Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coconut Chia Pudding

Ch-Ch-Ch-CHIA!.  If you were a child in the 80's, you probably remember the Chia Pet.  It was a terracotta, animal shaped, figurine that came boxed with a packet of chia seeds.  You spread the seeds onto the figurine and kept the seeds wet.  In a few weeks, they sprouted and gave your chia pet a nice coat of chia "fur." 
Chia seeds; once a sprouted ornament-now a new "health food".  After some reluctance, I decided to give the little seeds a try. 

Alone, they have a similar bite or crunch, as poppy seeds.  They do differ from other small seeds in that they hold up to 12x their weight in water.  Once wet, the Chia seeds form a gel like substance around them; much like tapioca.  Because of this, they are great to use as thickeners in puddings, shakes or smoothies. 

Coconut Chia Pudding
1 14oz can of coconut milk
1/4 cup water
5 Tablespoons of chia seeds
2-4 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a glass container with a lid.  Stir until well combined and honey or syrup is dissolved.  Place in fridge overnight to thicken. Add fresh fruit of your choice and enjoy.  Makes 4 servings.  

If not using local, raw honey... it's got to be CANADIAN maple syrup.

Chia seeds
I used 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup and found this to be too sweet for breakfast but this may be a personal preference.  My children loved the sweet pudding as a topping for their usual breakfast of berries, bananas, cinnamon, fish oil and yogurt. 

Chia seeds do have some health benefits.  They are high in fiber. In fact, most of the carbohydrates in the seeds are in the form of fiber.  Chia seeds are also 14% protein by weight and have no sugar.  They have many antioxidants and because of their ability to retain water, Chia seeds can contribute to a feeling of fullness, despite their minimal calories.  That said, I don't think Chia seeds are any more or less healthy than other nuts or seeds. Remember variety is the spice of life.  

Aside from making pudding, chia seeds can be used as you would any other small seed, like poppy or flax.  Chia can be used as a topping for salads, in granola, in smoothies as a "breading" and they can be sprouted and added to your sandwich or salad.  Enjoy!

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