We’ve all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but how many of us actually really struggle with getting a well rounded meal in to start our day off on the right foot? Most of us are scrambling in the morning, we kept hitting snooze, rolled out of bed and rushed getting ready, opened up the pantry or fridge and don’t find anything that is easy to grab and go. So, what is easy to grab and go? Coffee from the drive through with maybe a pastry on the side. Or we have to rush to work and decide to just skip breakfast all together which only leaves us ravenous and cranky by lunch time and the poor food choices continue to happen the rest of the day.
Easy, make ahead meals that I can grab and pack to take with me to work are a staple for a successful morning routine. There are so many different healthy options that you can spend a little time once or twice a week preparing so that you are all set for the weekdays. Smoothies, eggs/quiches, overnight oats, leftovers from the night before, the list goes on and on.
After lots of trial and error I have found that for me, personally, I do best with more protein, fat and fiber in my first meal. This combination fills me up and fuels me through my entire morning. I naturally have more energy in the morning and need the right amount of fuel to ensure that my day starts off as productive as possible. If I consume too much sugar and carbs with little to no protein, I’m hungry within an hour and rummaging around my kitchen or office break room which can often lead to poor food choices or I’m left the whole rest of the morning dreaming about what I am going to have for lunch. Heck, sometimes in those situations I just end up eating my lunch early because I just can’t stand the hunger pains!
Enter, chia pudding. These guys are the perfect grab and go breakfast (or snack) that will fill you up for sure. I’ve made them in smaller jars for snacks or to go along with other things I am having for breakfast. Chia pudding takes minutes to prepare and can even be done an hour or two before you plan on eating them. I always make sure to keep some chia seeds and canned coconut milk on hand so that if I ever need to, I can whip these up in a pinch.
If you have never tried chia seeds before, you gotta! They are becoming more and more popular and easy to find in most big box stores such as Costco, Target, Walmart and of course health food stores. Not only can you use chia seeds to make pudding, but you can toss them into smoothies, homemade granola bars, or use them as an egg replacement in recipes.
Chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, omega 3’s and minerals. Because they are packed with fiber they aid in digestive health and help to fill you up. Chia seeds are native to Mexico and South America and were used by the ancient Mayans to boost energy and performance. The word “chia” actually is a Mayan word meaning strength.
But how do they make a pudding you ask? Chia seeds actually gel up when they are soaked in a liquid and create a thicker, pudding like texture. Soaking the chia seeds before you consume them also improves the ability to absorb all of those amazing nutrients they provide. Soaking them also helps with digestion as well. Remember, they have a lot of fiber, so if you aren’t used to eating them, you could experience some digestive upset. If you’re new to chia seeds, easing into it might be a good idea. Start by sprinkling some on top of a smoothie or a salad then gradually increase the amount until you are used to them, then try out a larger amount in the chia pudding.
Chia puddings can really be made into a variety of different flavors. Since it is fall and pumpkin is so easy to find, I thought that a pumpkin pie version would be tasty. It’s like having dessert for breakfast! Plus, you are getting the health benefits of chia seeds along with all of the amazing health benefits of pumpkin! Win-Win if you ask me! I like to top mine with coconut yogurt, cinnamon, shredded coconut, nuts/nut butter or granola.
Grab the ingredients this weekend and whip these up for your weekday breakfasts. You will be so glad that you prepped ahead of time and you’ll be full of energy for the rest of your workday!
Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup collagen powder optional
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey*
Blend or mix all ingredients, except the chia seeds, in a bowl or blender until well combined.
Stir in the chia seeds to the rest of the mixture.
Pour into individual jars and store in the fridge for at least one hour. Overnight is best.
*For a low sugar option, simply omit the maple syrup or honey. If you want sweetness but with a zero/low calorie sweetener you can sub for stevia or monk fruit.