Morning classes can be hard, especially when it comes to having breakfast. If you aren’t up two hours before you leave for class, figuring out what you’re going to have to fuel your body for the day can be difficult. Most quick options tend to be expensive, unhealthy, or both. But I have a breakfast that is a go-to for mornings where I need to leave and forgot to make something the night before, or planned out the night before just to make things faster in the morning. That breakfast is chia pudding.
Chia is well known for being a super food, each serving containing 7 grams of protein, 14 grams (or 56% of your daily need) of fiber, and 25% of your daily need for iron and calcium. It also happens to be a great thickening agent to make healthy pudding with.
You might be thinking of the chia pod which has hit the market as a healthy snack or meal on the go, and of how expensive they are. And yes, at 3-5 dollars per pod, they are expensive. But, like so many other things, chia pudding can be made at home for a fraction of the cost. And you can use a reusable container rather than creating more garbage by buying a pod.
To make chia pudding, of course you need chia seeds. When I first found this (before I had ever heard of chia pods) I thought that they would be expensive. And I was wrong. For a 454g bag at Walmart, I paid less than $3.50. Now of course the price varies on where you buy it for a small bag, but if you don’t go somewhere like a health food store, it shouldn’t be very expensive. The important question here is how many servings of chia can you get out of a bag? For me, the 454g bag gets me about 10 servings of pudding. So just the chia seeds themselves cost me only about $0.35 per serving, and everything else involved in the base pudding are ingredients common to Canadian kitchens.
Now, on to the important part: the recipe. Now, this recipe is the altered version that I use because I prefer mine to be less sweet, but of course you can add more sweetness as you like.
4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup of preferred milk type
1 teaspoon -1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup (can sub for agave nectar, but I don’t think honey works)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients but chia seeds until well combined then mix chia seeds in well. Let set for 30 minutes to overnight (though if you let it sit for longer than 45 minutes, mix it so the seeds don’t clump at the bottom. You will be thankful later.) Top with anything you like, and enjoy.
Toppings and additions:
There are a near endless amount of additions you can make to the mix itself to add flavour from spices or cocoa powder, to other extracts and pureed fruits. I myself almost always add cinnamon to it. As for toppings, those are nearly endless too. For a quick on-the-go breakfast, cut up or frozen fruit is fast, smoothies, and banana ice cream are great ways to add fruit.
The puddings shown below are (left) the base pudding with cocoa powder mixed in first, and topped with banana ice cream and (right) the base pudding recipe topped with pureed cranberries, strawberries and ginger with a touch of honey. I myself only use about 1 teaspoon of sugar to the base since most of the sweetness comes from the toppings, and I like it better with less sugar.
Side note: banana ice cream is just bananas broken up into smaller pieces, frozen, then blended in a food processor until smooth. It also makes for a great dessert. This as well you can doctor up with flavourings.
I guess I should give my opinion on chia pudding, and what the experience is like. Obviously I like it, or else I would not have done this. But some advice I can give when making it is to taste the milk mixture before adding the seeds, and to start off with less sugar and flavourings and add more as you go. The very first time I made it, I added the original recipe’s (I cannot find the one I used, I think it was just a link I followed one time) 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and it was nearly inedible. Thankfully it was easily fixed by adding in more milk and seeds and letting that sit. As for the experience, it is very similar to rice pudding, but crunchier. So if you aren’t a fan of having bits in a creamy pudding, I probably wouldn’t recommend this.