Hankering for a little something but don’t want to cave into junk food? This light, protein-rich pudding—sugar-free and made with coconut, almond butter, cacao nibs, and chia seeds—hits the spot
You’ve got a kid who has to be on a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet. He wants dessert. What can you do? I recently confronted this challenge when a child in our family was diagnosed with colitis. I learned pretty quickly how difficult it is to make really good treats that taste amazing using only “real” foods and “real” ingredients—with no sugar or flour. But I soon discovered an array of incredible foods, many of them some of the richest desserts I’ve ever tasted, all made with “superfood” ingredients such as coconut, cacao, nut butters, and seeds. And not one of them has any added sugar.
This creamy treat is sweet and subtly spiced with a soft chocolate overtone. People will be shocked to hear that the only actual sweetener in the whole shebang is a single date. And, even better, the cinnamon helps with any blood sugar response.
Notes from: Chef Jeannette
This recipe contains enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats to work as a quick breakfast. To give it more staying power, make it the night before and stir in ½ cup of whole rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking) when you add the seeds. The oats will swell and soften overnight, creating a flavorful, soaked bowl of muesli that you can enjoy as soon as you roll out of bed. Top the mixture with fresh berries or pitted and chopped spring stone fruits (apricots, for example) to finish.
Cocoa-Nut Chia Pudding
Instead of serving this delicious treat immediately, you can also refrigerate it for a couple days—just be sure to stir it before serving cold, at room temperature, or gently warmed.
1½ cups fresh young coconut water (or unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 scoop organic chocolate whey protein powder
1 Tbs. raw almond butter
1 Medjool date, pitted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 good pinches ground cardamom
1 pinch sea salt
¼ cup chia seeds
1 Tbs. hempseeds
1 Tbs. raw cacao nibs
- Combine coconut water, whey protein powder, almond butter, date, cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom, and sea salt in high-powered blender. Blend until very smooth. Transfer contents to quart-sized jar.
- Add chia seeds, hempseeds, and cacao nibs, and stir well to incorporate. Cover, and set aside at least 20 minutes. Stir again, and enjoy.
per serving: 338 cal; 20g pro; 17g total fat (4g sat fat); 30g carb; 13mg chol; 298mg sod; 13g fiber; 13g sugars
Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC, is a certified holistic health counselor and recipe developer. Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, is a nationally known health, nutrition, and weight-loss expert. Bessinger and Bowden have collaborated on numerous cookbooks, including The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes. Visit them online at thecleanfoodcoach.com and jonnybowden.com.