Friday, April 29, 2016

Chia Seed Pudding


This recipe has been inspired by nuts.com, wherein I came across a variety of post-workout snacks.Being a physical therapist, I understand the importance of working out and eating healthy . A healthy balanced diet goes hand in hand with a regular exercise regime to give one a healthy body. You can read more about the exercise portion below under " tip for healthy living". Coming back to diet, it is important to eat the right kind of food at the right time.  Frequent small meals are recommended to maintain a steady blood sugar level and to prevent binge eating. It is important to make sure that every meal has some protein in it. Proteins keep us from getting hungry as it takes longer to digest. Protein is needed for growth and regeneration of the body tissues. It is also needed to build muscles. Today, I am sharing with you a recipe that would make for a great way to start the day, or used as a mid-day or a post-workout snack to refuel your day. It could also make for a healthy guilt-free dessert. This is perfect for those who want to lose weight and even diabetics( as long as they don't add any additional sugar/sweetener into it). 


Dietary protein comes mainly from non-vegetarian sources. There are fewer vegetarian sources of protein and only  a handful of them are complete proteins. Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids, 9 of which our body cannot produce and therefore need to be sourced from our diet. Although lentils and nuts are great sources of protein, they are not complete proteins, that is why they are usually paired with grains ( eg: idli-sambar, rice & beans, Hummus& pita). The handful of vegetarian sources of complete protein are soy, quinoa, buckwheet, hempseed and chia seeds. 




Chia seeds are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatamala. It is used in south American countries as part of their regular diet, due to it's nutritional value which provides them energy for their hard work in the fields. Chia seeds are not only a great source of protein and vitamins, they are the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can find more information about chia seeds here.




Being predominantly vegetarian, I am constantly striving to include protein in my diet. Chia seeds are a great source of protein for vegetarians, providing 4 grams of protein for 2 tablespoons serving ( recommended). I have always added Chia seeds into my daily oatmeal,  into my smoothies and salad dressings, but had never made a pudding out of it until my co-worker introduced me to it. She is a health-conscious person who works out regularly and eats healthy. She has been making this pudding for a while now and uses it as a mid-day or post-workout snack.  When I tried it, I fell in love with it! It was light, yet filling, making it a perfect snack! I then had to make it for myself. My co-worker had also shared the original source of the recipe with me, which you can find here.The original recipe calls for plain unsweetened almond milk, plain Greek yogurt. I had some flavored coconut yogurt  and  some plain Greek yogurt that I wanted to finish.


I decided to make the pudding using it. I mixed 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of coconut yogurt and 1/4 th cup and 2 tbsp chia seeds.



I decided to bring it to my friends at a gathering that we were having. When I took it out of the fridge to bring it with me, I felt that the pudding was too thick. I then decided to add another cup of plain coconut yogurt to make it a little thinner and it worked. The best part, my not-so-healthy eating friends also enjoyed it. The only fruit I had on hand were strawberries and therefore that's all I used. You could top this pudding before serving with any topping of your choice: fruits of your choice & nuts of your choice if you wish!



The making of this pudding is also very versatile. You could make it vegan if you wish by using almond milk/ soy milk/coconut milk/ soy yogurt/coconut yogurt if you wish. Or you could just make it with regular milk and yogurt. I used Greek yogurt to increase the protein content of my snack. You could make it sweetened or unsweetened. When made unsweetened, it makes for a great snack for diabetics as well. If you wish to sweeten it, you can sweeten it with healthy sweeteners like maple syrup/honey/agave or with regular brown sugar/sugar.I chose to make it healthy and used honey. You could even drizzle honey on top before serving  instead of mixing it in.





The beauty of this recipe is that it is just mixing of a few ingredients together and putting it in the refrigerator. You could make a batch on Sunday night and take them a little everyday , topped with freshly cut fruits to eat at work or after your work-out. Do try this, you might like it, just the way I do! Yes, the texture does take a little getting used to! Then again, I love textures in my food.



Servings: 4-6 ( one cup each)


Ingredients :


Plain/ flavored Greek yogurt: 1 six-oz cup
Plain/ flavored Coconut yogurt: 2 cups ( any yogurt can be used)
Chia seeds: 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp
Salt: a pinch
Honey/maple syrup: 1 tsp ( optional)
Strawberries: 4-6 , one sliced strawberry per cup.
Nuts of your choice: 1 tbsp, chopped ( optional)

Method:


Add the chia seeds, yogurt, salt, vanilla essence to a bowl. Use a whisk/ big spoon and mix thoroughly.



Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours minimum.

When ready to serve, using a whisk, mix it once thoroughly to make sure there are no lumps.

Serve in bowls the desired amount ( around 3/4 cup per person).
Top it with sliced fruits of your choice. In my case, strawberries.



Garnish with chopped nuts if you wish.

Enjoy! 

You can find more post-workout  healthy snacks and high protein snacks  by clicking on them.

I am bringing this healthy snack for all my friends to try at Throwback Thursday#36, Fiesta Friday#117 and Saucy Saturdays#42! The co-hosts this week are two excellent bloggers, Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Scarlett @ Unwed Housewife


Cooking made easy:


This pudding can be adjusted to your desired consistency by adding some kind of milk to the mixture.

 If you are wary of the chia seeds, a good place to start would be with a little bit of chia seeds and use Greek yogurt so that you still have a protein-rich snack. As you get used to the texture, you can increase the amount of chia seeds used.

It is a good idea to serve this pudding with fruits that are sweet and not use much of the sweeteners to sweeten it.


Tip for healthy living:


When one decides to exercise, choosing the right kind of exercise is just as important. There are 2 types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic  exercise is low-impact activity that you can do for a long period of time. Some examples are walking, jogging, cycling and swimming. Anaerobic exercises are those that are high-impact or strenuous and  can be done for only short duration. These  include sprinting and lifting weights.  If your intent is to loose weight, you need to do aerobic exercises. If your goal is to build muscle, you need to focus on anaerobic exercise such as lifting weights. Regardless of your intent, the best exercise regimen is one that makes you do a combination  of aerobic exercises and lifting weights. When you build muscles, they burn energy even when you are not exercising and this helps accelerate loss of weight. 

References:
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2011/05/13/getting-fit-doesnt-mean-killing-yourself.aspx
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-sarokin/best-exercise-programs_b_4158115.html
http://www.webmd.com/diet/truth-about-chia
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/12-complete-vegetarian-proteins.html

Food for thought:


The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. Leonardo da Vinci



Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!