mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until cranberries start to split open. Vent lid and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- 3. Remove from heat and cool.
- 4. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard. Blend the fruit mixture until smooth. Pour through a mesh sieve, pressing through to remove seeds.
- 5. For one serving of yogurt, mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of plain yogurt. Add 2 tablespoons of fruit puree. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes and up to several days before eating.
- Puree freezes well!