Cranberry chia crunch

Cranberry chia crunch is a delicious treat that’s packed full of cranberries and chia seeds — and it’s sure to be a hit with your horses!

If you’re looking for the perfect recipe to make for your horse’s this holiday season, look no further! Cranberry chia crunch is an easy-to-make treat that’s packed full of nutrients, and horses love it!


Note: Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.

4 cups whole chia flour

2 cups apple sauce (pumpkin puree can also be used)

1 cup cranberries (fresh cranberries or unsulphured dried cranberries, finely minced, or freeze-dried cranberries, crushed)

2 tablespoons raw carob powder

1 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon

2 tablespoons local honey or unsulphured black strap molasses (brown rice syrup can be used for insulin-resistant horses)

1 teaspoon mint (optional)


Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Place the chia flour in a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Combine with a spatula or spoon until ingredients are well incorporated.

Pack mixture into a tablespoon and then tap out onto cookie sheet. Alternatively, take small pieces of the mix, roll lightly into balls (like truffles) and place on the cookie sheet. When finished, you will have approximately 40 treats.

If you wish, add a cranberry as garnish to the top of each treat before baking.

Place cookie sheet in a cold oven. Turn oven to 325°F on the convection setting, if available. When the oven reaches heat, set your timer for 30 minutes. As soon as the buzzer sounds, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow treats to cool completely before storing them in a Ziploc bag or container, packaging them for gift-giving or storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cranberry chia crunch can be served raw too. Before cooking, simply store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready for a trip to the barn.


Chia can benefit our horses in many ways. This seed is a member of the mint family, Salvia Hispanica, and has a long history, dating all the way back to 3500 BC. In Aztec and Mayan times, chia seeds were part of the warriors’ diets, and they were also used during religious ceremonies. The Aztecs used chia seeds for the relief of joint pain and skin conditions. In the Mayan language, “chia” means “strength” – the perfect descriptor for this superfood.

Chia seeds are a rich source of B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and zinc, and they are packed with antioxidants. They are also a very valuable source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based form of the Omega 3 essential fatty acid. They are gluten-free and a popular alternative to flaxseeds.

It seems almost incredible that tiny chia seeds can help support healthy skin, coat and hooves. In fact, chia is often noted for its ability to nourish our horses from the inside out due to its ability to combat inflammation. Chia seeds contain more antioxidant power than blueberries, helping to boost the immune system, fight stress and promote healing. They also help stabilize blood sugar levels, and are the perfect food for endurance since they help keep the horse’s body hydrated and support electrolyte balance. If that weren’t enough, chia is also a terrific source of fiber.


Cranberries are one of the world’s healthiest foods. They contain a wealth of antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid.  Anthocyanins are the pigments that give cranberries their rich red color, and have been found to have the strongest antioxidant power of 150 flavonoids tested. Proanthocyanidins belong to the bioflavonoid family, helping to strengthen blood vessels and improve the delivery of oxygen to cell membranes. Researchers from a variety of universities including Ohio State University, the Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center at Rutgers University, and the University of Prince Edward Island, have found cranberries to inhibit the growth and spread of some cancers due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Cranberries also contain dietary fiber, manganese and vitamin K, and are rich in vitamin C and tannins, which help to keep bacteria like E.coli — the most common cause of urinary tract infections — from adhering to the walls of our horses’ urinary tracts.


Apples are a very rich source of vitamin C. They also contain potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, vitamin A, folate and vitamin E. Red delicious, northern spy, and Ida red apples contain more potent disease-fighting antioxidants than other red apples.


Cinnamon’s history can be traced all the way back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Ancient Chinese herbal references cite cinnamon’s use as early as 2700 BC, when it was recommended for the treatment of nausea, fever and diarrhea. Cinnamon was also added to food to prevent spoilage. This spice is well recognized as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is also a carminative and used as a digestive tonic when prepared as a tea.


Carob is the fruit from the carob tree. It is rich in natural sugars and contains all the principal vitamins and minerals. Carob contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, silicon, vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin and protein. Carob is considered an ideal “survival food” because it requires no preparation, lasts a long time, and has no special storage requirements.


There are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. The colors and flavors of honey are very different depending upon the bees’ nectar source. The darker the color, the deeper the flavor. Darker honeys contain the most antioxidants.


Mint is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, fiber and even protein.  Mint is recognized as an antioxidant and is also known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties.


Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for over two decades. She is the founder of the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research, and is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was also was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College.