RECIPE: Cranberry, Apple, Chia Seed Cooler



Healthy Thirst Quenchers

When the weather heats up, it’s all too easy to slide into lethargy and reach for something less than nourishing in hopes of quenching what a certain sugary sports drink brand refers to as “that deep-down body thirst.” As an antidote, I offer Bluedot readers a quartet of healthy, delicious and all-natural recipes, customized to keep you alert and high-functioning even as you cool off and rehydrate.

Each drink in the collection that follows (see links for each of the others at the end of this recipe) — one spritzer, one fresh juice, and two frothy and cold smoothies — is made with healthy, natural ingredients and little or no added sugar. These recipes are sized for a small group; any leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays and repurposed as healthy mini-popsicles. And one final note: on a sweltering day, the smoothies make a great meal replacement that will help prevent literal and figurative meltdowns.

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pitcher of cranberry chia drink with two glasses on a tray outside

RECIPE: Cranberry, Apple, Chia Seed Cooler

  • Author: Vanessa Seder
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x


This mashup of fruit, mint, chia seeds and sparkling cider delivers a pleasantly complex flavor that will satisfy the palates of adults and children alike—think of it as Hi-C for grown-ups, with cranberry juice as the bearer of the (vitamin) C. It’s perfect for bringing to the workplace or the trail and is a healthy way to stay both hydrated and satiated, courtesy of the chia seeds, which contain antioxidants as well as the protein that will keep you filled up till the next mealtime.


  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 cups filtered water, divided
  • 3 bags mint tea
  • 1 cup bottled unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 3 cups cold sparkling apple cider
  • 1 sweet apple, such as Gala or Pink Lady, cored and thinly sliced, for serving
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries, for serving
  • Mint sprigs, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, stir the chia seeds with 1 cup water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then stir again until the chia seeds are completely gelled, and the mixture has significantly thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, then add the tea bags and let steep for about 30 minutes. Discard the tea bags and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 1 hour. 
  3. Spoon the chia seed mixture into the bottom of a large pitcher. Pour in the tea, cranberry juice, and sparkling apple cider and stir well to combine.
  4. Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnished with apple slices, frozen cranberries, and sprigs of mint. 

For more healthy thirst quenchers:

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Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder has worked in the food industry for 20 plus years as a recipe developer, food stylist, chef instructor, and author. Her cookbooks include Warm Your Bones, Eat Cool, (which received positive reviews from the New York Times and elsewhere), and the award-winning Secret Sauces. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, Vanessa has developed recipes for Real Simple, All You, Health, Cooking Light, Hannaford’s Fresh, Ladies Home Journal – where she previously served as associate food editor, and Maine The Way, among others. She also holds a micro degree in horticulture. She lives with her family in Portland, Maine. She can be found online at and Instagram @vanessa_seder_eats .
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