This chia seed pudding is fiber rich but low in sugar. Eat it for breakfast to stay full all morning or grab it for an afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner.
While I love desserts (especially dark chocolate and these cookies lately!), I’m actually pretty sensitive to sweet things. I take a bite of something overly sweet and it makes me pucker and gag a little bit. Don’t you even think about asking me to drink soda.
So, I always try to reduce sugar in recipes (like in this zucchini bread) to better control my blood sugar levels. And I particularly try to avoid added sugars in the morning. Typically I make a smoothie (current fave), eggs or a frittata, or oatmeal (or even better, steel-cut oats or baked oatmeal!). But I’ve been on a total chia seed pudding kick lately. I especially lived on this chia seed pudding while pregnant when I had so many food aversions!
How to make NO Sugar Added Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
My previous go-to combination of chia seed pudding involved adding maple syrup (although granted, that’s a pretty clean source of sugar!) and I wanted to see if I could eliminate that and still enjoy it!
Instead of maple syrup, I tried adding fresh fruit to my chia seed pudding. And it kind of worked. It’s not exactly sugar-free since the fruit does give it some sweetness, but only in the bites that actually had the fruit in them. However, I wanted every bite to have the sweet fruit flavor.
So I decided to try frozen fruit. Ding ding ding! When the frozen fruit thawed as the pudding sat overnight, the juices from thawed fruit permeated the mixture and gave the whole pudding a hint of sweetness. Plus, mixed berries add a shot of fiber that you don’t get from maple syrup! Adding cinnamon added an additional warm flavor without additional sweetness.
It’s a simple combination, but oftentimes simple is the best. Plus, it’s super easy to tweak based on whatever you have around the kitchen! And heck, if you want it a little sweeter, feel free to add maple syrup.
So let’s get right into this quick and easy Chia Seed Pudding Recipe!
How to Make No-Sugar-Added Chia Seed Pudding
Unsweetened almond milk (coconut milk also works or any other dairy free milk alternative)
frozen mixed berries
Chia seeds are super nutritious with tons of micronutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. They also contain protein and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Basically, they are powerhouse food to add to your diet!
Unsweetened Almond Milk is a great source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and stress in the body. Make sure to buy unsweetened milk. The sweetened or original versions usually pack in SO much sugar.
Cinnamon is the best for sweet dishes (and some savory!). It’s super flavorful and it’s loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. I try to add this spice to any sweet breakfast recipe I can.
Nutmeg is actually a pretty nutrient-rich little spice. I certainly didn’t realize it in the years I’ve been using it, but nutmeg is rich in antioxidants and plant pigments which help prevent cellular damage. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to have antibacterial effects. Who knew?
Place your tablespoons of chia seeds, almond milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a mason jar or bowl. Stir until well combined.
Stir in the frozen fruit. It may make your mixture seem like there are frozen clumps; it’s okay. Stir as best you can. If you use a mason jar, pop the lid on and shake it to combine well.
Place in the fridge and let the mixture sit for a couple of hours or overnight.
After a couple of hours or when you wake up, stir the pudding again so the fruit juices can spread some more.
Enjoy! Top with extra thawed fruit and some chopped nuts if you desire.
Chopped nuts and seeds are always a favorite go-to topping of mine. I love using walnuts for this recipe, although if you are using almond milk, sliced almonds would obviously go well, too. Ground flaxseeds are another great garnish since they are super fibrous and don’t have a strong flavor to overwhelm the original recipe. And they add a nice texture to the pudding.
If you want to have a creamy pudding texture, try adding some (sugar-free!) peanut butter or almond butter. Actually, any other nut butter would work well on this recipe, too!
If you don’t have fresh or frozen fruit handy, dried fruits like raisins, prunes, or cranberries work well as a little flavor pop. Don’t put too much as dried fruits have higher concentrations of sugars even though they are teeny tiny. They also won’t spread the sweetness throughout it like the frozen fruit does so keep that in mind.
Coconut Milk is a great option to use for this recipe. I really like the coconut flavor with the chia and cinnamon, but some people don’t. Other non-dairy milk like cashew, oat, or hemp all work for this recipe. It just depends on the flavor you prefer. Or, if you do well with cow’s milk, use that!
I prefer adding organic mixed berries into my chia seed pudding. Since they are a more delicate fruit, they break down a little more than other sturdier fruits, which is what I want for the sweetness to spread!
You can use other fruits too, but some fruits like apples won’t spread their juices or flavors throughout the chia pudding as berries do.
If it’s still not sweet enough for you, you can add 1-3 teaspoons of maple syrup. Sometimes adding vanilla extract can give you the flavor kick you need so you can avoid adding sugar.
You can also add a little cocoa or chocolate chips to make a yummy chocolate chia pudding which would be a great dessert, actually. I might have to try this!
Sourcing Your Chia
I’ve found chia seeds for the cheapest price at Trader Joe’s or Costco. This is another brand that I like and is available on Amazon.
If you are new to chia seeds, they expand in liquid so it’s important to let the mixture sit. The texture should be like tapioca pudding and not crunchy!
Be sure to drink lots of water on days when you eat chia seeds. Since they absorb liquid, if you aren’t well-hydrated, they can cause some gut woes. On the other hand, if you struggle with gut issues already, chia seeds are a great way to incorporate more fiber to help keep you regular. (You may find this post with healthy gut tips helpful, along with my go-to probiotics.)
I like making it in a mason jar so I can pop a lid on it for breakfast or a snack on the go. It’s also nice to easily store leftovers.