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Chia Pudding: A 3-Minute Breakfast That Changes Lives?

Updated: 8/14/21 4:00 amPublished: 4/26/17
By Adam Brown

Adam Brown, author of our bestselling book Bright Spots and Landmines, shares one of the 43 bright spots featured in the book: chia seed pudding.

A while back, I shared some of the advantages of chia pudding, and I’ve since been shocked by the positive response. “Adam, thank you so much,” one diaTribe reader wrote me to say. “I’ve been looking for a breakfast like this for 25 years! It has changed my life.” Parents have even emailed me with enthusiasm for this recipe—“My son loves this!”—meaning this isn’t just a weird concoction for health nuts like me.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the kitchen wonder that is chia pudding, it’s truly the simplest breakfast to make, and it offers so many benefits—little impact on blood glucose, three minutes to make without cooking, inexpensive, stocked with fiber and omega-3s, and (of course) filling and tasty—that you might just feel the same way. I’ve walked through how to make it in a video, and for those of you who’d prefer reading the recipe, the written details on how to make chia pudding are also below.

How to Make Chia Seed Pudding

To make chia seed pudding, mix 1/4 cup of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of water. If you’re me, you’ll also add a hearty amount of cinnamon, 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and some combination of toppings such as fruit, seeds, and nuts. (For instance, I like frozen raspberries, shelled sunflower seeds, and almonds.) After about a minute of stirring with a spoon and about a minute sitting, it turns into a pudding-like gel.

Chia pudding can also be made ahead of time, and you can double or quadruple the recipe. The water can be hot or cold, depending on your preferences, and the pudding can be made thicker by using less water. Chocolate or vanilla protein powder or pure vanilla extract can be added for additional flavor.

There is nothing exact about this recipe, so experiment with the components and toppings to fit your tastes. For example, I know someone that makes it with lemon juice, stevia, and almonds. There are many other chia seed pudding recipes on the Internet, though most contain some amount of added sugar, such as honey, maple syrup, date syrup, or coconut sugar.

What On Earth Are Chia Seeds? 

Chia seeds are the edible seeds of a flowering desert plant, Salvia hispanica, a relative of the mint family. They look a lot like poppy seeds and are packed with fiber, protein, and healthy Omega-3 fats. On their own, chia seeds don’t taste like anything, so it’s all about how they are flavored—hence the recipe.

A Note About Chia Pudding for Sensitive Stomachs

If you have any GI discomfort with this recipe, make the chia pudding in a batch and let it sit overnight. Some readers have written in to add that soaking chia seeds in water for a longer period of time has made chia seed pudding easier for them to digest.

Where to Buy Chia Seeds

I buy chia seeds in bulk online; a two-pound bag from Viva Labs on Amazon costs about $10 and covers about 20 breakfasts. They can also be purchased at regular grocery stores, natural foods stores, and even corner stores, usually in one-pound bags.

Bolusing for Insulin When Eating Chia Pudding

I generally take one unit of insulin for chia seed pudding as I start eating, which covers the very slow blood glucose rise from fat, protein, and the small amount of carbs from the toppings. Each 1/4 cup of chia seeds has 20 grams of carbs, though 16 grams are from fiber (80%), translating to little blood sugar impact.

Please share your thoughts on our chia pudding recipe with us, and find more useful tips in our diabetes guide, Bright Spots & Landmines.

Photo Credit: iStock (top); Adam Brown (bottom)

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About the authors

Adam Brown joined diaTribe in 2010 as a Summer Associate, became Managing Editor in 2011, and served as Senior Editor through 2019. Adam brings almost two decades of personal experience... Read the full bio »