In their natural form, cranberries are quite healthy, full of vitamin C and fiber and packing just 4 grams of sugar per cup. In fact, they only become nutritionally worrying when they get doused with sugar.
My answer is to make your own cranberry sauce this holiday. It's incredibly easy and it allows you to cut the sugar content in half.
Instead of heading down the canned food aisle, pop over to the produce section and pick up a bag of fresh cranberries. Follow the recipe on the bag, but cut the suggested amount of sugar in half.
For extra flavor and natural sweetness, I sometimes add orange zest or segments, as well as a vanilla bean. But frankly, it almost doesn't matter what I do to the cranberry sauce, as its presence on my table is merely symbolic. (My French husband never developed a taste for it, and my kids aren't fans, either.)
The result? I always have leftover cranberry sauce.
Perhaps my kids' favorite way to rework cranberry sauce is in pancakes. I mix cranberry sauce with oats and flax seeds. I use my leftover homemade cranberry sauce in this recipe, but it works just fine with the canned stuff, even the jellied variety (complete with can-shaped grooves on the sides).
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."