Healthy Recipe, Chia Pudding

Chia seeds have been called a “superfood” — and for good reason. These tiny seeds are packed with protein, fiber, minerals, and omega-three fatty acids, and have been touted for all kinds of health benefits: lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, controlling hunger, even boosting exercise performance. When added to liquid and allowed to soak for a while, the seeds swell up and transform into a pudding-like consistency that can be sweetened and dressed up any number of ways for a tasty, energizing breakfast treat, a midday pick-me-up, or a light and refreshing dessert. Coconut milk is the base for this recipe, but any dairy or plant-based milk will work as well, as would 100% fruit juice. A handful of fresh berries instantly amps up the flavor and vitamins. A sprinkle of nuts, granola, or toasted coconut adds crunch. — Susan Puckett

1 14-ounce can coconut milk (light or full-fat)
5 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or agave (plus more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Fresh blueberries and/or raspberries or sliced strawberries
Shredded coconut, granola, and/or sliced or chopped nuts (optional) Directions 1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup or other sweetener, vanilla, and salt. Stir with a fork, breaking up any clumps of seeds so that they are evenly distributed throughout.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or divide into lidded serving-size containers, and refrigerate for at least 2 or 3 hours, or overnight.
3. Before serving, give it another stir, then taste and adjust with a little more syrup or other sweetener, if desired.
4. Spoon the pudding into bowls and top with berries and/or other toppings of choice and serve.
5. Refrigerate leftover pudding for up to 5 days. — Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

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