Today we’re going to compare a couple of different on-the-go options, chia seed pudding vs overnight oats. Each of these options has the potential to spice up your boring breakfast routine by being both nutritious and delicious.
Even though we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it can also be the hardest one to get in.
The alarm goes off and you’re off and running—whether it’s getting ready for your workday, trying to sneak around and get chores done before the kids wake up, or rushing to get those same kids out the door to the school bus on time—if something has to be skipped in that early morning rush, it’s usually breakfast.
In addition, quick, on-the-go options like yogurt or a bagel can quickly become boring, leading you to forgo the most important meal of the day just because nothing sounds good. If you’re looking for some new breakfast options, you’re in luck!
Chia, Like the Plant/Pet From the ’80s?
Well, yes! The fun clay planters that grow “hair” from seeds do in fact use chia seeds.
They are processed a bit differently for growing, however, so you want to buy fresh chia seeds from your local grocery store if you’re going to eat them.
About Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are part of the mint family and come in two different colors: black and white.
Most sources say their origin is in South America, where they were a staple food for the ancient Aztecs.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, chia seeds are known for being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein, and minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.) This is an important consideration to make when choosing between chia seed pudding vs overnight oats.
There has been some research that shows chia seeds may be heart-healthy, with limited studies showing that including them in your diet could lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even decrease inflammation.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Ingesting a spoonful of dry chia seeds is not recommended, because they absorb liquid and can cause digestive trouble (they absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid!)
So how does one go about eating this omega-3 filled superfood?
Chia is a very versatile little seed. You can sprout and eat the micro-greens that grow from the seeds instead of the seed itself.
One of the more interesting uses for chia seeds is as an egg replacement—when mixed with the right amount of warm water, the texture becomes very egg-like and is a popular choice for vegan bakers.
Or, you can mix them with liquids to make delicious gels and puddings like the one we are discussing here.
Oatmeal, but Make It Cold
To continue our discussion about chia seed pudding vs overnight oats, let’s take a look at oats.
We’re all pretty familiar with oatmeal, the hot breakfast cereal that is a staple for kids and adults alike. Did you know that you can also use them to make a delicious cold cereal that’s easy to take with you on the go?
Plus, oats are highly nutritious and filling, which makes this a great option for starting your day.
Nutritional Benefits of Oats
Oats are a whole-grain product that is gluten-free, a good source of protein, and high in many minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Oats are a whole plant food, unlike other processed cereals.
According to Healthline, they are also “the only food source of avenanthramides, a unique group of antioxidants believed to protect against heart disease.”
When comparing chia seed pudding vs overnight oats, it’s important to note that studies have proven a diet high in oats can reduce cholesterol.
There are also studies showing that oats may prevent type II diabetes, and a few studies even hint that eating a diet high in oats could potentially help boost your immune system.
Easy Overnight Oats
Part of why overnight oats are such an easy grab-and-go breakfast option is that you don’t have to cook the oats. You simply soak them for at least two hours (or even better, overnight) in the liquid of your choice, and voila—breakfast is served!
The texture is a little different than warm oatmeal, but not by much. If you use something like almond or coconut milk as your liquid, it will have a pudding-like texture and a creamy flavor.
Chia Seed Pudding vs Overnight Oats
These dishes are a lot alike. Both involve soaking a seed or grain in liquid to create a cold pudding that makes for a quick and easy breakfast option, and both are high in fiber and plant-based protein.
So what are the differences between chia seed pudding vs overnight oats?
Chia Seed Pudding
This delicious dish doesn’t quite have enough nutrients to stand alone. If you choose this for your early-morning breakfast, you may end up quickly feeling hungry again.
One option would be to combine this pudding with some other breakfast food, to create a more complete meal.
This pudding can also be made ahead and left in the refrigerator for up to a week (making it a very convenient snack any time of day.)
Try topping it with dried or fresh fruit, nuts, or even mix it up: there are variations on this recipe involving flavors like matcha, chocolate, and even “candy corn.”
One of the best things about overnight oats is their versatility. Because oats are a relatively bland food on their own, you can mix it up by creating all kinds of pairings and creations.
While a basic recipe is just oats, milk, and a sweetener, you could add yogurt, vanilla extract, or even chia seeds. That’s right, you can add chia seeds to your overnight oats and combine the nutrition of chia seeds and oats!
Unlike chia seed pudding, however, overnight oats will only stay good in the refrigerator for about 5 days (which is still plenty of time to meet your meal prepping needs!)
If you can’t stomach the thought of cold oatmeal, many overnight oats recipes could be microwaved in the morning to be a bit more palatable.
And the Winner Is…
Both of these dishes are delicious, nutritious, and convenient.
If you’re looking for a quick snack or a piece of a larger meal, chia seed pudding is a fantastic option that almost tastes like you’re cheating on your diet.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one meal to hold you over until you have time for a late lunch, overnight oats are your best choice (and why not sneak some of those leftover chia seeds in there, too?)