Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

While I love throwing together a simple chia seed pudding for a snack (perfect to grab-and-go!), sometimes that basic staple needs to be elevated – especially if you’re making it a meal instead of a snack.

If you haven’t tried out chia seeds yet, you definitely should! They have a host of health benefits including aiding proper digestion, helping decrease inflammation, and supporting our bodies’ natural detox processes.

The reason they are able to do all this is because of their high soluble fiber content. (Check out this post for more on fiber.) These little seeds love to soak up liquid, and their volume greatly increases when mixed with any sort of liquid creating a gel-like structure – this is how we get the pudding texture from chia seeds!

In addition to fiber, chia seeds are a plant-based source of complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids). You’ll get around 4 grams of protein in 2 tbsp (30mL) of chia seeds.

They are also a good source of Omega-3 fats, (in the form of ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), which still needs to be converted by our body into the usable forms).

And finally they are also a good source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and manganese!

So much from such a tiny seed!

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup (310mL) coconut, almond, or other non-dairy milk

  • 1 banana

  • 1 scoop (around 60mL) protein powder

  • 2 tbsp (30mL) cacao powder

  • ½ cup (125mL) chia seeds

For layering / topping:

  • ⅔ cup (160mL) Coconut yogurt (or other full-fat yogurt)

  • 2 tbsp (30mL) Nut butter

  • Cacao nibs

In a blender, combine until smooth the milk, banana, protein powder, and cacao powder.

Pour the mixture into an airtight container (like a mason jar) and add in the chia seeds. Shake or mix well to fully combine. Let sit for 2 minutes and mix again. Let sit for another 2 minutes and mix again.

Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or even overnight (up to 2-3 days).

When ready to eat, layer with coconut yogurt, nut butter, and top with some cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Matcha Bliss Balls

I’m still loving on bliss balls as a healthy, nutrient dense snack. Packed with healthy fats from nuts and seeds as well as some extra protein, they give you plenty of nutrition with just a touch of natural sweetness!

This matcha recipe is a spin-off of my Lemon Coconut Bliss Balls.

Why I love matcha:

  • full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties

  • may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol

  • may help prevent cancer and protect against heart disease

  • helps support the liver and its detoxification processes

  • boosts brain function

  • gentler hit of caffeine than coffee without the energy crash afterwards

If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, just be aware that the matcha in these bliss balls is a source of caffeine, even though the amount is relatively small considering the serving size. However, if this is you, then think about only consuming these as a morning snack, and/or being sure to decrease your consumption of other sources of caffeine accordingly.


Matcha Bliss Balls

Ingredients:

  • 80g (2.8oz) cashews

  • 60g (2oz) almonds

  • 50g (1.8pz) pitted medjool dates (around 3 dates)

  • 50g (1.8oz) shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)

  • 20g (0.8oz) pumpkin seeds

  • 1 scoop (roughly ¼ cup / 60mL) protein powder

  • 2 tbsp (30mL) coconut oil, melted

  • 2 tsp (10mL) matcha powder

  • 1 tsp (5mL) vanilla extract

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients until a well blended and smooth dough is formed.

Pour extra shredded coconut into a shallow bowl or plate. Roll dough into balls, roughly golf ball size (or to your preference). Roll the balls in the shredded coconut to coat.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Makes 8-12 balls, depending on size

Healthy Snacking

  Photo by    rawpixel    on    Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Have you ever grabbed an apple mid-afternoon for a small pick-me-up only to feel hungry again a short while later? You think you’re making a healthy choice, but with your snack gone you’re maybe then pulled in the direction of not-so-healthy options to curb your hunger and energy needs?

I’ve definitely been there! A few years ago a piece of fruit was my go to snack at the office… although for some reason I couldn’t seem to kick my late afternoon chocolate bar and diet Coke habit!

Don’t worry, I’m not saying that fruit is unhealthy or even that it shouldn’t be a snack!

It’s totally the opposite! But there is a missing piece – balance.

Fruit is the easiest example, but really this is generally about carbohydrate dominant snacks. And when you’re trying your best to eat healthfully, the majority of people reach for fruit as that snack. But you could apply the same idea to any other carb-based snacks (I also use to be a huge eater of rice cakes!).

In general, carbohydrates are going to have a larger impact on your blood sugar levels. If your snack is predominantly carb-based, you’ll likely see a spike in your blood sugar soon after consumption followed soon after by a crash. The snack just doesn’t keep you satiated very long and there is a good chance you’ll end up with less energy and more hunger just a little while later.

The missing link is fat! Healthy fats help slow down our absorption of food and therefore energy. By ensuring you always have a source of fat along with the carbs in your snack, you’ll likely feel more satiated and have have more level, consistent energy!

Of course, depending on your preference, you could just skip the carbs and focus on a protein and fat based snack, but one is not necessarily better than the other – our needs are all different!

  Photo by    Toa Heftiba    on    Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

So what might be some healthful snack combinations to try out?

You could pair your carb-based snack with:

  • Nuts or nut butter

  • Full-fat yogurt (dairy or dairy-free)

  • Cheese

  • Hardboiled egg

  • Avocado

  • Oily fish (like salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.)

Oily fish might strike you as a bit strange for a snack, but they are one of the best sources of healthy, omega-3 fats and are incredibly nutrient dense! Although your co-workers at the office might not love this one 😉

And don’t forget, as much as I’m talking about fruit here, raw veggies are also a great snacking tool and can also pair with all of the above!

Some other snack ideas:

  • Small portion of leftovers

  • Egg muffins (like mini-frittatas)

  • Roasted veggies with an added drizzle of olive oil or tahini

  • Bliss balls (also called fat balls) or other nut-based bars

  • Trail mix (nuts & seeds base with optionally a small amount of dried fruit or dark chocolate)

  • Frozen yogurt & fruit popsicle

  • Chia seed pudding

  • Smoothie

Do you have any favourite go-to snacks that I haven’t mentioned? – Let me know in the comments below!

Happy snacking!

Apple Oatmeal Squares

I am so proud of these apple oatmeal squares! I don’t really bake for the blog; as baking often needs to be so much more precise than other recipes I find the idea of developing recipes a bit too daunting. But I went out on a limb and tried putting some ingredients together and these squares turned out so good!

I would categorize these as a not-sweet treat, although I’ve actually been enjoying two of them for breakfast the past couple mornings with a dollop of full-fat greek yogurt and a drizzle of almond butter! Whether as a snack or as breakfast, these bars are pretty filling and are a great addition to your meal prep routine!

Apple Oatmeal Bars

  • 2 cups (500mL) oats

  • 3 tsp (45mL) cinnamon

  • 1 tsp (5mL) baking soda

  • ½ tsp (2mL) nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp (1mL) sea salt

  • 2/3 cup (160mL) apple sauce, unsweetened*

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tsp (10mL) vanilla

  • 2/3 cup (160mL) diced apple

Preheat oven to 360F/180C. Line a 9” (23cm) square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the ends to hang over the edge of the pan slightly.

In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients until well combined.

Add the apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla, and continue mixing until fully combined and a dough has formed. Fold in the diced apple.

Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the baking pan.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. The cake should be slightly browned, firm and spring back in the centre when pressed. Using the ends of the parchment paper, remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool.

Cut into 9 squares (3×3) and enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Makes 9 squares

* As said, this is a not-sweet treat with no added sugar. If you prefer something sweeter, add up to ¼ cup (60mL) of honey or maple syrup

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