I used to dismiss chia pudding as Instagram eye candy that nobody needs, but once I began to ponder its many advantages, I changed my mind. Now I eat it at least twice a week and recommend it to all my clients. Here’s why:
- It’s ridiculously quick and easy to prepare — no cooking required, just a bit of gentle mixing. Honestly, a five-year-old can make this.
- Can be made in large batches and refrigerated for several days, thus obviating the need to make breakfast from scratch every morning. Easy to pack and bring to work.
- Provides high-quality protein (assuming you’re making it with yogurt and/or kefir and add protein powder, as I do here).
- Contains super-healthy fats, including the precious omega-3 fats most of us don’t eat enough of.
- Provides low-glycemic carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
- Packed with fiber, which supports intestinal transit and balanced blood sugar levels.
- Brimming with probiotics from yogurt and kefir.
- Supplies prebiotics (fibers and starches that feed our gut bacteria).
- Gluten-free (if you care about that sort of thing; many need to).
- Can be dairy-free if you replace yogurt and kefir with plant milk and high-quality, minimally processed protein powder, as here (helpful if you’re allergic or intolerant to dairy)
- Super versatile — you can vary the flavors to suit your mood and the time of year. In the winter, I often add pumpkin-pie spices; in the summer, I add strawberry puree to the pudding. And at any time of year, you can add things like peanut powder, Japanese matcha (powdered green tea), vanilla or whatever else strikes your fancy to change things up. (I recommend making a large batch of the base pudding – shown below – and adding flavors to each individual serving so you’re not committing yourself to eating umpteen servings of the same flavor.)
- It’s one of the few tasty ways to enjoy chia seeds, which are a good thing to eat on a regular basis because of these 11 reasons
Need I go on? I think not. So, without further ado, I give you:
Creamy Coconut & Chia Pudding
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt plain, whole
- 1/2 cup kefir plain, whole
- 1/2 cup coconut milk unsweetened, additive-free; I like Trader Joe's
- 1.5 servings hemp protein powder I like Wilderness Poets' hemp protein powder as it contains only one ingredient and is minimally processed
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract ideally, alcohol-free as this dies doesn't get cooked
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ripe mango or berries, cherries, apricots, peaches -- whatever's in season
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- In a dry, small skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut flakes, stirring constantly, until they are a pale golden color -- this should take no more than 30-45 seconds. Tip onto a plate to cool.
- Place kefir, yogurt, coconut milk, hemp protein powder and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine. Stir in the chia seeds until evenly distributed. Transfer to a container with a lid that seals tightly.
- Let soak for at least one hour, ideally overnight.
- When you are about to eat, peel and cube the mango (half a mango per serving). Spoon chia pudding into a bowl, top with mango and toasted coconut flakes and enjoy.
- 530-odd calories are probably too much for a small, light person eating about 1,800 calories a day, but just about right for a larger, heavier person who eats 2,500 or more each day. If a full serving is too much for you, I won't stop you eating less of it and spreading it out over three servings instead of two.
- Instead of coconut flakes, feel free to scatter this dish with a tablespoon of chopped nuts of your choice or low-sugar, grain-free granola (like Autumn's Gold).
- For a fruit-pudding effect, “smoothify” fruit in a blender with yogurt, kefir and coconut milk, and then stir in the protein powder and chia seeds (add the seeds after blending the other ingredients; if you grind them in the blender, they can taste bitter).
- Add 1-2 tbsp defatted peanut powder (like PB2) to the base mix and top with low-sugar strawberry spread for a “PB&J” flavor profile.