What comes to mind when you think of a good snack? Do you envision lots of fruits and veggies, or are you more interested in processed convenience foods? We all know chips, candy, cookies, and ice cream are easier to reach for when hunger strikes, but if you want to be lean and healthy you need to make cleaner food choices. It can be a challenge discovering how to keep hunger at bay while living a fit lifestyle, but if you’re a foodie like me that still wants to succeed, you need to change your mindset towards eating. Even though processed snacks have to go, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer allowed to snack.
To stay fit and healthy while still enjoying food, start by arming yourself with nutritious snacks that can stand in for any sweet, savory, or crunchy craving that may arise. Take, for example, this pumpkin chia pudding. This recipe is super easy to make & will satisfy any sweet tooth without packing on the pounds. Unsweetened almond milk provides the pudding a low-calorie, dairy-free base, chia seeds give a fiber boost, while warm and aromatic pumpkin pie spice provides a nice depth of flavor to complement the pumpkin.
Even though pumpkin is a fall flavor and we are currently entering spring, this recipe is simply too good not to share. I initially developed it back in the fall when pumpkin was still in season, but thanks to canned pumpkin you can enjoy one of fall’s best flavors year round in this gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, healthy snack. If you do opt to buy canned pumpkin over roasting your own fresh pumpkin, just be sure it is organic pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. If you have a sweet tooth and love anything pumpkin, I recommend you give this recipe a try. It’s a sweet treat that won’t hinder your progress to being lean!
Pumpkin Chia Pudding
- 2 cups Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk
- ½ cup Pitted Dates
- 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
- ¾ cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree (fresh or canned)
- ¾ tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- Cinnamon Sugar; for garnish (if desired)
- In a large jar or container with a lid, combine milk, dates, & chia seeds. Cover, shake well, & chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours.
- Remove chilled mixture from the refrigerator & place in a blender. Process mixture on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, & salt. Blend again until thoroughly combined. Divide among 6 (4 oz.) meal prep jars or store in one larger container. Refrigerate at least 1 hour more before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Per Serving (4 oz.): 104 Calories; 3 g Protein; 4 g Total Fat; 0.5 g Sat. Fat; 5 g Fiber; 83 mg Sodium; 9 g Sugars; 16 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: C. LYONS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019
Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.
The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.
Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!
Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding
- 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
- ¼ cup Chia Seeds
- 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
- 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
- Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping
- In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
- When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ERIN MACDONALD & TIFFANI BACHUS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018