I am a HUGE fan of chia pudding. It’s delicious, nutrient dense, naturally vegan, gluten-free and low carb. I get direct messages, and emails regularly asking about the easiest way to make chia pudding. Word on the street must be that it’s time consuming or complicated. Let me set the record straight here: FAKE NEWS! This recipe for basic vanilla chia pudding is easy to make and takes under 5 minutes to prepare.
Chia Pudding shows up for breakfast and snacks and dessert in my instagram feed….because it shows up often in my REAL LIFE at all hours of the day and night. . There are quite a few reasons for this. Not only is it easy to make but it’s nutrient dense, and tasty. Add to that, the texture reminds me of childhood rice pudding…nostalgia foods are some of my favorites…and I’m IN! In addition to this vanilla chia pudding, I also regularly make chocolate chia pudding and golden chia pudding.
Protein and Fiber are so important.
I have learned, over time, that when I include both protein and fiber in my meals, I stay full (and happy) for longer. In other words, when I pay attention to WHAT I am eating, and what the nutrients are in the food, I don’t get hungry so quickly. I like to have chia pudding for breakfast because it provides me with sustained energy. I also like it for an afternoon snack on a day when I know dinner will be late because it will carry me through without the hangries creeping in.
My FAVORITE time of day for Chia Pudding?
OK, so now you know, I could eat vanilla chia pudding any time of day! And, I do! But, I eat it most often as a post-workout meal. Especially when I’m not coming home straight from the gym. There’s nothing worse than trying to run an errand or two on the way home when you need to replenish your energy stores. I’ve been there…..it’s not pretty. I love how easy this recipe is to take “to go” in a mason jar. Not only is it wise to eat within 30 minutes of working out, but it’s the perfect blend of protein, carbs and healthy fats to refuel with.
I know you’re looking to streamline your meal prep. I also know you’re looking for simple, healthy recipes. How do I know this? My health coaching clients are always asking for breakfast recipes that include protein, aren’t complicated to make and can be taken “to go” for hectic weekday mornings. My social media followers are often asking for afternoon snacks that are vegan and/or gluten-free. Not only that, but students in my cooking workshops want recipes for healthy desserts that don’t require a lot of prep and clean up.
Which type of Chia Seeds are better?
There is very little nutritional difference between white and black chia seeds. The black have a bit (barely measurable) more protein and the white have a bit (again….a VERY little bit) more Omega-3 fatty acids. Not enough, in my opinion to choose one over the other for health reasons. I buy both, and even a mixed bag sometimes. I decide based on what I have, or what I’m going to do with them. Sometimes aesthetics play a role. White chia seeds tend to be a bit smaller and therefore the pudding does look a little bit less nubby. Bottom line: either one is a good choice.
What are the health benefits of Chia Seeds?
- Nutrient Dense: high in nutrition, low in calories.
- Good for Bone Health: high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein….nutrients that are important for bone health.
- Good for weight loss: fiber and protein help with feelings of satiety.
- Protein: at 14% protein by weight, they are a concentrated source of plant based protein.
- Fiber: feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine and helps to keep your bowels regular.
- Low Carb: Although 1-oz of chia seeds has 12 grams of carbs, 11 of them come from fiber (undigestible) so the net carb count is only 1.
- Omega 3s: good for raising the “healthy” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.
- Antioxidants: help fight against damaged cells, aging and disease.
Is Vanilla Chia Pudding Hard to Make?
No! Likely the best part of this recipe is how easy it is to make. I use homemade almond milk as the base for this chia pudding recipe. You do not have to make almond milk from scratch, but you do need to read the labels and make sure the almond milk you do use has only two ingredients: water and almonds. Try to avoid almond milk that has additives. If nut-allergies are a concern, use another form of plant-based milk, no problem.
- Whisk together the plant-based milk, vanilla and maple syrup.
- Stir in chia seeds. The chia seeds will sink to the bottom. It is easier to mix them in well when you put them in AFTER the liquid.
- Wait 1 minute and then whisk again. The timing on this is important. If you wait much longer than 1 minute, the chia seeds will clump together and it will be harder to mix without lumps.
- Wait again. I usually wait 5 minutes and then mix one final time before covering and placing the pudding in the fridge.
- Ideally, wait at least an hour. The chia pudding will continue to gel and get thicker as time goes by.
- If you only have 15 minutes, go ahead and eat it, it will be fine. Don’t even put it in the fridge. Room temperature chia pudding is delicious IMHO.
- No time in the morning and you want to make it the night before? No problem!
What if I don’t like the nubby texture of chia pudding?
Honestly, that’s my favorite part….but I do hear this often, so you’re not alone! You can put all of the ingredients into a blender. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to double, or triple the recipe for there to be enough to mix well. Once chia seeds are fully ground, proceed as directed, as if you mixed by hand.
How to eat Vanilla Chia Pudding
- Customize a parfait with fruit or berries you enjoy.
- Take it “to go” in a mason jar.
- Add to your favorite smoothie recipe as a thickener and for added protein.
- Mix it with oatmeal for breakfast.
- Let your kids top them with some chocolate chips for an after-school snack.
- As a late night snack, chia pudding helps regulate blood sugar levels and the fiber content will help prepare your bowels for a morning movement.
Chia pudding is awesome for healthy meal prep. It is easy to make and it will stay good in the fridge for 5 days, so you can make it when it’s convenient for you, and enjoy it all week. It’s great for households with kids: let them layer in the berries for a colorful parfait! You can leave already prepped pudding in mason jars in individual servings. Vanilla Chia Pudding is good choice if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight or if you’re trying to up your nutrition game. I like chia pudding because it’s delicious. Let me know in the comments what you like most about vanilla chia pudding.
Vanilla Chia Pudding
- ¾ cup plant based milk*
- 3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup*
- In a small glass bowl or mason jar whisk together milk, vanilla and maple syrup.
- Then pour in the chia seeds and mix well. The chia seeds will sink to the bottom, so be sure to add them after the liquid and also to mix well right away.
- Wait one minute to let the chia seeds settle and then mix well again. This will help avoid clumps.
- After 5 minutes, stir again. Cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Chia pudding will be thick enough to eat after an hour. Ideally, leave it to continue to gel for 4 hours or overnight.
- Chia pudding will stay good iIn the fridge for 5 days.