As a working single Mom, it can sometimes be madness in the mornings getting both myself and my son ready and fed for our day. Breakfast is something I always try to make the night before in order to buy myself as much time as possible upon rising. One of our most favorite breakfast foods is Chia Seed Pudding. I do a whole slew of flavors and combinations, mixing in fruit purees, nuts, other seeds, different extracts and protein powders. This Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding is one of River's favorites. Usually, I make our chia pudding unsweetened, and if I do sweeten it, it's sweetened by the stevia in our Vega Protein powder, or by mixing in mashed banana. This recipe is sweetened with a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup, so naturally, it's an even bigger hit with my little guy (the sweeter the better of course!). I also love serving this as a shooter sized pudding for a dessert when I have dinner parties.
The word “Chia" comes from the ancient Mayan's and means strength. These seeds are a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber and so the meaning of the word really is an excellent representation of the seed itself and the properties of which it lends you. Many athletes are using chia seeds and gels in order to optimize performance levels and stamina. The digestion of complex carbohydrates are slowed down, and the soluble fiber from the seeds helps to stabilize blood sugar levels resulting in sustained energy. Perfect for breakfasts or for pre work out fuel.
Some of my most favorite foods are those that contain detoxification properties; chia is definitely one of them. Similar to psyllium, aloe vera and cilantro, chia expands when in comes into contact with liquid creating a gelatinous texture that helps to cleanse the colon and absorb toxins on its way out.
Chia seeds are an incredible source of EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids), like Omega 3 and 6. In fact, chia has the highest Omega-3 content in the entire plant kingdom. Omega-3 is known for its anti inflammatory properties, making it highly effective for minimizing swelling and pain in arthritis sufferers as well as making chia an excellent recovery food for athletes. EFA's help tremendously in boosting metabolism and promoting lean muscle mass. Making this seed a huge contender in weight loss and weight maintenance. Essential Fatty Acids help with cellular development and the formation of healthy cell membranes. They assist in the development and function of the brain and nervous system, and they help regulate proper thyroid and adrenal activity. They have also been shown to block tumor formation as well as the growth of breast cancer cells.
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of protein, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
Basically, what I am saying is: EAT CHIA SEEDS (every day?)! They are an incredibly powerful super food that will provide a vast array of nutritional and medicinal properties. So go on, and make your bad self some Chocolate Coconut pudding!
Chocolate Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
3 tbsp of Chia Seeds (Black or White)
2 tbsp of Cacao Powder
2 tbsp of unsweetened shredded Coconut
1 tsp of Vanilla
2 tbsp of Maple Syrup
1 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Once combined, let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and give it another good stir. You will already notice that it is beginning to thicken. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or for best results, over-night. The longer it stands, the thicker and richer the pudding will become. I like to make this after my son goes to bed, once breakfast comes around the next day I just have to pull it out of the fridge and serve. You can also pack each serving into a small mason jar, this makes for a perfect breakfast on the go or as a healthy and nutritious mid day snack, meal or dessert. This recipe yields 2-3 servings and lasts, refrigerated, for 2-3 days.
Photos by Danielle Matar