Cranberries don't get enough credit. Outside of Thanksgiving dinner and perhaps the occasional vodka cranberry (if that's your style), most of us pretty much forget about these festive, bright, and tart little berries. But over the past few years, cranberries have become one of my favorite fruits, and I can't seem to get enough of their beauty, brain, and health boosting benefits. In honor of this often overlooked yet seriously delicious (and deeply nutritious) berry, I'm sharing my recipe for a low-sugar and high-protein Cranberry Chia Compote.
Containing one of the highest antioxidant counts of any food, cranberries are a wildly nutritious addition to your diet. 'Antioxidants' have become an ultra trendy buzzword in the wellness world, but these tiny molecules are the real deal when it comes to preserving the health + longevity of our bodies. Every day we are exposed to sources of oxidation that damage and breakdown the cells within our bodies and brains. As the name suggests, antioxidants protect our cells from oxidation, and thus have an "anti-aging" effect on our bodies and minds. This translates to glowing + wrinkle-free skin, increased immunity, better heart health, improved memory, and more balanced moods.
Beyond their potent antioxidant properties, cranberries contain bacteria-fighting compounds (especially potent in the urinary tract), a hefty vitamin C count, and a slew of anti-inflammatory qualities.
All of this brain and body goodness in an extremely low-sugar package.
Personally, I don’t stress over the sugar in fruit, even high-sugar fruits like mango, banana, and pineapple. However, for some of us, too much sugar (even good-for-you, natural sugars) causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar and can mess with our hormones, so it’s always good to have a few low-sugar fruit options, like cranberries.
I will admit, the recipe for this Cranberry Chia Compote was inspired by a cranberry sauce I made a few Thanskgivings ago. I kept finding myself spooning the leftovers over toast, smoothie bowls, grains, roasted veggies, and salads, and it quickly become a year-round favorite. The addition of chia seeds up the protein and healthy fat content big time, and yields a thicker, more jam-like consistency. Most recently, I’ve been adding the compote to cheese + charcuterie boards (it pairs divinely with a triple crème) and pretty much any and all breakfast dishes.
My suggestion: make a big batch for the week and get creative with your pairings. Pictured here is a batch of stovetop oats topped with the compote and fruit, and avocado toast with a few very generous spoonfuls.