One of the biggest adjustments to being a working mom has been that I’ve had to get my swims in before work a few times a week or they don’t get done. I used to swim on my lunch hour, but the pool near my office is closed for renovations, and pool renovations take a really long time. Several years usually, if things go on schedule. But other than having to lug a bag of soggy swim gear with me to the office, I’ve really enjoyed morning swimming. The pool is calm, and the people swimming at that time tend to have a better sense of pool etiquette than the Lord-of-the-Flies type situation that happens during the busy evening swims.
I’m not really a morning person (but I get up at 5:30am so I can get a little me time before my kid wakes up) and I’m definitely not a morning exerciser (but do so out of necessity) so I’ve found fuelling a morning workout a bit of a challenge. I don’t feel well exercising on an empty stomach, but don’t want anything too heavy in my system. What to make?
I hadn’t made chia pudding in ages, but I seemed like it might be a simple, light, and easy breakfast to eat on the mornings I go swimming. Since it’s (ideally) made the night before, it’s ready to go when I wake up. The soaked chia seeds are easy to digest and don’t feel heavy in my stomach when I’m swimming. It is not a substantial breakfast, so I’m ready for something else by the time I get to the office (usually rye bread with cheese and pickles; a very Swedish breakfast) but it’s just the right amount to get me to that point.
But the most surprising thing about putting chia pudding into my breakfast routine is the discovery that my boy looooooves chia pudding. He’s frantic for it! I can’t even take it out of the fridge in front of him unless I’m prepared to spoon some directly into his mouth. I’ve started making bigger portions so we can share it for breakfast a couple of times a week, and it’s also made a great morning snack for him on other days.
There isn’t anything terribly revolutionary about this chia pudding. It isn’t sprinkled with sparkles and pixie dust to make it into unicorn pudding (and I just googled unicorn chia pudding to see if that’s actually a thing and OF COURSE IT IS. UGH). There are no hard to find ingredients or unpronounceable superfoods, just regular ingredients you can find at your local supermarket, I promise you.
On that note, I’ve tried a bunch of different formulas to find out the chia pudding taste and texture I like best, and what I’ve settled on is one part chia seeds to six parts liquid, with the liquid divided into one part plain yoghurt and two parts plant-based milk. I’ve tried using only plant-based milk (previously almond milk, but these days oat milk is more my jam) and I find that the pudding doesn’t quite get creamy enough for my tastes. If you’re vegan or avoiding dairy you could certainly leave out the yoghurt, but you might need to play around the the portions a bit to get the texture you’re after. I like to add a splash of vanilla extract and a bit of maple syrup for sweetness, but that’s as fancy as it gets.
Play around with the toppings as well. My favourite is frozen berries, which I gently put on top of the pudding the night before, so when I pull it out in the morning the berries are thawed and their syrupy juices have melted into the pudding. Otherwise a diced banana, a dusting of cinnamon, or a sprinkle of toasted almonds are all very fine options.
Ch-ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds are a concentrated source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are rich in dietary fiber. They are an excellent source of essential minerals such as phosphorous, manganese, calcium, sodium and potassium. Due to the exceptional water-absorption properties of chia, it can help prolong hydration and help the body retain electrolytes at times such as during exertion. Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested, and their nutrients can be quickly absorbed by the body. Once soaked, chia seeds bulk up, then work like a cleaning crew in our digestive systems. As they move through the intestinal tract, they help to dislodge and eliminate accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia.
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp plain yoghurt
- ⅓ cup milk of your choice (oat, almond, cow)
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- a tiny splash of vanilla extract
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 2 cups milk of your choice (oat, almond, cow)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place the chia seeds, yoghurt, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla into a jar (for the large batch I find a one-liter wide-mouth mason jar works perfectly) and stir well.
- Let the mixture stand on the counter top for about 10 minutes, then stir again to break up any clumps.
- Screw a lid onto the jar, and place into the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
- When you're ready to serve, stir the chia pudding, spoon into bowls, and add any desired toppings.