Breakfast is my favorite meal. Maybe it has something to do with the boisterous appetite that greets me each morning when I wake up. I usually start my day with a yoga practice followed by fresh fruit or a smoothie that consists of kale or chocolate. Last week, when a friend of mine mentioned something about eating oatmeal for breakfast, I was instantly reminded of the days I woke up to a hot breakfast of steel cut oats (cooked overnight in the crockpot) with cinnamon, peanut butter, fresh berries and dried cherries. At the time, I believed it was the most delicious breakfast known to man and that I would eat it every day for the rest of my life. After I cut grains and peanut butter out of my diet, that treasured meal was gone with the wind.
Last week, I made a similar breakfast using chia seeds in place of oats. It tasted so good and the nutrition in this dish is off the charts. Chia seeds act as a blood sugar stabilizer and help prevent blood sugar spikes. I always feel very calm and balanced after I eat them. These seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain function, protect against heart disease and boost your mood. Omega-3’s also promote radiant skin, hair and nails. Chia seeds have more fiber than oats and promote healthy digestion. The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in these tiny seeds strengthen bones, balance energy and help fight against diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis. They can swell up to 10 times in size when soaked in liquids (giving them a gelatinous texture) and can be used as an egg replacer.
The Cherry Chia Seed Parfait is easy to make and sits in the fridge overnight to set. The 8+ hours in the liquid gives the seeds time to swell and soak up as much liquid as possible. I added cherries, medjool dates, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla to the mixture and layered it with fresh fruit the following morning. Feel free to be creative with your layers and toppings. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds, granola and coconut flakes also make a great addition. This is a great make-ahead meal that can easily be transported when you are on the go.
Cherry Chia Seed Parfait
1/4 cup cherries, fresh or frozen (pitted)
1.5 cups dairy-free milk (I used Homemade Nut Milk)
4-5 medjool dates, stoned (1-2 tbs. raw honey will also work)
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup fresh fruit (I used blueberries, strawberries and pitted cherries)
1. Place cherries, milk, dates, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon into blender. Blend until mixture becomes liquid.
2. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add the chia seeds. Slowly stir together, gently breaking up any chunks of chia seeds.
3. Let sit for 10 minutes, then gently stir mixture again. Let sit for another 10 minutes and stir once more.
4. Cover bowl with sealed lid/plastic wrap or place mixture into a jar and cover with lid. Place in refrigerator overnight.
5. The following day, place 1/4 cup chia seed pudding into a drinking glass, jar or bowl. Top with 1/4 cup fresh fruit. Add another 1/4 cup chia pudding and top with another 1/4 cup fresh fruit. Enjoy!
*Great toppings/layers for this parfait include granola, coconut flakes, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.