The humble chia pudding, star of the overnight breakfast, now adapted into a easy and delicious high protein keto recipe!
Use basic ingredients that you already have in the pantry to transform your pedestrian protein shake into a fantastic, creamy bodybuilding delight!
Eating pudding on keto
Who doesn’t love pudding? At one time in my life, before I was aware of the importance of nutrition for health and muscle building, I used to eat industrialized pudding a lot. Nice and easy for dessert, nice and easy for breakfast.
But the little jars of sweet and colorful grocery store pudding are filled with nasty ingredients that I didn’t want in my body anymore. But what to do? I still love pudding…
No problem, we can make it!! A homemade pudding that’s sugar-free, without preservatives or artificial colors, using wholesome ingredients that we can choose ourselves!
The base recipe is super easy, and with little changes you can create several flavors of keto chia pudding.
Protein powder choices
This keto and low-carb chia pudding is basically an alternate (and much more delicious!) way of getting your protein shake in. So, whatever protein powder you already use for your before/after gym/bed shake will work.
It can be whey, either whey isolate or concentrate (I usually make this recipe with unflavored whey), casein, pea protein, beef protein, and even hemp protein. Whichever protein you already take and has an enjoyable taste in shake form, will be even better in protein chia pudding form!
Keto and low-carb milk options
Each portion of this high protein chia pudding takes 150 grams (about 5/8 cup) of milk. Cow’s milk contains about 11 grams of carbs per cup. You can make this pudding lower in carbs and keto friendlier by using a milk alternative.
There are many types of milk or milk-like products that are lower in carb than cow milk. You can chose from any that you enjoy the taste better: nut or seed milks, coconut milk or cream, or simply heavy cream.
Examples of nut and seed based low-carb milk:
Nut milk – like almond milk, hazelnut milk, macadamia milk, or cashew milk
Seed milk – like hemp or flax milk
When buying a nut or seed milk, make sure to read the ingredient’s list and the nutrition facts. If there’s sugar or oils in the ingredient list, look for another brand.
The only ingredients you should see in the best, keto approved store bought nut (or seed) milks are: water and a percentage of the nut of choice (generally around 2%), with (maybe) lecithin and some sort of gum for texture (such as xanthan, guar, carrageenan, locust bean or gelan) and a preservative (like ascorbic acid). Some brands add pea protein, not sure why, but hey, it works.
If you’re having trouble finding a good nut milk or simply prefer to make your own, it’s really not that hard. You can follow the easy instructions by Lindsay here, for any type of nut and also for hemp milk.
Coconut milk, or coconut cream – I love using coconut milk in my keto chia pudding, it makes for a super creamy pudding and it tastes just wonderful. If using a really thick coconut cream, like the ones that come in a can, you can add some water to make the consistency more milk like. If you want. You don’t have to.
Whipping cream or heavy cream – simply add about two tablespoons per cup of water, and you have another lower-carb option to regular milk to be used in protein shakes. 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of whipping cream or heavy cream have only one gram of carbs.
Some flavor ideas
- Strawberry – super easy if you have strawberry protein powder. You can also add a handful of pureed fresh or frozen strawberries or one teaspoon of freeze dried strawberries. Covered in whipped cream, it’s like a dream 🤭
- Matcha – Make a strong matcha latte protein shake, by adding half to one tablespoon of a good matcha powder in your unflavored or vanilla flavor protein shake.
- Coconut – simple: just use coconut milk or coconut cream with unflavored protein powder, and add sweetener to taste. I like to add grated coconut for extra flavor and texture. To make it even more exciting, go for a Bounty bar pudding: top with lots of sugar-free shaved chocolate, or chocolate chips.
- Chocolate – That’s the classic, isn’t it? You can use chocolate flavored protein, or just add cocoa powder – one tablespoon per keto pudding recipe, or more if you like.
How to make
1. The protein shake
Start by making your protein shake as usual, with the keto or low-carb milk. Use one scoop (or more) of your chosen protein powder in your favorite flavor, or use unflavored.
If your flavored protein powder is not really sweet, (or if using an unflavored protein powder) you can add sweetener for a sweeter pudding. Use any keto sweetener you have: stevia, monk fruit, pure erythritol or xylitol or your favorite blend. You can also add more flavor – some more cocoa powder to a chocolate protein shake will make it more chocolate-y, for example.
If using a vanilla protein powder, you can add other flavors on top. Vanilla is a deliciously versatile flavor of protein powder to have, you can add almost anything to it. Or, leave it as just vanilla. Nothing wrong with that!
I suggest you try it for taste. I like to make the protein shake sweeter/more flavorful than I would if just drinking it straight. That’s because there’s still another ingredient to go in that doesn’t taste much by itself – the chia seeds – and we want them to absorb as much flavor as possible as they swell.
2. Add chia seeds
You’ll need 3 to 4 tablespoons of chia seeds per cup of protein shake, depending on the milk you used and the consistency of the shake. The chia pudding should be thick and creamy.
If you are making a chocolate chia pudding, you might need more – I find that when I make pudding with cocoa powder, the chia seeds don’t swell as much. Whatever the reason is, I fix it by adding more seeds and waiting a little more for them to absorb the liquid and thicken up the pudding.
Add the chia seeds and mix them in immediately, to coat them all with liquid and separate them to avoid clumping. Using a small whisk instead of a spoon really helps.
Give it a few minutes, and mix it again, ensuring that there are no seeds sticking together. This way, you ensure a smooth chia pudding.
And this is really the only “challenging” part of making a chia seed pudding. If the seeds clump together, it’s impossible to separate them after the pudding has been refrigerated. Without chewing. So, be thorough in your mixing!
Let your keto chia pudding chill in a covered container for at least 2 hours so that it gets thick and creamy. I love to make them the night before and have them for a high protein, nutritious breakfast!
Sometimes, depending on the consistency of your mixture, the pudding might separate – the seeds are heavier and will go towards the bottom. I like to stir the pudding whenever I open the fridge, just to avoid this from happening. But you can just stir before serving, that works too.
4. (optional) – Toppings and/or bottoms!
To give your high protein keto chia pudding an extra oomph, add toppings:
Sugar-free shaved chocolate, cacao nibs, crushed keto candied nuts, pumpkin seeds, fresh berries, grated coconut and / or coconut flakes, natural peanut butter, with or without jam – check out this easy keto chia jam while you’re at it – and, of course, whipped cream!
Meal prepping tips
The keto protein pudding can last up to a week in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. To add variety in your meal prepping, you can (make the recipe) times (how many puddings you want) in a big bowl with a base flavor (vanilla, or just sweetener).
Then, separate the big pudding in individual jars and add different flavors to each before refrigerating for happy times every day of the week!
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