Chia Seed Pudding

I’m always on the hunt for an easy, yummy, wholesome, preferably make-ahead breakfast. This one is a no brainer. Minimal prep time, holds well in the fridge, great for a snack, and you can even make a larger batch to have for a few days. Plus it’s filling and healthy. There is one thing… you may not be a fan of the consistency, but you won’t know until you know.

 

Chia seeds, like kale, are all the rage these days. Unlike some diet fads (I’m looking at you juice cleanse) chia seeds are worthy of their popularity. What makes them so special, you ask? These compact seeds are full of healthy fuel and antioxidants.

Two tablespoons (1 ounce) of chia seeds = 137 calories, 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. From fat there is a whopping 4900 mg Omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids found in certain plants and nut oils (eg: walnuts, flax, algae), fatty fish, and naturally produced in breast milk. Not all Omega-3 are built the same. Fish oil (and breast milk) contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – these essential fatty acids are known to promote heart health, improve cholesterol, aid in depression, ADHD and prevent cancer – when you hear about Omega-3’s as a health benefit DHA and EPA are the gold standard. On the other hand, chia seeds are largely comprised of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is poorly converted to DHA and EPA in the body. Positive associations with ALA are less well known than for DHA and EPA, however positive studies do exist. In other words, don’t curb your fatty fish/ fish oil consumption due to increased chia seed consumption. Chia seeds are also known to lower blood pressure, so talk to your doctor before introducing them into your diet if you are hypertensive or hypotensive.

 

Fiber. Fiber. Fiber. The FDA recommends 20-30 grams of fiber/ day and chia seeds are a fantastic source. When I’m grocery shopping, one of my biggest interests is the amount of fiber in a product. Fiber is your body’s friend. It not only assists in bowel movements, but plays a role in cancer prevention, blood sugar control, heart health, weight management, lowering cholesterol, assisting in GI disorders, even acne… the list goes on.

 

A one-ounce serving of chia seeds offers 10% of your daily iron value, 17% of your daily calcium, 3% potassium and 23% magnesium. Vegans and vegetarian can benefit from the added calcium, iron and protein. Chia seeds can also be used as an egg substitute. To replace 1 egg simply combine 1 tablespoon ground chia + 3 tablespoons water and allow it to sit for ~10-15 minutes until it becomes the consistency of raw eggs.

 

 

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

 

In this recipe I used very little sweetener; I prefer the sugar to come from fruit or yogurt, but feel free to sweeten to taste. If you’re not much of an unsweetened almond milk kinda person, substitute with your preferred milk (cow, coconut, hemp, etc). Keep in mind, if you use sweetened milk it will up the sugar content and you may need to adjust your added sweetener. Also, I used maple syrup here, but use whichever natural sweetener you prefer.

¼ cup chia seeds (4 tablespoons)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsweetened coco powder

1 teaspoons cinnamon

OR try it unsweetened and combine pudding with lightly sweetened yogurt, fruit and/or top with a little honey:

¼ cup chia seeds (4 tablespoons)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder

 

toppings: toasted nuts, toasted coconut flakes, fruit, granola, seeds, yogurt (siggi’s are my fave)

Combine all ingredients and stir, stir, stir until everything is evenly mixed. Place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, or overnight, allowing the chia seeds to absorb the liquid, soften and expand. When you are ready to eat, simply place pudding in a bowl and add your favorite toppings and/or sweetener.

 

Serves: 1-2

 

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