Banana Cream Chia Seed Pudding: No Cook, High Protein, GF

Finally a pudding so healthy you can have it for breakfast!  I love pudding because it feels like a truly decadent dessert but really is rather light.   The only reason I don't make it all the time is I hate having to constantly stir pudding while it cooks.  And I can't find an instant organic pudding in the store.  I'm so excited to finally have a healthy alternative.  The key is to use chia seeds instead of corn starch (which is GMO and spikes your blood sugar). 
Chia seeds can absorb 10 times their weight in water, making a tapioca-like gel that can thicken sauces or jams, and even help you feel full longer.  It usually takes at least 4 hours to start to really thicken, but is best if left to soak all night.  Perfect to make the night before for breakfast!  If you want to make it faster you can blend it in a blender or with an immersion blender.  I have found this to speed up the thickening.

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An extra bonus of this recipe is that chia Seeds are considered a super food. Chia is packed with vitamins and minerals and ALA Omega 3 fats (the good kind of fat). For example, three tbsp of dry Chia Seeds contains only about 190 calories, 7 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of healthy fats (including ALA omega-3 fatty acids). They are also rich in antioxidants, and contain calcium, iron, minerals and vitamins. They are gluten-free and can be used and digested whole (unlike flax-seeds).  You can find chia seeds at health food stores, Trader Joe's, and Target.

I developed this recipe to be as low calorie, low sugar, and as filling as possible, because I'm trying to lose a few pounds.  It is bikini season after all!  I was going to make it peanut butter banana cream pudding (my inspiration was a fantastic pie I had recently at a restaurant), but let's face it peanut butter is pretty calorie dense.  Also banana cream pudding is pretty great on it's own.  I added whey protein to this recipe to add milkiness without adding to many calories and for extra protein, since protein helps curb hunger.  I reduced the amount of chia seeds used in most recipes.  While chia seeds are far from empty calories, they are calorie dense at 70 calories for 1 Tablespoon.  I first tried this recipe with 3 tbsp of chia seeds, but found it actually to thick for my liking.  2 tbsp seemed to do the trick nicely and with less calories!

This recipe makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert.  It's also a great way to get your kids to eat healthier!




Banana Chia Seed Pudding
Ingredients
  • 1 cup  coconut milk (can sub almond milk, or pasture raised cow milk)
  • 2 T Chia seeds 
  • 2 medium to large ripe banana (one sliced and frozen the other for garnish)
  • 2 tsp of pasture raised whey protein powder (I use Defense Nutrition's plain, I have no affiliation with this company or Amazon)
  • 1 tsp stevia (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
Directions
  1. If you haven't sliced a banana and frozen it do so now.
  2. Place milk and chia seeds into a container in the fridge 1 hours or more (if blending with an immersion blender or a blender) 4 hours or more (overnight for best results) if just stirring. 
  3. When you are ready to serve, put the chia seed mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a blender on highest speed until smooth, or place in a bowl and use an immersion blender, or mash the banana by hand and blend or stir until mixed well and smooth.
  4. Slice remaining banana for garnish, other optional toppings, whipped organic cream, whipped coconut cream, shredded coconut, vanilla wafers, and graham crackers.
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