My name is Shannon Peter, and I'm addicted to chia pudding. Yep, that weird frogspawn-textured stuff you'll have spotted on the shelves of Pret but have probably been too afraid to try. But you should, and I'm going to explain why. If you don't know, chia seeds are the tiny, almost flavourless black seeds (quite like poppy seeds) of the Salvia hispanica plant, which hails from Mexico and Guatemala and is a member of the mint family.
As for health benefits, they have plenty: They're full of fibre, which is good news for the digestive system, and they're high in protein, making them a great alternative source of this food group for vegans and vegetarians. They also have a ridiculously high calcium content: There are 157 milligrammes of calcium in 25 grams of chia. (That's more than you'll find in 100 millilitres of milk.)
You can eat them raw, sprinkled in smoothies or on the top of a salad. But where chia seeds really come into their own is when you turn them into a "pudding." That involves soaking them in milk, yoghurt or water, which makes them inflate to create the aforementioned frogspawn texture, although it's a whole lot more delicious than you'd imagine. Then you can top them with whatever ingredients you prefer. Don't be fooled by the name: Yes, you'll find them on the dessert menus of lots of new fancy restaurants, but due to its nutritional value, chia pudding is just as viable as a breakfast option. In fact, it's a great vehicle for getting in many of your food groups first thing in the morning. (Well, that's why I eat it every single day, anyway.)
Having spent hours scrolling through Pinterest to find new chia pudding recipes to try, I thought it would only be right to share them with you too, so keep scrolling to find the best versions it has to offer.
The classic way to make chia pudding is to soak it in coconut milk and top with mango. Simple yet delicious.
Like a bakewell tart in chia pudding form, this one is divine.
Where your morning flat white and breakfast yogurt collide, this recipe comes infused with energising coffee.
Or for a caffeine-free yet equally uplifting alternative, try using matcha instead.
There's a theme here: Coconut goes so well with chia pudding. This one comes topped with banana and sprinkled with cinnamon, which has brilliant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
This one is maybe best saved for dessert but it's completely gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
Like a breakfast cocktail, at the base of this pudding lies plenty of pineapple, which is rich in vitamin C.
Up next, try these healthy lunch ideas when you can't face another Pret sandwich.