Smart Swaps: The Chia Pod

This week I’m sharing with you one of my favorite dessert swaps (snack queen has a sweet tooth sometimes….).

You may have heard of chia seeds, which are making a huge comeback! And if you’re there singing “ch-ch-ch-chia,” yes they are the same ones you saw on TV back in the day for Chia Pets (gross? cool?).

Chia seeds are a plant source of omega-3’s (flaxseed too), which I have mentioned are good for the heart and decreases inflammation in the body. Another plus is that they also contains fiber. I sprinkle 1 tablespoon onto my yogurt every morning and they provide a slight crunch but when chia seeds are submerged into water, they gel up and become the consistency of tapioca. And ta-da, you now have chia pudding!

This week, I’m swapping rice pudding for chia pudding. They have similar textures (rice is starchy, thicker) and taste but the chia pudding comes with added health benefits (fiber and omega 3s).

For this snack swap, I’m replacing Jello Vanilla Rice Pudding  with Vanilla Bean Chia Pod

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 10.34.35 PM

Looking at the ingredients first, we do see a long list and sodium stearoyl lactyate (additive that acts as an emulsifier, not proven to be harmful though) and carrageenan might have caught your eye. Studies have shown that carrageenan causes inflammation in the body and is often found in boxed almond milks (Lauren blogged about this before). Also “Artificial flavor” just seems shady to me.

Nutrition wise, the Jello rice pudding has more than double the amount of sugar as the Chia Pod and you can clearly see who is winning in the fiber department (this will keep you satiated).

In addition to chia seeds, it also contains coconut milk, which I’ve written about before (here’s how to make your own!). It contains lauric acid, a type of fat that makes its way to the liver to be used for energy instead of being stored in adipose tissues (translation: easy to burn, hard to store). Another thing I like a lot about the Chia Pod is that is has just 4 simple ingredients- chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon (clean) and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Chia Pods come in 4 flavors- blueberry, mango, vanilla bean, and banana (my favorites are vanilla and banana).

Looking to make your own chia pudding? Here is an easy recipe from Whole Foods.

Have you tried Chia Pod? Do you make your own chia pudding? What do you put in yours?

Happy Snacking,



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