Dessert for breakfast… again! Sweet!!! My Dessert Nachos for Breakfast were a BIG hit, so now, it’s time for another delicious recipe that can be enjoyed at breakfast or as dessert! If you haven’t tried chia pudding, there’s no time like the present! These little seeds are quite amazing and incredibly versatile in the kitchen. I know what you are thinking… those commercials around the holidays for Cha, Cha, Cha, Chia Pets! Little did we know that we should be eating those little seeds, instead of making decorative house plants!
Chia seeds, from the plant Salvia Hispanica, are like little sponges, able to absorb 10 times their weight in water, which helps us feel full faster and experience less cravings in between meals. Research also suggests that they can help diabetics control their blood sugar levels and aid in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels! The amazing water-binding capacity also allows us to make “chia gels” for athletes to stay hydrated, may reduce recovery time and fatigue from cardio workouts and encourage muscle tissue repair.
Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, very important unsaturated fatty acids shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to all kinds of chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and cancer.
In addition to the important omega-3 fatty acids and high in antioxidants, chia seeds are also considered a complete protein, a fantastic source of fiber (Yee ha, we LOVE fiber!), and although they are nearly sodium free, they provide calcium, boron, iodine, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C, D, E & K, thiamin, niacin and folate! Wow – power-packed little seeds!
Whole chia seeds are sold in bags or in bulk bins of supermarkets and health food stores. Most stores carry black chia seeds, but you can purchase white chia seeds online (more expensive, no difference in nutrition). Unlike most other seeds that need to be kept cold, chia seeds can be stored at room temperature in a dark cabinet for years! You also do not need to buy organic chia, as insects never bother it, so the outside of the seeds never get sprayed with chemicals. Unlike flax seeds, which must be ground in order for our bodies to get access to the nutrients, chia are super easy to digest and don’t need to be ground.
Sprinkle away, as chia seeds can be added to cold or hot cereal, salads, whole grain dishes, casseroles, soups and veggie stir-fries! I add chia seeds to salad dressings in place of the oil, as they do not compromise the flavor, but thicken the dressing and protect my cells! When chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they form a gel that can be made into a pudding or as a great replacement for eggs (less than $0.15 per “chia egg”), and fat (up to ½ of the fat) in recipes for baked goods like cakes, cookies and muffins!
Mango Chia Pudding
Try this delicious recipe for Mango Chia Pudding with two different options for texture! You can use any fruit that you’d like, though mango, blueberries and coconut complement each other so well!
1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (I used almond milk)
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flaked coconut, unsweetened, raw or lightly toasted
1 tsp maple syrup, date syrup or 1 date, pitted and finely chopped
¾ cup mango chunks, freshdate syrup or frozen
2 Tbsp blueberries, fresh or frozen
For a pudding with a silky texture, combine all the ingredients, except for the blueberries, in a high powered blender until very smooth. Pour into small bowls or wine glasses and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Top with blueberries right before serving!
The Nutrition Professor’s Cook Smart Tips:
- Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or, even better, my Chai Spice Blend (www.TheNutritionProfessor.com and in my cookbook available at www.FoodieBars.com!).
- If you would prefer a pudding with a tapioca-style texture, simply stir the ingredients together and refrigerate.
Recipe inspired by www.skinnytaste.com
Timaree Hagenburger, a registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist and nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College. Timaree also conducts corporate wellness work, and has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV! Publishing her first cookbook has been quite the adventure! The Foodie Bar Way: One meal. Lots of options. Everyone’s happy. It is available at www.FoodieBars.com