Three Health Chia Seed Pudding Recipes For You and Your Family

By: Amanda Carney

When you think of pudding, chances are you imagine a decadent sugar-laden dessert that should be enjoyed sparingly. Now imagine a delicious and flavorful pudding that can actually increase your health and is simple to make – Yes, it is possible, and we have the perfect recipes for you!

Chia seed pudding offers an array of health benefits, a delicious flavor, a satisfying feeling AND can be a great recipe to make with kids! If you haven’t yet heard of chia seeds and are wondering what in the world they are, let me tell you.

Chia seeds are small, black seeds that are native to Central America, playing a large role in the diets of Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. The word “chia” actually translates to “strength” in the Mayan language, and it is said that the Aztec warriors relied on these small seeds for energy and vitality during long expeditions.

What makes chia seeds so unique is that they are hydrophilic, meaning they have the ability to form a gel when submerged in a liquid. Not only does this make them the perfect ingredient for a pudding, but this process is also fun for kids as it can be amazing to watch them go from a small, hard seed to a gel-like consistency in just 30 minutes!

Chia seed pudding is something you can enjoy for breakfast, as a snack or to satisfy a dessert craving. Depending on what you are in the mood for, you can make a really simple pudding (recipes below) or you can add all kinds of toppings to jazz up the simple recipe and create a desired flavor.

I used vanilla stevia in both of the recipes below. If you are not a fan or don’t have it in your house, feel free to substitute 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey or real maple syrup along with a few drops of vanilla extract.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
(serves 4 people)

1 cup coconut milk
½ cup water
¼ cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons cacao powder
5-10 drops liquid vanilla stevia

Combine coconut milk, water, cacao powder and syrup in a blender and blend on low to combine ingredients.
Transfer mixture to a jar, add chia seeds, close lid tightly and shake very well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for chia seeds to absorb liquid and create a gelatinous texture.
Enjoy!

Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding
(serves 4 people)

1 cup coconut milk, blended
½ cup water
¼ cup chia seeds
5-10 drop liquid vanilla stevia
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle of sea salt

Combine coconut milk, water, cinnamon, stevia and sea salt in a blend and blend on low until all ingredients are mixed.
Transfer mixture to a jar, add chia seeds, close lid tightly and shake very well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for chia seeds to absorb liquid and create a gelatinous texture.
Enjoy!

*If you find that the pudding is too watery, simply add another tablespoon or two of chia seeds and let sit for another 15-30 minutes.
If you find that they pudding is too thick, simply add some additional water or coconut milk.

Some of my favorite toppings include:
shredded unsweetened coconut
raw nuts
raw seeds
almond butter
extra cinnamon
fresh fruit

You can find chia seeds at your local health food store – make sure to ask for “raw” and “organic” chia seeds. When processed or treated with pesticides, their nutritional content can be reduced.

I prefer this brand (http://amzn.to/1TIoGco) of coconut milk as it contains all clean ingredients, free of added sugars and toxic preservatives. Coconut milk is a wonderful source of healthy fat.

I find this brand (http://amzn.to/1TLn96B) of cacao powder to be best as it is unprocessed and nutrient dense, filled with additional antioxidants and fiber along with magnesium and iron. It is available in most health food stores.

As I mentioned earlier, chia seeds offer so much more than just a healthy dessert alternative. They contain an abundance of minerals, antioxidants, protein and fiber, and with a bland flavor, it easy to include them in many different meals and snacks. Here are a few of their health benefits to consider:

Antioxidants
Antioxidants play a critical role in your health and well-being by fighting free radicals and managing oxidation (which are often the root cause of chronic disease and premature aging). Although free radicals are created by the body as a result of metabolism and energy production (exercise, digestion, inflammation, etc.), they can lead to dysfunction and disruption in the body by affecting DNA replication and “stealing” electrons from other molecules. Antioxidants are able to stabilize these free radicals by offering an electron to them, which prevent further damage and oxidation. The more antioxidants you get into your diet, the more protection you have against this kind of damage.

Fiber
Fiber is an essential part of our diet and is most often sourced from whole foods like fruits, vegetables and grains. According to Dr. Mercola, diets that are high in fiber have been linked to a reduction in chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, but unfortunately most Americans are not getting the ideal 50+ grams of fiber per day. Chia seeds offer 10 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons, and also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. This not only makes them a wonderful and diverse source of fiber, but including them in your diet will help to keep you feel satiated and full for longer periods of time.

Essential Fatty Acids
Chia seeds contain a high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Because the body cannot make on ALA own, it is necessary that you include foods containing this essential fat into your diet. ALA supports the body in many ways, which includes fighting inflammation, supporting brain health, balancing blood sugar, nourishing the skin, and satiating the appetite.

Cost
Not necessarily a health benefit, but a benefit non-the less. Per serving, the cost of these chia seed pudding recipes will be around $1.50, making them a reasonable choice for an abundance of nutrition and flavor!

If you love these puddings as much as I do, you can make a big batch to keep in the fridge to enjoy whenever you’d like!

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