Chocolate Chia Avocado Pudding
I cringe when I think about the amount of Jello Chocolate Pudding that I used to eat on a regular basis. It was a staple in my lunchbox growing up, and I ate it long into my 20’s. I would eat the fat-free version, confident that this was the healthiest way to be getting my chocolate fix. Fat-free meant guilt-free, right?!
Yeah, not so much. But honestly, I really did think that I was making the best choice. And I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.
It was really hard for me to welcome fat back in to my life. But the more I learned about the benefits of healthy fat, the more I was able to embrace it. Fat is necessary to signal to our brains that we’re full. So when you’re always reaching for the fat-free variety, you’re never satiated. You end up eating MORE of something with much LESS flavor. Add to that the fact that to balance the taste of the lost fat, they load up on salt….bring on the bloat! No fun.
Of course I’m not talking about downing a double bacon cheeseburger every day, but about regularly incorporating foods like fish, avocados, seeds, nuts, olive and coconut oil into your diet. Yes, too much of the bad fats will tax your liver and lead to a host of health problems, but depriving our bodies of good fats is like depriving your car of oil. It just won’t run smoothly, and will eventually be damaged beyond repair.
Why is it that so many people seem to treat their cars better than they treat themselves?!
When we skimp on the fat, we mess with the absorption of the necessary fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which greatly impacts things like cellular growth and repair, immunity and blood clotting. Too little fat in our diets can also lead to depression, achy joints, memory loss, lowering of your HDL (the good cholesterol, which we want to be high to protect us against heart disease), and even several types of cancer.
I think we can all agree that embracing healthy fats is the way to go, so why not turn a dessert I love into something my body will love too?!
Chocolate Chia Avocado Pudding. A dessert worthy of being your main course!
Mmmm, brain food. I think avocados are one of the world’s greatest superfoods. I feed them to my little ones regularly, and am always looking for fun variations so they don’t get sick of them. But really, can one ever get sick of avocados?! 😉
First, the fat in avocados is the healthy kind that I mentioned our bodies need for growth and that well-oiled, smooth functioning. Avocados are the best fruit source of Vitamin E, and are a great source of potassium, folate, iron, and vitamins A, C, K and B6. They also help our bodies absorb nutrients better, and they contain antioxidants to fight free radicals. They are great for eye, heart and cholesterol health, and are a great source of glutiathione, a much desired anti-aging and immune-boosting nutrient.
And then there is Cacao. I use Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder, It’s unprocessed, certified organic, raw, vegan cacao, and contains an incredibly rich supply of magnesium, a mineral that 2/3 of Americans are deficient in. If you are wondering if you have a magnesium deficiency, read this great article, Are You Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency, on a blog I love, Cheeseslave. I had a hunch a while back that I was magnesium deficient, and reading this post confirmed it. I started taking a great magnesium supplement called Natural Vitality Calm, and started sleeping better, feeling less anxious and recovering quicker after workouts. It quickly became one of the 3 supplements I am a HUGE fan of (which is reallly a whole separate post!), but I thought it was worth noting here.
Other essential minerals present in Cacao are calcium, zinc, iron, copper and potassium. Cacao also contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea and blueberries.
So the right chocolate really is health food! Woo Hoo! 🙂
The Chia Seed is popping up everywhere, and food good reason! Chia Seeds are the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and they provide a whopping 20% of high quality protein. That’s 2 times more than of any other seed or grain! They have 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron, a trace mineral that helps transfer the calcium to where it’s needed, in your bones. Chia seeds also have twice the potassium of bananas, 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries and 3 times more iron than spinach.
I think you might see why they are among my faves!
Not only all that, but Chia seeds are hydrophilic, which means they readily absorb water. They can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, which means they are star performers for athletes and anyone looking to stay hydrated (which should be everyone considering most people walk around dehydrated every day). When you mix chia and water, a thick, gel-like substance will form. There are some studies showing that this “gel” will coat the stomach and possibly slow the absorption of carbohydrates. This means you stay full longer, without the blood sugar spikes and crashes. This is why Chia is being looked at as a good addition for those looking to lose weight.
I love adding them to my morning green smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt and baked goods. I also use Navitas Naturals brand for my Chia Seeds.
It is this gel like substance that had me think that chia seeds would be a perfect addition to pudding. And it is. This pudding is so incredibly delicious, nutritious an nourishing.
Of course, because of this hydrophilic effect, you need to add more liquid to the recipe so that it can thicken. I loved the taste and nutritional profile of coconut milk, and it adds a great creaminess to the pudding.
So here’s the recipe for my kid-approved, nutrient-dense, decadent Chocolate Chia Avocado Pudding. No chemicals, preservatives, refined sugars….just pure, raw, real food deliciousness!
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender (I use my Vitamix), and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Enjoy as is, or use it as a dip for berries. Yum!
And there you have it, a pudding nutritious enough to be your whole meal if you’d like!
There are endless variations…sometimes I leave out the coconut milk and chia seeds and throw in 2 T. coconut oil and 1 T. Maca, which is another amazing superfood known to enhance energy, boost stamina and improve fertility. And while I haven’t tried it, I think nut butters or soaked cashews would be a great addition. You could also substitute 2-3 pitted dates for the maple syrup or honey. Some like it sweeter, some less so, so feel free to play around with the sweetness level to suit your taste. Enjoy!
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