Chia seed pudding is a tapioca-like pudding that gets its consistency from a type of soluble fiber in the chia seed called mucilage. What a weird sounding name! But! I am always talking about the benefits of getting soluble fiber into the diet, and here’s a tasty way to do that that could be considered dessert OR something for the breakfast meal that will set you up feeling full all day rather than setting you up for sugar highs and lows the way most sugary breakfast cereals and yogurts will. Also, you can make this at the beginning of the week and have healthy breakfasts all week with little to no effort.
The chia seed absorbs water readily because of this fiber, so the OTHER thing to remember is that chia seeds aren’t supposed to be eaten raw. It is better to put them in a recipe where they can absorb water BEFORE you eat them, otherwise it may be uncomfortable for them to be absorbing water/expanding in your stomach and GI tract. Haven’t ever eaten them raw, but I’ve heard it’s pretty uncomfortable.
Health benefits of soluble fiber
- Promotes release of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satiated/full
- This may be why chia seed consumption has been linked to weight loss and lower glucose levels (read: less diabetes)
- Promotes healthy gut bacteria
- Other than that… honestly it’s hard to pin down exactly, but it’s probably good. Let me explain: people who eat high-fiber diets tend to have lower rates of most diseases I can think of (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol to name a few). But often times if they test out the health benefits of taking a fiber supplement alone, and not getting fiber through healthy food, people don’t achieve the same benefits. Foods that contain fiber, like chia seeds, fruits, and vegetables are healthy and show reduced rates of disease, whereas fiber supplements may lower cholesterol a bit but really don’t really have the same effects as eating the whole foods.
Health benefits of chia seeds
- Contain cancer-fighting compounds like lignans
- High in anti inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids; high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Shown in vitro to reduce free radical activity (which leads to aging of all types)
- Vitamins and minerals it is rich in: calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin.
- Also high in the macronutrient protein
So let’s get to this easy, healthy recipe!
Chia Seed Pudding
Prep time: <10 min of actually doing things, but will need to sit for at least 4 hours to create pudding consistency.
Serves: 4 generous servings
- 2 cups of almond or coconut milk (lowfat dairy milk could also be used, but then may need to add almond flavoring)
- 1/2 cup of chia seeds (found in most grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Aldi)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- If you have problems with processing sugar (sugar addiction, diabetes), use: 2 tsp sugar replacement containing stevia or monk fruit extract. If no issues with this, then 2 tsp honey or maple syrup.
- The link above goes to my favorite sugar replacement- it can be used in the same quantities you would use sugar, tastes sweet, and is relatively non-processed, but doesn’t spike blood sugar like sugar does or cause reactions the way some people get to saccharine/aspartame/etc.
- If you are using actual Stevia, this is incredibly sweet, and only 1/4-1/2 tsp would be necessary. Stevia is a South American plant that has very sweet-tasting leaves but doesn’t raise blood sugar the way real sugar does.
- Combined almond milk, chia seeds, been no and sweetener in a ball. Mix well until combined in the mixture begins to thicken. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight or for 4 hours.
- Stir well, then serve topped with fresh or frozen/thawed fruit and whatever else sounds yummy and is healthy… roasted pecans, toasted coconut, etc.