Once famous for creating the “hair” on clay forms in the shape of animals, cartoon characters or celebrities, chia seeds are now being recognized for their nutritional benefits. The seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and antioxidants. As our bodies age, we tend to lose muscle mass and bone density, absorb nutrients less efficiently and have a more sensitive digestive system. Since our bodies start to age more quickly after we turn 30, it’s important to start incorporating healthy food habits early into our daily lives. Chia seeds can provide you with a good start towards providing your body with an extra nutritional punch first thing in the morning by adding them to water, juice or yogurt. They are also a perfect topping for salads and baked fish.
Enjoy this fantastic chia pudding that is dairy-free, gluten-free and high in fiber – making it low in total carbohydrates.
And I must admit that a memorable childhood moment for me was getting my Troll chia pet at Kmart. It’s funny how we never thought to eat the seeds then, but now they are a staple in my pantry!
Orange and Chocolate Chia Pudding
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup water or almond milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest, sugar-free orange extract or a few drops of orange oil
5-10 drops Stevia extract or ¼ cup honey
Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream and dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate shavings (optional)
Mix the chia seeds, coconut cream, water or almond milk, cocoa powder, orange zest (extract or oil) and sweetener. If you prefer a smoother texture, use ground chia seeds (please note: ground chia seeds may taste bitter).
Let pudding sit for at least 10-15 minutes or overnight (ideal) in the fridge. Chia seeds will absorb the liquid and thicken, so it may be necessary to add more water or almond milk to get the desired consistency. Just before serving, add whipped cream and dark chocolate.
Lucia Schnitzer and her husband, Ken, own Pomelo (a full-service restaurant), Luci’s at The Orchard and Splurge
(a candy and ice cream shop), all at The Orchard Phx, 7100 N 12th Street, Phoenix. They also own Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, 1590 E Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, which they opened in 2009 in Lucia’s honor after her successful battle with breast cancer.