Sugar-Free Orange Cream Chia Pudding
Summertime, and the living's easy... I don't know about you, but for me this is not an easy time to keep eating healthy. The number of tempting but unhealthy items around seems to have tripled: ice cream, carnival candy, mystery barbecue food slathered in empty calories or full of sugar. The hot weather makes me extra lazy and I've been cooking less and eating out more, which is another landmine of nutritional compromises. All I seem to want to do is lay around and eat peppermint patties and sorbet, which is so not good for my mental or physical health!
One of my favorite sugar-free creations that still satisfies my sweet tooth is orange-vanilla chia pudding, which I make at least once a week for breakfast or dessert. It tastes like an orange cream and is super easy to make ahead of time. Best of all, it can be made completely sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. Different toppings like granola, fruit, and yogurt can be stirred in to add crunch and interest, or it can be eaten plain for a quick snack. Often I make an extra one and add it later to a green power smoothie or to thicken up a juice-based drink.
I usually buy almond or cashew milk for smoothies and chia pudding. But this step can be customized to your diet. You really just need liquid, whether that's soy milk, nut milk, coconut milk, coconut water, or plain water!
Vanilla extract is a great way to add sweetness and flavor without adding sugar! And the same goes for Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. One tiny drop of Doterra Wild Orange is all I use to add a bright, sweet orange flavor, without sugar, calories, artificial colors or synthetic flavor.
Mixing several times is the secret to getting a nice pudding. Mixing once and then leaving it in the fridge for hours might leave you with some chunks and a less-than-picturesque "pudding." Give it a good stir or whisk a few times.
I like to leave my chai puddings to set overnight, or at least 3 hours. It's your choice.
Eat it plain or top with your favorite healthy edible accents! I left one alone and added bananas, fresh homemade raspberry jam, frozen berries and coconut to another for a fruitier, crunchy twist. You do you!