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Paleo Chocolate Chia Pudding

Paleo Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate? What’s not to love? This Chocolate Chia Pudding is so easy and so good. Unsweetened plain cocoa powder is one of my favorite foods to recommend for kids. Here’s why you should let your kids enjoy it:

  • It has a good mineral profile, providing zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and copper.
  • It is rich in polyphenols, which lend antioxidant power.
  • It might even help you boost good cholesterol – that is, the high density lipoprotein (HDL) that helps cholesterol work healthfully in the body.
  • It has an array of all macronutrients too, including protein, carbs, fiber, and fats.
  • Plain cocoa powder is unsweetened and has no cane sugar – which means you can get its health benefits when you use it in all sorts of recipes.

This Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe brings together a bunch of all-good ingredients, giving you a fast easy option to store bought sugary pudding cups. Besides cocoa powder, the recipe’s chia brings the pudding texture to life while delivering its own complement of minerals (potassium, calcium,  phosphorus), omega 3 fats, protein, and fiber. Full fat canned coconut milk – another go to in many of my nutrition care plans – gives high calorie, easy to digest fats that work well for a fast-access energy boost, without sugar. These fats, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), have an array of health benefits for heart health, weight loss, and even immune support. And good local organic honey – raw if your children are over a year old – will give antioxidants, more traces of minerals, and all the sweet you need.

For Paleo Chocolate Chia Pudding, just blend ingredients and chill – it will set in 1-3 hours. I’ve had some batches set quickly, while others take longer – in that case, I’ll add an extra spoonful of chia and give it another hour or more to set.

 

Paleo Chocolate Chia Pudding
Print Recipe
Rich and creamy, deep cocoa flavor, with soft texture of gelled chia seed. Enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Paleo Chocolate Chia Pudding
Print Recipe
Rich and creamy, deep cocoa flavor, with soft texture of gelled chia seed. Enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In a blender, food processor, or with hand mixer, combine all ingredients but the chia seeds. Process until texture is smooth and all ingredients are evenly blended.
  2. Fold in chia seeds, so that they are evenly distributed throughout the pudding mixture. Cover and place in refrigerator until firm.
  3. If pudding hasn't set after two hours, stir in 1 more tablespoon chia seeds and allow another hour for it to set.
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Oatmeal Tigernut Cookies – GF CF AIP

Oatmeal Tigernut Cookies – GF CF AIP

Oatmeal, tigernut flour, and chia are great foods for getting different types of fiber into our diets. Fiber is what helps build diversity in our gut microbiomes – and there is growing evidence that this is pivotal for preventing food allergy. It’s possible that microbiome therapies may help correct and treat food allergy too, along with many other conditions. But how do you get picky eaters to go there?

Cookies! Here’s an easy recipe to use all three of those foods in one. Tigernut flour is easy to work with and gives baked goods a warm earthy flavor and texture. Combined with oats ground in to flour, it makes an easy texture for a nice twist on the usual oatmeal cookie that anyone can enjoy. Even kids with conditions like Crohn’s disease, food allergy, celiac, or other inflammatory bowel conditions where sweets, eggs, dairy or gluten can wreak havoc will enjoy these cookies.

Everyone needs a cookie now and then! Pack these in your kids’ lunches or enjoy as snacks. No cane sugar, no eggs, lots of fiber and minerals. If your gang can roll with (GF CF no sugar) chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or raisins, add those too. Option to leave oats whole for coarse texture, or grind oats into a fine flour in a food processor for easier digestion in tender or toddler tummies. I have a mini-size food processor in my kitchen to make this task simple and fast. Lastly, see below for why stevia is included – here’s the one I recommend. It is pure organic plant extract, no fillers, in glycerite (not alcohol).

Oatmeal Tigernut Flour Cookies
Print Recipe
Soft, chewy, oat-y cookies that work with all kinds of elimination diets. See amazon links above for hard to find ingredients.
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 20 minutes
Passive Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 20 minutes
Passive Time
20 minutes
Oatmeal Tigernut Flour Cookies
Print Recipe
Soft, chewy, oat-y cookies that work with all kinds of elimination diets. See amazon links above for hard to find ingredients.
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 20 minutes
Passive Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-15 cookies 20 minutes
Passive Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Lay a piece of baking parchment on top. Set aside to soak for at least five minutes, or til other ingredients are ready.
  2. Place the chia seeds in a cup or small bowl. Add the water, so that chia seeds are covered. Press any that stick to sides of cup or bowl down into the water with a spoon or spatula, so they can soak. Set aside.
  3. Measure 1/4 gluten free oats and place in a food processor. Process into a fine flour. Use this in your dry ingredient mixture. Make sure it measures 1/4 cup when ground.
  4. In a medium size bowl, mix together dry ingredients: Tigernut flour, oat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Blend til evenly combined.
  5. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients: Melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and stevia drops (why stevia? See note below!). Mix with electric mixer or whisk with a fork or whisk until these are evenly blended. Then add the soaked chia seeds. Stir until all are evenly blended.
  6. Stir wet ingredients into dry, and combine all till evenly mixed. If you are adding chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins, stir these in now.
  7. Place on baking sheet, bake x 15-20 minutes, til slightly browned on bottoms and tops. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

White chia seeds have a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids than black chia seeds - which have more protein than the white ones. The omega-3 fatty acids can have a bitter taste, hence the extra help from stevia in this recipe. If you want to go for the slightly bigger protein boost, use black chia seeds instead - they will look like poppy seeds in your final product, which some picky eaters may object to ("what are THOSE? I don't like 'bits'"). They white ones will disappear!

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Cool Vanilla Weight Gain Pudding – Paleo and SCD

Cool Vanilla Weight Gain Pudding – Paleo and SCD

Weight gain is something many kids I meet need to work on. But so often, strategies include allergens or other problematic foods that they can’t have: Milk protein (casein), eggs, ice cream, full fat yogurt, cream, Pediasure (that’s milk protein), cane sugar…. What to do?

Shakes, puddings and liquid boost drinks are a great way to do it. Use this hypoallergenic short cut pudding that is full of protein, healthy fats, and some SCD legal carbs and proteins too. Don’t skip the crushed ice in the bottom of your mixing container, it gives a refreshing coolness to the whole recipe!

Cool Vanilla Weight Gain Pudding - Paleo and SCD
Print Recipe
Cool and soothing, not to mention a big hit of easy to digest calories that help rather than hurt healthy gut bacteria. This will yield as much as 500 calories per serving (recipe makes two generous servings) depending on the size of avocado you are using.
Servings Prep Time
2 ~5-6 oz servings 8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 ~5-6 oz servings 8 minutes
Cool Vanilla Weight Gain Pudding - Paleo and SCD
Print Recipe
Cool and soothing, not to mention a big hit of easy to digest calories that help rather than hurt healthy gut bacteria. This will yield as much as 500 calories per serving (recipe makes two generous servings) depending on the size of avocado you are using.
Servings Prep Time
2 ~5-6 oz servings 8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 ~5-6 oz servings 8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: ~5-6 oz servings
Instructions
  1. Place crushed ice in the bottom of blender or tall quart mixing jar or container (in which case you'll need an immersion blender). Add remaining ingredients on top. Blend all together until smooth and evenly blended into pudding texture.
  2. Spoon into single serving Pyrex cups or bowls. Sprinkle nutmeg on top for garnish and flavor.
  3. If a drinkable version is ideal, add water until thinned to desired degree. This will reduce calories per serving.
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SCD Apple Banana Cake

SCD Apple Banana Cake

SCD eaters have a hard time finding carbs that are comfortable and safe to eat – especially the ones I know, who are little – but this SCD legal Apple Banana Cake is a problem solver!

The problem with SCD for kids is that it can stunt growth. Those are fightin’ words I know! But, when children eat a high protein, high fat, low carb diet (as was true for the infamous Atkins diet of the ’80s), they will not only not gain weight very well, they may not grow well either – even when they eat ample daily total calories.

Why is this? Because little humans need carbohydrates for growth. Carbs protect protein for other tasks during growth. They also help build a healthy gut biome, when the right carbs are eaten. When kids go keto, they are using protein and ketones for energy. Protein is a lousy fuel source. Relying on it day after day will overburden kidney. Ketones (as you probably know) are a great fuel source. While this works great for adults and anyone who does not need to lose weight, it doesn’t work so well for children who need to gain weight and correct a growth pattern that has flattened. Ketones can also suppress appetite, making it even harder to eat the amounts of food children need to repair growth patterns

Once you get past Intro, Stage 1 and Stage 2 of SCD, try this recipe. I took extra care to cook apples before baking them in to the cake (a tool like this, if you don’t already have one, makes the core/cut/peel part of the task fast and easy). If you’re further along in the Stages of SCD, you may be fine putting cut raw apples into the bake. If you don’t have time to cook the apples, use SCD legal applesauce (2 cups).

I also took extra caution with the orange juice, and fresh-squeezed my own for the recipe (with one of these – makes this job a snap too, and many versions abound. I’ve had mine for over 30 years and it’s still going strong). Or, you can use any store bought SCD legal OJ instead (Whole Foods 365 fresh squeezed for example) to save time.

The third thing I was careful to do was grind the pumpkin seeds into meal before adding to the recipe. Again, SCDers who are stable, past early phases, and not trying to resolve active symptoms may be able to skip that step and just place the seeds in the batter.

Ok enough tips – bake and enjoy. This is moist and yummy, almost like a kugel, minus the grains and sugar!

SCD Apple Banana Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, rich, delicious...like a kugel or bread pudding - but Paleo and SCD legal!
Servings Prep Time
9 3 inch pieces 90 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 3 inch pieces 90 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
SCD Apple Banana Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, rich, delicious...like a kugel or bread pudding - but Paleo and SCD legal!
Servings Prep Time
9 3 inch pieces 90 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 3 inch pieces 90 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 3 inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan with coconut oil or ghee, and line with parchment baking paper. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Grind to fine meal. Add this to a medium size bowl and combine with dry ingredients: Almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, raw maca powder.
  3. In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer bowl, combine eggs, honey, vanilla. Beat til smooth and evenly mixed.
  4. Core and peel apples (a coring tool makes this easy). Slice thin and then chop into smaller pieces. Sauté these in ghee in coconut oil, and add orange juice. Cover and simmer til bubbling soft, about 15 minutes.
  5. Mash banana to gloppy liquid in another bowl. Add the cooked apples (or applesauce) to the banana mash, and stir both to mix together evenly.
  6. Add the banana/apple mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir to evenly combine everything.
  7. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stir til evenly mixed. Batter will be thick and wet. Spoon into baking pan. Bake for one hour, til top is browned and cake has begun pulling from edges of pan. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

[recipe]

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Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars

Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars

Paleo + Chocolate + Tahini in an easy recipe? I’m in! This is my new favorite recipe, and there are several versions of it around. These are basically classic Millionaire Bars, adapted to fit into grain free, dairy free, egg free, and no cane sugar parameters. Millionaire Bars have been a favorite in Scotland for years, where they may have originated, and where you might see them with names like Caramel Shortbread, or Millionaire’s Slice. They start with a shortbread crust, have a caramel middle, and chocolate layer on top. Decadent!

The recipe I am using here is adapted from this one which happens to be vegan as well as Paleo. Luckily, it’s easy to adapt Millionaire Bars to a Paleo version. The sweet relies on maple syrup here – a lot of it. That brings up the question of whether maple syrup is Paleo. If it is, how much is ok?

This is a recipe that in itself – in my opinion – is too sugary to be valid as Paleo. We know that native North American tribes made and enjoyed maple syrup – there’s even a legend that it made them lazy and less interested in other food – hmmm! It was indeed in the hunter-gather repertoire, at least in the northeastern US.

But, if you’re looking for a sweet treat for kids who can’t eat peanut, wheat, dairy (including butter), or eggs, and you’re avoiding processed sweeteners, this is an good option for a special occasion or happy after school snack.

I haven’t yet tinkered with the maple syrup to tahini ratio in the “caramel” layer, but there may be some room there to reduce the syrup. This will reduce the volume overall of the caramel layer, unless you likewise up the tahini, or other ingredient. Some recipes use dates and less syrup. It may work to blend in an unsweetened additional nut butter (almond or cashew?) if your child tolerates that, and sweeten with some stevia, to make up for reduced syrup.

Changes in my version include adding some flax (technically a seed, not a grain) to enhance the crust, plus a different source for the chocolate chips (I like Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips) – yes they have soy lecithin. In my experience, this is not a deal breaker for IgE soy allergy or for soy exorphins potential.

I also suggest a different timing for firming up the middle layer, which took much longer than the 30 minutes suggested in the recipe I worked from. I found that the “caramel” layer needs a good two hours in the fridge to set. I got even better results when I let it set overnight.

Once you’ve got this easy recipe assembled, keep stored in fridge or even the freezer if you like. The tahini-maple caramel will soften to runny texture at room temperature.


Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars
Print Recipe
Easy to make. Just leave time for each layer to set, and you're good to go. Salty chocolatey caramel-y goodness, without the wheat, dairy allergens, or cane sugar!
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars
Print Recipe
Easy to make. Just leave time for each layer to set, and you're good to go. Salty chocolatey caramel-y goodness, without the wheat, dairy allergens, or cane sugar!
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 30 minutes
Passive Time
2+ hours
Ingredients
Base Layer "Shortbread" Crust
Middle "Caramel" Layer
Chocolate Layer On Top
Servings: bars
Instructions
For The Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with baking parchment (a 9x9 pan will be too big).
  3. Melt the coconut oil (microwave or stove top). In a medium bowl, mix it with the almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Use a fork to blend it together so it forms a thick crumb texture. Add to pan, and use your fingers or the bottom of a glass or jar to evenly press it down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, and allow crust to cool at least 10 minutes before adding caramel mixture. You can place it in the fridge to speed this part up.
For The Caramel Layer
  1. Add the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot. Place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes. Stir until evenly blended and smooth.
  2. Pour over the cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or longer, ideally overnight, for a firm, evenly chilled crust. Freezing is not recommended to hasten this part. It can change the texture of your caramel to have icy crystals on top that will melt to water on serving.
For The Chocolate Layer
  1. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or on stove top, with the coconut oil. Stir to blend together til smooth. Spread this on your chilled and hardened caramel layer. Place it back in fridge to harden, about 30 minutes or longer.
Recipe Notes

Leave time for each layer in the process to set, and you're good to go. Make the base crust ("shortbread") layer, which bakes in just 10 minutes. Let it cool, then spread on your "caramel" layer. This takes longer to set. Ideally, refrigerate the caramel layer overnight for a good hard set. At a minimum, refrigerate it for two hours before adding the chocolate layer (which is a snap to make in microwave). Though the original recipe suggests placing this in the freezer if you're in a hurry to set the caramel, don't. It will change the texture so that ice can form at the top of the caramel. This will become watery at room temp. Once all assembled and firmed up in your fridge, it's fine to store these Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars in your freezer if you like!

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