Recipe: Turn Protein-Packed Chia Pudding into a Fun School Lunch

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Chia seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids and, with just liquid and time to sit, they turn the consistency of pudding. It’s pretty magical and very versatile — and excellent for lunch.

Making chia pudding can be as easy as combining seeds and some liquid, usually a plant-based milk. Our tutorial on how to make creamy chia pudding explains everything in detail, including the ratio of chia seeds to liquid, and also goes into the many ways you can customize your pudding. It’s also a great way to use up the last bit of fruit, almond milk, or almond butter.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

To make a chia pudding that your kids will love for school lunch — and that you’ll feel good about packing — you want to go lower on the sugar and stir in nutritious add-ins like Greek-style yogurt and/or nut butter for extra protein. Then, of course, amp up the flavor with all-natural extracts, from vanilla to lemon, or even cocoa powder (a little of which goes a very long way).

You can also layer your chia pudding with fruit purée for extra goodness and a very pretty presentation, which gets you multiple points when it comes to lunch. Make a batch over the weekend then add a little jar of it to lunches throughout the week.

Hearty, Wholesome Snack-Packed Lunches

This year, make school lunch about what kids love best — snacks! With the help of Stacie Billis, the founder of One Hungry Mama and author of Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch — with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them, we’re sharing ideas for making never-boring school lunches kids actually want to eat. You’ll find 10 new ideas to help you keep the midday meal something your kids look forward to.