Looking for a healthy and filling breakfast but tired of bland and ordinary oats? Look no further than this magical ingredient- chia seeds!
Not only are they packed with health-giving antioxidants, but they are also a great source of slow-releasing energy so you can stay revitalized all morning long.
Chia seeds are a versatile ingredient so you can use them in many other recipes other than chia pudding, but for now here are 6 healthy chia pudding recipes to try out as well as a great base recipe to do your own experimenting with your favorite flavors!
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds, also called Mexican Chia, are the seeds from the mint family. They are native to Mexico and Guatemala and have long been used as a quick energy source for thousands of years!
Chia seeds were a staple for Aztec and ancient Mexican civilizations, and apparently, Aztec warriors used to eat chia seeds before battle to give them strength and endurance.
The seeds not only were (and still are) an important part of people’s diets, but they also have many medicinal benefits and applications.
Today, chia seeds are grown commercially around the world in countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, the USA, and Australia. You’re probably used to seeing them crop up in many health food blogs as their health benefits are pretty well known across the globe nowadays.
What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are an amazing source of vitamins, a powerful antioxidant, and full of minerals. Some of these magical antioxidants include:
- Chlorogenic acid
- Caffeic acid
It’s forgivable if you haven’t heard much about these individual antioxidants. All you really need to know is that eating foods rich in these antioxidants may have significant health benefits including:
- Better Heart Health
- Regulated Blood Sugar Levels
- Reducing Free Radicals
- Improved Bone Health
- Healthier Weight Management
- Reduced Inflammation
What is the Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds contain many essential vitamins and minerals including:
They are also a great source of an Omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. Great to add to your diet, especially if you don’t eat oily fish or take additional supplements.
A 1-ounce serving (28.35 grams) of chia seeds has:
- Calories: 138
- Protein: 4.7 grams
- Fat: 8.7 grams
- Carbohydrates: 12 grams
- Fiber: 9.8 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Chia seeds are quite high in carbs so are not normally that suited to a keto diet, especially with the addition of other carb-heavy toppings such as granola, seeds, and nuts.
Is it Ok to Eat Chia Seeds Every Day?
Absolutely- they are a great source of fiber, many vitamins and keep you full for a long time making them a great addition to your diet. As chia pudding is so filling, you really don’t have to eat a huge amount to get all the good benefits for the day.
It’s a great idea to layer your chia pudding with lots of fresh fruit, low-fat yogurts, and some crunchy seeds to get a filling breakfast that’s also high in volume so you’re not as tempted to eat through all your chia pudding at once, especially if you’ve found your perfect flavors!
Are Chia Seeds Bad For You?
Chia seeds have a tonne of health benefits, but like most things, overdoing it can lead to some unpleasant side effects:
Digestive upset- As Chia seeds have very high fiber content, having too many chia seeds too often can cause bloating, constipation, and diarrhea especially if you are new to healthy eating and getting a higher fiber intake- the same could be said of beans, legumes, and sweet potatoes.
It’s best to take it easy and stick to one or two servings a day rather than switching your whole diet to chia seeds when your stomach isn’t used to a high-fiber diet.
A high fiber diet is also best avoided if you have bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease as this can cause flare-ups. Try a serving first to see how your stomach reacts and don’t suddenly switch to a full chia seed diet!
Choking hazard – be sure to soak your chia seeds as they expand as they absorb water- so potentially if you eat lots of dry seeds, they can become gelatinous and swell in your mouth, but simply soak your seeds for about 5 minutes to prevent this (plus they just aren’t very appealing dry).
Allergies – Reaction to chia seeds is rare but can occasionally occur- be aware of any itching, vomiting, or adverse reactions.
Is Chia Pudding Good for Weight Loss?
Yes and no, they are a good source of protein and fiber but are also higher in healthy fats so it’s recommended that you only have a serving or two per day.
They do curb your appetite so are a great way to start your day and are a great energy source for breakfast or as a snack in moderation. The only trouble with chia puddings is getting carried away with toppings!
If you want a lower calorie treat, try to limit the amounts of sweeteners and fats such as peanut butter, fatty nuts or maple syrups, and honey-baked granolas which can be deceptively high in calories.
Instead load your chia puddings with fresh fruits, less heavy kinds of milk like almond and oat.
Everything is of course fine in moderation but it’s easy to get carried away with the presentation- all the following recipes can be adjusted to your preference and calorie goals whilst still providing a tasty and flavorful treat for your breakfast or snack.
Read on to find our top picks for healthy chia pudding recipes to get you started with these versatile little seeds!
Starting with a soon-to-be staple in your chia pudding repertoire, this recipe makes a creamy, rich-tasting chia pudding that’s perfect for chocolate lovers, or when you’re craving a sweet treat but want something that’s on the healthy side.
This recipe can be made overnight, or in the morning and makes a decadent tasting breakfast or a perfect treat for after a hard day when you’d be tempted by the cookie tin.
Made with almond milk, maple syrup for sweetness, cacao powder, and seasonings, this is a great one to get you started and there are lots you can customize to make it your own- such as swapping out the almond milk for coconut for a richer, creamier pudding.
This is a great, creamy-textured vanilla chia pudding that makes an amazing base layered with fruits, nuts, granola, and just about anything else you fancy!
Flavored with vanilla extract, this pudding gives you that creamy custard feeling with way more health benefits for your buck!
Tuck into this hearty pudding guilt-free and make snacking on fruit fun again, layering up your chia pudding like a fancy healthy trifle.
Oh, my word. This chia pudding takes a few more steps to complete but wow, it’s so worth it.
Replicating all the flavors of your childhood favorite lunch in a healthy little package, this PB and J pudding involves making a basic blueberry chia jam by cooking over the hob and then thickening up in the fridge.
This is layered with a peanut butter flavored chia pudding with little dollops of your favorite peanut butter and refrigerated.
This keeps for a good few days and can be topped with some fresh blueberries just before serving for your morning breakfast treat. You could also switch out the blueberries in the topping and jam for strawberries or raspberries.
Another twist on an American classic. A regular banana cream pie is so tasty but loaded with calories, unhealthy fats, and let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to only have one slice.
As chia pudding is so versatile, it’s really easy to recreate what you’re craving in a healthier, breakfast-appropriate form. This tasty chia version of the banana cream pie is loaded with toasted coconut for crunch, mashed banana for sweetness, and coconut milk for that custardy kick.
Coming in higher calories than your regular chia pudding due to the full-fat coconut milk, this is more of a treat. Though you can always sub out the coconut milk for almond milk or lighter nut milk if you prefer.
This four-ingredient chia pudding is deliciously sweet and is great for both breakfasts or as a guilt-free dessert. Made with just mango, chia seeds, coconut milk, and maple syrup, this is another great one for switching out ingredients for lower-fat varieties if you’d like.
Simply blend up your mango, leaving a bit for texture, and add to your other ingredients before waiting half an hour for everything to thicken up, stirring after 15 minutes and you’re good to go!
You can use any lighter milk such as almond or oat if you prefer and you can use a lighter sweetener such as agave or stevia instead of maple syrup.
Excellent if you’re craving lots of different textures or you’re really in the mood for a slice of pumpkin pie. These chia pudding parfaits are a perfect blend of pumpkin puree, pie spice, low-fat milk, and chia seeds layered up with toasty granola and plain yogurt of your choice.
Switch up the granola with whatever you have on hand, getting creative with your favorite nuts and seeds to add crunch and texture to your pudding.
This is a great crowd pleaser as you can make it a few days in advance and serve a show-stopping breakfast with minimal fuss.
Basic Recipe for Chia Pudding
There are so many ways you can make chia pudding and this recipe is a great basic way to get you started.
You can play around with liquid to seed ratio to get the thickness of pudding you love the most but below is a great basis to work from and adjust to your preferences.
The basic ratio for ingredients is as follows:
- 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to one cup of plant-based milk.
This, of course, depends on the thickness of your milk, for example, full-fat coconut milk is going to give you a thicker texture than say, almond or soy milk but just like porridge, how thick you like your consistency is up to you!
Some prefer theirs to be more solid like a jelly or cake, whereas others prefer it to be soft and spoonable like a pudding cup.
Personally, we like somewhere in the middle- hardy enough to hold good layers in a cup without everything blending together but soft enough to be smooth- something close to a greek yogurt consistency.
Here’s a basic chia recipe that makes two good-sized servings:
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- One cup almond or other milk
- A tiny dash of salt
- A teaspoon of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, vanilla syrup)
Add your salt and sweeteners to your milk of choice and mix them together. Pour your chia seeds into your liquid and stir constantly until the seeds absorb some of the liquid, being sure to not let the seeds clump together too much as this can stop them from properly absorbing all the liquid.
Leave for fifteen minutes before stirring again and adding any additional ingredients or flavors such as chopped fruit. Spoon into serving containers such as glass jars or lunch box containers, leaving space for the mixture to expand and for adding any extra toppings before serving.
Leave in the fridge for an additional half an hour and it’s ready to serve! It’s as simple as that. This pudding can also be kept overnight for an easy morning breakfast or late-night snack, and you can also double (or triple!) the recipe so you have breakfast on hand for the rest of the week as it’ll last around 5 days in your fridge.
If you keep your basic recipe plain, you can switch up your flavors and toppings throughout the week so you don’t get bored. Take inspiration from other recipes, favorite desserts, or breakfasts, and see what you can come up with!
Mistakes to Avoid when Making Chia Pudding
To avoid having dry unpleasant lumps of chia seeds, make sure you’re stirring your chia seeds and liquid mixture enough before you pop it in the fridge to solidify.
It might be a bit of a pain getting it out to stir it but if you put the time in to stir your chia seeds properly before you start layering up your puddings, you’ll save yourself any unpleasantness later and have perfect chia pudding ready for you.
What Can I Top My Chia Pudding With?
Here is a (definitely not exhaustive!) list of topping ideas for your chia pudding
- Nuts – try chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews, or almonds layered in your pudding!- Great for a little crunchy texture, especially if you roast them in the oven for ten minutes or on the stovetop to maximize their flavor
- Granola – you could layer your pudding with your favorite store-bought variety or even make your own with nuts, oats, a sweetener like maple syrup or peanut butter cooked in the oven slowly for an hour or two until dry and crispy
- Coconut flakes – again, great for texture- toast these over the hob for five minutes or buy ready-toasted coconut flakes to layer with or as a great topping
- Dried fruit – raisins, sultanas, chopped dates, or cranberries are a tasty addition to any pudding, especially with the addition of granola
- Nut butter – peanut, almond, cashew, whatever you prefer- these go great with a lighter fruit but be wary, they are high in fats so definitely more of a treat topping
- Chopped fresh fruit – banana, strawberry, berries, apples- you can layer these up before you store your pudding in the fridge and they’ll soften up with your chia pudding. You can also add fresh slices on top just before serving for some fresh extra flavor
- Cocoa or cacao powder – mix this into your chia mixture when you add your liquid ingredients so it doesn’t clump up and become dry. If you use unsweetened cacao it’s worth adjusting your sweetener or adding more fruit to taste
- Spices – cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or vanilla sugar are all tasty additions to bump up your chia pudding flavor profile
- Flavored syrups– you can get loads of different varieties of sugar-free coffee syrups in just about every flavor under the sun nowadays- from smores to mint choc chips! A great way to get sugar-free sweetness into your pud and try new flavor combos with fruit and nuts- be sure to start with just a small amount though as any liquid you add will change your liquid-to-chia seed ratio!
What Else Can I Do With Chia Seeds?
Whilst chia pudding itself is super versatile, there are also lots of other uses for chia seeds in your cooking. Store your chia seeds in a cool, dry place as they will absorb any moisture they come in contact with.
- Use chia seeds to create an egg replacer in baked goods- just like flax seeds, you can mix them with equal amounts of water to make a thick jelly substance that makes a great binder in baking as a vegan alternative to eggs.
- Chia gel- you can mix up a chia gel with water and add it to smoothies, soups, or baked goods to add a healthy protein and fiber kick to any of your meals!
- Sprinkle raw chia seeds onto your oats or smoothie bowls for a bit of crunch and added fiber- though be sure not to eat them raw in big scoops as they can become a choking hazard as previously mentioned
- Add dry seeds to your chopped nuts and seeds mix to top your soups, smoothies, or salads
- Add them as a great thickener to homemade energy or snack bars
- Mix chia gel up with flour and chicken spices to make a thick batter to coat vegan chicken or tofu slices
- Sprout your chia seeds in water to make chia sprouts! These are a great and healthy salad topper or garnish to a tofu scramble or breakfast bowl