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What Is Chia Pudding?

Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica and were originally grown in Guatemala and Mexico. 

Chia contains soluble fiber and healthy fat, plus it is a complete plant-based protein. Chia is also packed with antioxidants like quercetin and minerals like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. It absorbs 9-10 times its weight in water so it can help with hydration. Chia pudding tastes like a treat, but acts like a health food.

Chia pudding is delicious anytime, and it is my go-to when I notice that our family diets have gone off track with too many treats. My kids love it because of the fun texture and yummy add-ins. I love it because it is easy, healthy, and delicious. Chia pudding is a great way to sneak in powdered probiotics and immune support supplements for kids. It’s also a good breakfast, especially on days with a lot of action because it keeps tummies full for a long time.  

Overnight Chia Pudding Recipe

I use the basic chia pudding recipe from Oh She Glows and add my own twist. Getting the right ratio of plant-based milk to chia to sweetener might take a little experimentation because it varies brand to brand and based on your personal preference. 

Confession: I don’t measure my ingredients very often, but I did my best to estimate the amounts of the add-ins for you!

Basic Chia Pudding IngredientsA bowl of chia seeds next to a bowl of chia pudding on a white plate.

  • 3 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
  • ½-¾ cup chia seeds
  • 1-3 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener to taste

Chocolate-Banana Chia Pudding Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1 small banana chopped or mashed
  • 2 rounded tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

To make it a desert, top with cacao nibs and/or organic chocolate chips (optional)

Vanilla-Spice Chia Pudding Ingredients

  • 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Let kids add spices to taste (we use cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

To make it a desert, top with stewed apple slices and/or whipped cream (optional)

Directions

Mix or blend all the ingredients together and let sit overnight (or at least 3 hours). Chia pudding keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days. Not every kid will love the texture of chia seeds, if a smooth pudding is desired, chia pudding can be pulsed in the blender before letting it set overnight.

Chia Seeds As Medicine

In my integrative medicine practice, chia is a common prescription as part of a treatment plan for digestive problems, blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and weight management. Chia can be eaten as a pudding, prepared as agua fresca, or blended into smoothies. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds break easily when hydrated so don’t need to be ground to unlock the goodness inside. 

Caution: chia contains a lot of soluble fiber, so it needs to be fully hydrated and consumed with water or it has the potential to cause rather than cure constipation. 

Summary

Chia pudding is an easy to prepare kid-friendly treat or healthy snack. Its nutrient-dense profile makes it a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet. Chia has been used as a part of treatment plans to maintain or improve blood sugar, weight, hydration, cardiovascular health and digestion. 

References:

  • Motyka, S., Koc, K., Ekiert, H., Blicharska, E., Czarnek, K., & Szopa, A. (2022). The Current State of Knowledge on Salvia hispanica and Salviae hispanicae semen (Chia Seeds). Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 27(4), 1207. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27041207
  • Vuksan, V., Jenkins, A. L., Brissette, C., Choleva, L., Jovanovski, E., Gibbs, A. L., Bazinet, R. P., Au-Yeung, F., Zurbau, A., Ho, H. V., Duvnjak, L., Sievenpiper, J. L., Josse, R. G., & Hanna, A. (2017). Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) in the treatment of overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD, 27(2), 138–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2016.11.124
  • Kulczyński, B., Kobus-Cisowska, J., Taczanowski, M., Kmiecik, D., & Gramza-Michałowska, A. (2019). The Chemical Composition and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds-Current State of Knowledge. Nutrients, 11(6), 1242. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061242
Dr. Green Mom

Dr. Mayer is a naturopathic medical doctor and an expert in nutrition and wellness as it relates to pediatrics and families. Her passion for prevention of disease as cure fueled her desire to immerse herself into specializing in adult onset chronic conditions, as well as childhood chronic illness.

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