Seasonal Chia Pudding Simplicity: Spice, Blend, Chill, Top, and Dig In!
Chia seed pudding is probably my favorite breakfast. I'm so much more a chia pudding girl than a banana N-ice cream girl because although I like freezing cold banana vegan ice cream (it was actually even the first recipe I posted on this site), it's a little too cold and too sweet for me every day, which makes me think I must have tamed my once verocious sweet tooth a little too much. Protein and fiber chia pudding topped with fresh fruit, however, provides the right balance of fruit for me. I adore fruit, but eating three frozen bananas whizzed into an ice cream, plus several servings of fruit on top isn't really my thing and it's not necessarily the best option for any of my clients who are either struggling to lose weight or watching their fructose intake. Thank god we have chia pudding—the perfect alternative to dairy yogurt and smoothie bowls made of frozen fruit!
Nutritionally, these itty bitty seeds are like super nutrient bombs in tiny form and they're bioavailable as is, unlike whole flax seeds, and extremely stable too . Because they're rich in soluble fiber (about 11g per 30g!), they soak up to 10x their weight of any liquid they're immersed in. This creates their gel-like or pudding state and also helps us to feel satiated. They're also rich in omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of ALA, which of course is not as easily converted to EPA/DHA from animal sources, but for vegans, it's the only option; the less convertible ALA is one of the reasons why I re-added wild salmon and organic eggs to my diet a few years ago). They also boast having the optimal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. And if that were not enough, they can also brag about being a complete form of protein (4g per 30g!) with all of the essential amino acids, as well as being an excellent source for calcium, phosphorus, and manganese—all important for many health functions, but most notably for bone, tissue, and cell health and repair.
Plus, no cooking or even using a blender in the morning? This totally got me hooked, which is why sometimes my Instagram looks like a chia party. Just mix with a little spoon, spice it up a bit, and let it thicken for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator and wake up to a lovely, amazingly nutritious pudding that gives you a whopping 1/4 cup of chia seeds (!) that you can then top with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, dried coconut, or whatever you fancy! It's just the best food trend to emerge in the last years as it's so easily transportable and there's hardly any cleanup! So amazing...you can see why I eat this every morning when I'm at home.
I always thought it was pretty straight-forward to make so I never bothered to add my own recipe post, but I do get questions about how to get it to taste, well, not so bland. The truth is, just mixed with almond milk, the results are pretty boring. I like to mix up the plant milks and I love to add thick coconut milk or even a little coconut cream for some recipes, like this mango puree coconut cream chia pudding.
I also either add a bit of rice milk, which isn't as creamy, but naturally sweet, or a bit of maple syrup. Depending on the season or my mood, I'll add some superfood powders, with my favorites being acai berry or raw cacao for the chocolate pudding pictured here.
Playing around with spices is also fun. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger work well, especially with citrus in the winter. I also love grated fresh organic clementine zest in the milk and chia mix so the flavors meld overnight. It goes really well with a topping of winter fruit and more clementine zest. So fresh and delicious, and not just for breakfast, but a power snack anytime of the day, or even for dessert!
I hope you find the tips helpful! To your health and happiness! xx, Juli
Here are the basics . . .
Healthibella Basic Chia Pudding for 1 Cup Serving
- between 1:4 or 1:5 ratio of organic chia seeds to unsweetened organic plant milk
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of sweetener such as maple syrup or raw honey
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of added superfood powder (acai powder or raw cacao are my two favorites)
- a dash to 1 teaspoon of spice such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for a warming element for winter puddings, as well as vanilla
Plant Milks I Make Or Buy Organic:
- almond, hazelnut, cashew, walnut, macadamia
- oat, rice, hemp
- coconut (or coconut cream)
- seasonal fruit (for example: berries, apricots, kiwi, pineapple in the spring; berries, melon, cherries, mango, stone fruit in summer; figs, apples, pears, and grapes in fall; citrus and pomegranates in winter)
- nut butter
- coconut flakes
- ground or crushed nuts
- dried fruit, such as white mulberries, apricots, or dates
- citrus zest
- Pour chia seeds into a mason jar or bowl you can cover.
- Pour in the milk.
- Stir the chia seeds well until it's smooth, using a little spoon to break up clumps that form quite easily and quickly. (Not enough chia seeds will be soupy. Too many chia seeds will be too thick, so experiment a little to find your perfect consistency).
- Add the spices and sweetener.
- Cover and let it thicken in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- Uncover and transfer to a larger bowl if necessary or add the toppings right away and eat!
- Enjoy immediately or transport to your work or school to eat!