Rarely are there recipes that can easily work for breakfast for dessert. Actually, I should rephrase that. There are plenty of breakfasts that are the nutritional equivalent of dessert…if not worse, including:
- Pancakes smothered in syrup
- French toast, again smothered in syrup
- Most breakfast cereals, including commercial granolas
- Store-bought or coffeehouse muffins and pastries
All of these, while tasty and tempting, are absolutely loaded with sugar, usually void of any useful amount of fiber…not to mention nutrients, and perpetuate the vicious circle of sugar addiction. Any of the above-metioned foods could easily crossover as an everyday dessert.
The 12 Gram Rule
My general rule of thumb when it comes to sugar is 12 grams, or right around three teaspoons. If a food (per serving) has more than 12 grams, I put it back. It can be discouraging to walk through the store, looking at the nutrition facts in food, only to realize a majority of packaged foods are full of this sweet stuff. But let’s keep in mind, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of foods on grocery store shelves today did not even exist 100 years ago. Since sugar sells, whether in ketchup or candy and salad dressing to sauces, it’s bound to be in nearly everything processed.
I try to avoid as much added sugar as possible, for myself and my family. My kids have become “sugar detectives” too, sleuthing through aisles of food aisles looking for foods with quality ingredients and less sugar. When I was a little girl, my grandma always used to make “rice soup” for us for dinner when she’d visit. It was my brother’s favorite. It wasn’t truly a dinner as it was always topped with cinnamon and butter, but everyone loved it. She’d take a gallon of milk and God knows how much rice, bring it to a boil, then reduce it down to a super creamy and delicious “soup.” I’m sure more was involved in the recipe than that, but I was too young to be taking notes.
Fast forward to the days where my kids are the same age I was and I’ve re-created this dish with a couple different ingredients. It’s still as simple as ever, but contains a little more fiber and and a couple different nutrients than the version she made. I love chia seeds and use them whenever possible. The great thing about chia seeds is a little goes a long way. Adding them to this recipe was a cinch. I also made this recipe dairy-free by substituting canned coconut milk instead of cow milk. Canned coconut milk is much creamier than other varieties. I use organic coconut milk from Thai Kitchen as their cans are BPA-free. Normally, I go with the full fat variety, but I accidentally grabbed the “lite” version (still a reasonable amount of fat). The recipe still turned out great!
I also want to mention that I used stevia in this recipe, not my usual standby, honey. It’s important to note that I do NOT use Truvia. Truvia contains mostly erythritol, a sugar alcohol made from GMO corn. It’s hardly healthy and, in my opinion, just as bad as sucralose (Splenda) or aspartame (Sweet-n-Low). Sweeteners aside, if you’d prefer to substitute honey, or even agave nectar, go ahead. The substitution ratio is about three ounces of honey to one packet of stevia.
Chia Rice Pudding
- 3/4 cup long grain rice, rinsed well
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 4 packets stevia
Combine rice, chia seeds and coconut milk in a pot. Bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer until pudding has reached pudding-like consistency. Time will vary depending on the rice you use. After rice is cooked, add stevia. Remove from heat and serve warm, or enjoy for a later time.
I added just a few chunks of green apples to the top of mine. The tart taste of the green apples combined with the creamy texture of the pudding tasted great.
Calories per serving: 188
Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrate: 23 grams
Protein: 4 grams