Ch - Ch - Ch - Chia!


I have a new favorite breakfast dish!  It's just like eating tapioca pudding every morning and frankly, I feel a little guilty it's so good.  It's sort of a parfait, a pudding, a refreshing way to start your day! On Sunday nights, I make a big bowl of Chia Seed Pudding and it lasts me for the entire work week. Chia seeds are not only good, and fun to work with, but they are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs. Take a look:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
Fiber
Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.
Antioxidants
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. 
Minerals
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.
Dyslipidemia
A study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or "good" cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

Here's how I make my morning Chia Seed Pudding:

1/2 cup of plain Greek Yogurt 
1/2 cup of Almond milk
1/4 cup of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of real maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and set aside for 5 mins. This allows the Chia seeds to start to swell and thicken the mixture. Once thickened, I transfer to a covered bowl and refrigerate for the next day's breakfast. 

To serve, I put about a 1/3 of a cup of the "pudding" into a bowl, slice fresh strawberries, bananas, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flax seed meal, drizzle with a little honey and add a few walnuts for crunch. It's delicious and filling. You could really add anything you want, any berry that's in season or any nut for crunch. Some more suggestions for toppings:

Granola
Blueberries
Peaches
Blackberries
Raspberries
Raisins
Dates
Almonds

Hope you give it a try and enjoy!