The word “super food” is being used commonly in health and nutrition circles nowadays. In the mix, there are a number of foods that are dubbed super foods but there is no evidence to prove their claim to fame. There is one super food though that we can definitely promote without fear of contradiction and that is Chia Seeds.
Chia seeds originated in the Central and South American region and is thought to have been a staple of the Mayans and Aztecs of yesteryear. They consumed it for its vast nutritional benefits and also the role it played in attaining and maintaining good health. The word chia is translated strength so you can imagine how important a food source it was to them. I am not sure what their favourite method of consuming this wonder food was, but the easy to make, chia seed pudding is certainly our favourite.
Superb nutritional value
Fortunately, these little black (or sometimes white) coloured seeds are still available to us today. They are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats and other vitamin and minerals.
Imagine, just 28 grams of these seeds (which works out to about two tablespoons) can provide you with;
- 11 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 9 grams of fat (5 grams of which are healthy omega3)
Of the recommended RDI, the two tablespoons of chia seeds will also provide
- 18% calcium
- 30% manganese
- 27% phosphorus
- 30% magnesium
Chia seeds also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
A few studies show that Chia seeds can significantly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. It has also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, reduction of blood sugar levels and improved bone health.
Chia seeds can be consumed in many ways.
- It can be had raw
- In your smoothies
- In your porridge and cereals
- Sprinkled on your desserts
- Sprinkled on your rice or vegetables
- In your baked goods
- As chia pudding
I purposely ended the list with chia pudding so we can go ahead and talk about it some more.
Talk about a healthy breakfast, dessert or snack that is easy to prepare! That is chia pudding.
It’s loaded with proteins, healthy omega-3 fats, vitamins and minerals. The fiber content per serving is amazing with approximately 40% of the RDI per serving. Chia seeds is also high in antioxidants and you know we need a lot of that to fight off free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer
If you haven’t tried chia pudding before you are really missing out on something. It is so ridiculously easy to make. All you need is two ingredients. That is your basic Chia pudding recipe. The first ingredient of course are chia seeds and the other ingredient is your liquid base which is usually milk. You may use any non-dairy milk of your choice; almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, rice milk, whichever you desire. To 3 tablespoons of chia seeds add 1 cup of milk. Mix it together and your work is over. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight for it to set. You have just finished making your chia pudding. Was that easy or what?
Lots of variations
Well that was your basic chia pudding but there is so much more that you can do to make your pudding more interesting. You can top with all different types of fruits, or you can mix in different flavourings in your pudding.
Let me share with you 7 ways you can make delicious chia pudding that you will certainly enjoy. That’s one for every day of the week. Just make these additions to your basic pudding.
Vanilla Chia Pudding: Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tbsp of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
Strawberry Coconut: Use coconut milk for the milk of choice in the basic recipe, and garnish with sliced strawberries
Peanut Butter Pudding: Stir 1-2 tbsp peanut butter or powdered peanut butter into the base recipe.
Orange Vanilla: Stir in 1/2 tsp orange zest and 1/8 tsp vanilla. Top with a drizzle of honey and some chopped fruits and nuts of your choice.
Blueberry Pie Chia Pudding: Stir in 1/4 cup mashed or pureed blueberries or blueberry yogurt. Add a dash of cinnamon if desired.
Chocolate: Add 2 tbsp of cacao powder to the mix. Sweeten with 2 tbsp maple syrup. Top with banana and blueberries.
Banana Chia Pudding: Mix in one chopped banana. Add some raisins for extra sweetness.
As you can see, the combinations are limitless. The Banana Pudding made with soy milk will taste different if you make it with coconut milk instead. The Strawberry Coconut Pudding topped with strawberries will be different if topped with pineapple and mangoes. Get the picture?
I like my chia pudding topped with lots of different fruits at the same time.
Just take these basic chia pudding ingredients and combine them any way you want;
Soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut water, apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, honey, agave, stevia, coconut sugar, peanut butter, almond butter, jam, cacao powder, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, orange, pineapple, apple, mango, banana, raisins, craisins…see what I mean? No end in sight. Don’t forget the most important ingredient…chia seeds.
How Long Can You Keep Chia Pudding?
Your chia pudding will safely last 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator or you may store it in the freezer where it will last for several weeks. Now there is no reason why you should be out of a healthy snack or breakfast. Just grab a chia pudding from the fridge and enjoy.
For more ideas check out these 4 delicious chia pudding recipes from Clean and Delicious.
Are you ready to give chia pudding a try?
Tell us about it in the comments section below.