Those silly chia pets ranging from Looney Tunes characters to U.S. presidents were onto something. Chia seeds are well loved by most health enthusiasts for its role as a superfood. They are loaded with omega-3 fats (such as alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) and fiber which can promote satiety and benefit heart health, but also pack in a little protein (four grams for one ounce serving) and antioxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA, DHA, and ALA are truly essential, not only because of their reported health benefits, but really because our body cannot make them. EPA and DHA are the “marine” omega-3’s as we get most of them from fatty fish and plankton that fish feed on. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA to function as a health benefit; you can find ALA in flaxseed, nuts, and yes, chia. While we see omega fats (omega-3 and omega-6) promoted in food stores, one thing to keep in mind is the actual ratio of these fatty acids we consume (the reported benefit is a ratio of 1:1).
In the typical american diet, we are consuming too much omega-6, found in canola and corn oil, and too little omega-3 which may attribute to inflammation or cardiovascular risk, however there is not enough strong evidence in research literature yet to make this claim. Omega-3 supplementation of EPA and DHA has been recommended by many health professionals since many lack the fish consumption in our diet and there is question of ALA conversion to these fats being limited in the body.
One important factor to consider while making chia pudding is the chia seed-to-liquid ratio. One of my favorite blogs, Minimalist Baker, recommended 1/3 cup chia seeds for every 1 1/2 cups liquid, and while on their site I also came across a beautiful chocolate chia pudding treat.
I divided this recipe into four serving sizes. Chia seeds can pack up to 60 calories or more per tablespoon, so I would suggest to keep the pudding size in moderation. The smaller serving is still very filling with the fiber and protein in the chia, and the thick consistency created as the seeds absorbed the liquid. For breakfast, I added in the nut or seed butter and fresh fruit (can try with frozen fruits too).
This recipe was fun to make and could not have been easier; if I could do it my first time trying, so can you!
Crave: Tapioca pudding Behave: Chia pudding
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (may substitute with other milk versions)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, optional
- 1/4 cup each of raspberries and peaches (or other fruit of your choice), optional
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweeted coconut, optional
- Simply mix the chia seeds and milk thoroughly in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Transfer the mixture into an airtight container and cover. Place the container in the refrigerator and keep for at least three hours, or until thickened to the consistency of your liking.
- Once it is pudding ready, add in the toppings of your choice.