It’s far too late for me to have any business typing and publishing a recipe; I have another 4am wake up call tomorrow morning to turn on the rice cooker so we can make up rice cakes, and breakfast, for riders here at the Ride on Chicago. The drill will be the same or similar to what it was these past weeks, as we – the Skratch Labs team – supported the Tour of California; we’ll cook, then clean, pack up and transfer to the next place, shop for groceries, cook again, serve up something delicious, then close up shop, prepare for the next day, try to get some good food and sleep for ourselves and wake up to do it again. It’s as crazy a schedule as I’ve had in a long time. Friends who aren’t familiar with this kind of good, hard work ask how I’ve made it through. My answer varies depending on whose asking, how much coffee I’ve had. Sometimes I answer with “the athletes” sometimes I answer, “the food.” My favorite answer is “watching something delicious turn into raw power when athletes use it for fuel.” But yesterday, without thinking much, the first thing that’s popped to mind is “chia pudding.” I laughed at that answer, of course but some days it’s been true. Being as OCD as I am, I’m completely comforted by routine and seek out all sorts if little rituals while on the road that help me to keep my cool, stay balanced, and moving forward. I always carry running shoes and squish in sweat sessions when I can, I pack an acupressure pad and massage balls to keep my bod feeling ok. Sometimes I even pack my own little coffee press and fresh roasted beans but I always carry favorite snacks and, most recently a little jar and some chia so I can mix up this quick and nutritious snack. The first time I encountered chia pudding was in the form of this little refrigerator snack. I was skeptical of course; the chia looked like a million little eyes inspecting me as I ate them. Then, I got over it and started to notice just how energized I felt when I reached for them instead of something else sugary or over processed. Chia is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, helps to hydrate your body, and is a natural source of fiber. Chia pudding is about as easy as it gets. It’s almost embarrassing to share this as a recipe with you, it’s so simple. But, I hope it inspires you by just how simply you can create something so good for you. I carry my little bag of chia and a glass jar so I can mix up whatever I come across, and typically try to keep the pudding in the hotel fridge overnight wherever we’re staying. So far, it’s worked well. As for the recipe itself, just add the chia to the liquid, shake it up, let it settle a few minutes, shake again and refrigerate. And, you can make the pudding up however you like. Coconut milk and berries have been on hand a great deal for us lately, but I’ve also used almond milk and bananas, chocolate milk and toasted pecans, and fresh juice. I’ve seen a few recipes around that I bet are worth trying when I get back home and have access to more ingredients (this and this, for example.) But the recipe you’ll find below is much more simple than that, and hopefully you’ll find that it addicts you to this healthy treat just as it has me!
- 1 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
- 3/4 cup berries - a mix of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
- 2 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
- a smidge of honey to taste
- *Chia seed is available in most natural foods stores. You needn't refrigerate the seeds, but if you can, this is recommended.**
- Combine the milk with the chia in a glass jar with a lid. Shake vigorously, then set aside for 15 minutes to allow some of the seeds to hydrate. When the 15 minutes has passed, add the berries and shake vigorously again. You'll see the texture thickening up a bit.
- Refrigerate the chia pudding for 5-6 hours or overnight. If you like, you can sprinkle cacao nibs or toasted nuts over, then EAT!