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When I first started seeing my nutritionist, Chaundra, we worked on diversifying my food choices (we actually worked on that the entire time I saw her, but in the beginning I limited myself A LOT). For breakfast, it was the same food everyday for 2 years. For lunch, it was the same food everyday for at least a year. Literally. Today, I can’t hardly stand those foods anymore…guess after years of the same food you kinda get really unbearably irritatingly bored.
Chaundra saw everything I ate. When we would meet we would discuss ways to incorporate new foods into my diet. Chia pudding happened to be one of these ideas.
I had my safe breakfast that I was terrified of letting go of. I knew the calorie count and how much I was “allowed” to have. Anamia was so controlling. Could you imagine someone telling you you can only have a certain food for the rest of your life, and you’re only allowed to have so much? Yuck! Talk about urges to binge, geez.
After coming up with multiple ideas for new foods to try for breakfast I began branching out. I went from cereal 7 days a week to 6, then 5, then 4, until I reached once in a blue moon (or when I really craved it which seems to be a couple times a month, if that).
I searched for recipes and ideas online and in cookbooks to find inspiration. I found tons of ideas (which is how I found that I actually really love oatmeal). One of the foods Chaundra wanted me to try was chia pudding. I was intimidated by the idea of chia seeds making pudding. At the time I didn’t really know much about chia seeds and how they react with liquid. I also was scared of what might happen if I ate chia seeds. But…the only thing that happened when I tried chia pudding was that I thought it was really yummy and I LOVED it!
Chia seeds are so incredibly healthy for you! They are loaded with nutrients such as manganese, phosphorous, and calcium; plus, they are a great source of omega-3 fats (polyunsaturated fats).
When you mix chia seeds with liquid they gel up (which is why they are also a great egg substitute). It’s actually really surprising to see! I like to add them to my smoothies for extra nutrition and to thicken.
The recipe I posted below is the recipe that made me fall in love with chia seeds. I love chocolate, so anything plus chocolate = YUM in my book.
**Don’t forget to enter the GIVE-A-WAY for a gift card to Whole Foods, Trader Joes or The Fresh Market
Strawberry Chocolate Chia Pudding
By Amy DiPaola
Serves 2 (or one hungry tummy)
1 1/4 cups almond milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 Tbs rolled oats
2 Tbs cacao powder
1 Tbs carob powder
Dash of cinnamon
Few drops of liquid stevia (or use 1 Tbs maple syrup or agave nectar)
1 medium/large banana, mashed
Cacao or carob nibs
1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds, oats, cacao, carob, cinnamon and stevia in a bowl. Whisk until you have a smooth pudding like texture.
2. Place in the fridge and let the pudding sit at least 2 hours or overnight (I always make it the night before so it’s ready for breakfast).
3. In the morning, stir in the mashed banana and then layer it in a glass with strawberries and cacao nibs. You could also use granola or other fruits!