Crazy over Cranberries

CranberriesArticle written by Natalie Sehi ( Nebraska Extension SNAP-Ed/EFNEP Educator

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Cranberries are a popular fruit, especially in December. They are used in baked items like muffins and cookies, but can also be used in side dishes and drinks. Often, because of their tartness, they are cooked with other fruits or added sugar. Dried cranberries taste great alone as a snack or can be added to trail mix or muffins. Fresh cranberries are fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free and a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

A little more power...
Many kids enjoy gelatin as a snack or a treat. To add extra nutrients to gelatin, try using 100% cranberry juice in place of water to make gelatin cutouts. As you can see in the picture, you can make it more fun by using cookie cutters to create shapes. For a festive and tasty low calorie treat, make Cranberry Juice Gelatin Cutouts this holiday season, To add a little more power (aka nutrients) to your diet, try:

  • Applesauce or 100% juice* in place of water to make gelatin.
  • Combine fruit or veggies with non-fat or low-fat milk for a delicious smoothie.
  • Top cereal with fruit.

Cranberry Juice Gelatin Cutouts
Makes 12 servings

  • 4 (1 oz.) boxes of sugar-free strawberry and/or cherry gelatinCranberry Cut-Outs
  • 2½ cups 100% cranberry juice
  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Pour cranberry juice into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
  3. Carefully pour the cranberry juice into a large bowl. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Pour the gelatin mixture into a 9x11-in pan. Place in the refrigerator until firm.
  5. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make cutouts. Nutrition Facts: 33 calories, 0g fat, 0g cholesterol, 26mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, vitamin D 0%, calcium 0%, iron 0%, potassium 0%.

*A little can go a long way: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children younger than 1 year of age should not be given fruit juice, children 1-3 years of age can have up to 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day, children 4-6 years can have up to 6 ounces/day and up to 1 cup (8 ounces) for children 7 and older. Based on MyPlate, children need 1-1 ½ cups of fruit each day. Fruit juice does count towards the recommended amount, but whole fruits are preferred, as they contain more fiber.


  1. Cranberry Creations, Fruits and Veggies More Matters
  2. All About the Fruit Group, USDA’s ChooseMyPlate
  3. Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 

This publication has been peer-reviewed.