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 once 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.
- Provides a sensational amount of calcium.
- 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.
- Brims with probiotics.
- Supplies prebiotics (fibers and starches that feed our gut bacteria).
- Can be dairy-free if you use plant milk & yogurt and use high-quality, minimally processed plant-based protein powder (for protein powder recommendations, see note below the recipe).
- Super versatile — you can vary the flavors to suit your mood and the time of year. In autumn and winter I often add a little pureed pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice mix; in the summer I add pureed fresh berries. And at any time of year you can add flavorings like peanut powder, Japanese matcha tea (powdered green tea), vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa powder, instant coffee granules or whatever else strikes your fancy. Can be enjoyed cold in the summer or warm in the winter (to warm, microwave for a minute or so; if you’re adding yogurt, only warm slightly as cooking yogurt can cause it to curdle).
Need I go on? I think not. So, without further ado, I give you:
Lemon & Vanilla Chia Pudding
- ½ cup milk, whole animal or plant milk
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, whole or plant yogurt (if using plant milk & yogurt, add protein powder -- see notes below)
- ½ serving unsweetened whey protein powder optional (see note below); I add whey or hemp protein powder when I use plant milk or yogurt to make chia pudding as these are usually low in protein
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp maple syrup or non-glycemic sweetener like Lakanto or Allulose
- 1 pinch lemon zest freshly grated on the Microplane zester; use untreated (organic) lemons
- ¼ cup mixed berries fresh
- 1 tbsp walnuts, chopped or grain-free granola; my favorite brand is Simple Truth's Original Granola
- In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, yogurt, protein powder (if using; see note), chia seeds, vanilla, sweetener and lemon zest and stir with a wire whisk to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk again.
- Pour into a container with a lid, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least four hours, ideally overnight. Don't worry about how runny the mixture it is initially -- it will thicken over time.
- When you are ready to eat, spoon the chia pudding into a bowl. If you find the consistency too thick, add a little more milk to thin it to the desired consistency. and top with berries and chopped nuts or granola.