Here’s Why Chia Seed Pudding is an Ideal Breakfast for the non-Breakfast Eater

When I discovered chia seed pudding, I think my life changed. Okay maybe I’m being a little dramatic. The fact that I can easily prep something at night and enjoy it in the morning with the only effort being unscrewing the lid to a mason jar makes me giddy. I’m also a huge “texture person” (is that a thing?) so I drool over its creamy texture. I love adding crunchy toppings to play off the creaminess of the pudding. By now, I’ve probably made chia seed pudding 50 different ways, all of which were delicious and kid friendly!

I’ve counseled numerous people that tell me they skip breakfast for various reasons. The most common reason I hear is that they are often rushed in the morning, trying to get to work on time. Also very common is that many people don’t feel hungry in the morning – sometimes even the thought of food makes them nauseous. I’m here to tell you that if you’re one of these people, I would encourage you to start eating breakfast. You might have to force it at first, but eventually you will start to wake up hungry. Also consider eating dinner earlier in the evening. Eating late at night or right before bed could impede your morning hunger.

Eating breakfast is beneficial in so many ways, both physically and mentally. While you’re sleeping and not eating, your body has systems in place to keep your blood sugar stable, thank you liver. When you wake up, you want to tell your body that you can control your blood sugar now, instead of keeping yourself on autopilot. You do this by eating, preferably within an hour of waking up. Your blood sugar affects everything, including your mood, energy, alertness, and appetite. You’ve probably heard the term “hangry” (hungry+angry), right? If you’re someone who typically gets hangry before meals, it’s likely your blood sugar speaking to you. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can make it hard for some people to lose weight, especially those with insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or diabetes.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be an elaborate meal, hence this recipe. The important thing is that your breakfast includes both carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates are what stabilize your blood sugar, while the protein helps keep it stable for longer. The reason chia seeds fit the bill for a well-rounded breakfast is because they contain both carbohydrates and protein, with 11 grams of fiber per serving to boot!

Chia seeds also contain calcium, iron, and essential fatty acids. Due to their fat content, its best to store them in the refrigerator or freezer so they don’t turn rancid. You’ll know your seeds are rancid if they smell “off” or slightly fishy. The soluble fiber in chia seeds give them the unique ability to “gel” when added to liquid. This type of fiber also helps to lower cholesterol and, wouldn’t you know it, stabilize blood sugar.

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The chia seed is a nutritional powerhouse!

The reason I use cow’s milk in this recipe is to bump up the protein a bit. Keep in mind if you use a milk like almond milk with little protein, you could pair your pudding with some eggs, or perhaps a scoop of peanut butter, or even nuts to help keep you satiated longer. You can easily make this recipe vegan by using any plant-based milk you like.

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4 ingredients for chia seed pudding

Making this recipe in a jar with a lid makes prep a breeze. You literally just add your ingredients, screw on the lid, and shake. A jar is also portable, which means you can take this with you to work or school without worrying about spilling. I usually just eat the pudding straight out of the jar so I don’t have a separate bowl to wash. High five!

I think the pure maple syrup is crucial for taste in this recipe. I’ve tried it with “pancake syrup” and it wasn’t the same. Vanilla is added for obvious reasons, but optional if you don’t like it. If you’re interested in making a chocolate version, add 1-2 tsp cacao powder before you shake your jar. I use Navita cacao powder. I prefer cacao powder to traditional cocoa powder due to its naturally high magnesium and potassium content. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll appreciate cacao’s chocolate flavor without the added sugar.

A jar of chia seed pudding. A jar with a lid is essential for shaking your ingredients and storing overnight.
A jar with a lid is essential for shaking your ingredients and storing overnight.

The topping options are endless with chia seed pudding. I’ve topped mine with mango, strawberries, coconut flakes, banana, and cinnamon, but not all at the same time. Come to think of it, that might actually be delicious. What toppings will you try?! Let me know in the comments section if you’ve found a delicious new combination!

Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk (I use whole cow’s milk)
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Tip: for a chocolate version, add 1-2 tsp cacao powder

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a large jar with a lid. Shake jar and hips vigorously for 5-10 seconds.
  2. If possible, in about 30 minutes, shake jar vigorously again for 5-10 seconds. This step is not critical, but it helps prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Let sit in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning with your favorite toppings!

My favorite toppings include: coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips, cinnamon, and/or berries.

Adapted from: Oh She Glows

Cloth Diapering 101: Why

Cloth diapering is one of those awkward topics that people are either really interested in or have no desire to even hear about. If you’re curious as to why you should cloth diaper or how to start, I’m glad you stopped by! Cloth diapering has come a long way since our grandparents’ time. Safety pins and buckets of bleach have been replaced by velcro or snaps and a toilet sprayer and wet bag, respectively. If “wet bag” and “toilet sprayer” are foreign words to you, that’s okay. By the time you finish reading this, my hope is that you understand the many reasons to cloth diaper, feel comfortable with the idea of cloth diapering, and know where to start if you decide to do it.

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Cloth diapers come in a variety of cute colors and patterns!

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper before I even got pregnant. I started researching cloth diaper brands and reviews, reading blogs just like this one with how-to information, and watching YouTube videos on cloth diapering. When I officially became pregnant, that was the time I started accumulating diapers and related items, as I knew I had time to wait for sales and deals.

Ryan and I have been cloth diapering Laurel since she was about a week old and have loved every minute of it. I have never once regretted our decision to cloth diaper. Before we pulled the trigger and started investing in materials, I was a bit nervous that it might be more difficult than I thought. For all of the reasons listed below, cloth diapering is truly a gift that keeps giving. Whether you’re 9 weeks pregnant, 39 weeks pregnant, or you have a 9 month old, it’s never too late to start!

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Laurel at 9 months.

Reasons to Cloth Diaper:

  1. Cloth diapering saves money. Although this wasn’t the main reason Ryan and I decided to cloth diaper, it was definitely a cherry on top of our decision. While buying the cloth diapers and accessories can be a bigger upfront cost, in the long run you save a lot of money. The fact that you can use the same cloth diapers if you have more than one child compounds your savings. The fact that you can also usually sell your used diapers when you’re done with them saves you even more. On average, a baby uses 2700 diapers in the first year alone, and at 0.15-0.39 cents per diaper, well that could be anywhere from $400-1000+ (depending on the brand). That doesn’t even include wipes! Some might argue that the laundry for the cloth diapers causes your water bill to increase, which could negate the cost benefits of cloth diapering altogether. We haven’t found this to be the case, as the increase in our water bill has been negligible. There’s no question that cost savings is a huge benefit of cloth diapering.
  2. Cloth diapering is better for the environment. This was one if the main driving forces behind our decision to cloth diaper. Cloth diapers = zero trash. General consensus says that a diaper takes about 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Yikes. Remember how I mentioned that a baby uses about 2700 diapers in the first year alone? That’s a lot of diapers in the landfill. Need I say more?
  3. Less blowouts. Notice in the picture below that there is elastic at the top of the cloth diaper in the back (left). This prevents poop from flowing out of the diaper up your child’s back (right). A baby’s poop is soft and able to escape out of gaps and holes in diapers for about the first year. Ask any parent about blow outs and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. These rarely happen with cloth diapers. The only times we have had leakage with our cloth diapers have been due to user error, when we were figuring out the proper size setting for her. Leakage often means that the diaper was on a setting that was too loose, an easy fix with a cloth diaper.

 

4. Cloth diapers are better for baby’s delicate skin. Disposable diapers can contain perfumes, dyes, chlorine, along with several other chemicals I can’t even pronounce. This was one of the other main reasons Ryan and I decided to cloth diaper. With the rise of issues potentially stemming from childhood these days, from allergies to infertility, I didn’t want to expose our baby to harmful chemicals that early. A baby’s skin is so absorbent and delicate that they often get diaper rashes when using disposable diapers. Natural fibers and fabrics allow for more “breathability,” (versus plastic-blend disposables) helping regulate scrotal temperature for boys and preventing yeast growth for girls, not to mention increasing overall comfort. Would you rather where a shirt made of organic cotton or “synthetic material?”

5. Is there anything cuter than a baby in a cloth diaper? You tell me..

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Laurel at 9 months.
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Laurel sleeping on the beach at 4 months.
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Laurel at 9 months.

If I have you convinced that there are several good reasons to cloth diaper and you’ve made the decision to do it. Look for my next post – Cloth Diapering 101: How.

Rice Cake Revamped

If I lost you at the title please stay with me. I know rice cakes can seem like a snack your grandmother might have enjoyed back in the day, but they’ve made a comeback. I always have rice cakes in my pantry because they’re a simple and crunchy snack for when I’m feeling hungry and lazy. Rice cakes themselves are incredibly crunchy, which hits the spot when you’re craving something you really just want to chew with your mouth open. It’s a nice change from carrots and hummus, believe me.

I personally prefer unsalted rice cakes so I can add some peanut butter and get a little creamy, salty combo that way. I never eat a rice cake without cinnamon either. My classic recipe is below, but feel free to experiment with whatever toppings or flavors you like best.

Rice Cake Revamped

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 rice cakes, I like these
  • 1-2 T peanut butter or almond butter
  • Dash of cinnamon

Optional topping include: raisins, dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes, chia seeds, cacao powder

Directions:

  1. Spread peanut butter or almond butter evenly on rice cake(s). Sprinkle with cinnamon and add desired toppings. Enjoy!