|Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding|
Oh gosh, the benefits of chia seeds are truly a permanent fixture in my health knowledge, daily practices and pantry!
I spent most of 2012-13 working for Health Warrior Inc., a fabulous company that sells deee-licious 100-calorie chia bars. HW chia bars are a perfect on-the-go or pre-workout snack. They’re also vegan, gluten-free and super low in sugar. Basically, they rock, and you should scope them out HERE.
But I realized that I’ve been using chia in a lot of my recipes, assuming that y’all know what the heck it is, without properly explaining them. I apologize. You do deserve an explanation.
So let me tell you about the magic of these little nuggets!
Chia seeds, or Salvia Hispanica (they faaancy), are the seeds of a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia can be grown almost anywhere, but in order for it to have the proper vitamin and mineral profile, it is best grown in sub-tropical climates such as central and south America.
Sooo…why should you care? Because chia seeds are one of healthiest, most nutrient-rich Superfoods on the planet, with health benefits including but not limited to the following:
- Major Omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and heart disease
- Fiber. Oh, so much fiber! A diet that includes chia seeds will ensure your system stays detoxed and running smoothly
- Antioxidants. Chia is packed with a host of these cancer-fighting compounds
- Protein. Believe it or not, these seeds are a fantastic source of whole plant protein. Combine that with aforementioned fiber, these little guys will keep.you.full!
- Minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are required for the body to fulfill multiple crucial functions, such as energy metabolism and bone-building
Chia seeds are also gluten-free, can be digested whole AND, perhaps most magical of all, can absorb up to 12x their weight in liquid, making the a perfect health-packed base for puddings!
I’ve made vanilla chia pudding countless times, but for some reason, I haven’t had great luck creating a delicious chocolate chia pudding. Until now.
The combination of coconut and almond milk creates a unique creaminess without the coconut flavor, and the addition of chocolate chips adds richness and depth that I think was lacking. This pudding literally tastes like the most fantastic bowl of hot chocolate you’ve ever had…that also happens to be best friends with you bod.
I’ve been topping my chocolate chia pudding with a bit of pumpkin granola (Whole Foods bulk bin!), but the possibilities are endless!
If you haven’t integrated chia seeds into your diet yet, you’re really missing out. Start small—a teaspoon a day is plenty. You can gradually increase to about a tablespoon a day. Trust me, your bowels and energy levels will thank you immensely!