I have long been a breakfast person. Not an elaborate breakfast person, per se, but the type who simply can’t skip the meal if she wants to be functional past 11 a.m. For the last 10 years of my life, my standby has been oatmeal. A lot of oatmeal. Often packaged, not very fancy, and adorned with just a splash of almond milk and a spoon of nut butter.
But earlier this summer, I fell into an oatmeal rut. It just wasn’t working for me anymore. I was too hot—all of the time, but especially each morning, as I emerged from the weighted blanket I insist on using year-round. The oatmeal was making me sweat, and I wanted to cool down.
I needed something else: a breakfast option that was just as quick, easy, convenient, and nourishing as my oatmeal, but not as stifling. Cereal and yogurt are both nos for me—the former isn’t filling and satisfying enough, and as for the latter, I can’t stomach a large amount of dairy first thing in the morning. So I tried chia seed pudding. Soon, I got into the habit of stopping by a counter-service café on my way to the office, spending $6.75 on an absolutely delightful bowl of it.
But here’s the thing about my $6.75 breakfast: When you eat it three days a week, it becomes $20.25 of chia seed pudding. In a month, that’s $81. To me, that felt like a lot of money spent on a food that fits in the palm of my hand and takes about 45 seconds to eat (perhaps two minutes at most if I’m being particularly mindful).
Eventually, I had a small epiphany: What if I made my own? I hadn’t considered this before only because the dish felt like such a treat: a little vanilla-y, with some puréed mango, another anonymous seed sprinkled in, and a few dried goji berries on top. I love to cook, and do most nights, but some dishes feel like they are too complex—even just in flavor—to replicate. (Mainly, I was thinking, where the hell am I going to get mango purée, because I surely will not be making that on my own.)
That said, I know plenty of people do make their own chia seed pudding—it’s heralded as an “easy” at-home breakfast. And there was an actual human at my café, making the small containers of pudding each morning, which meant that it was physically possible for me to do it, too. So I decided I’d give it a shot.
I’ll skip ahead to my thesis here: I think that you should try it.
I had the basic ingredients at home, which I found from a simple Google search: chia seeds and some variety of milk. The most intimidating ingredient was time: To eat it when I wanted, I’d have to make it ahead. (The seeds have to soak in a refrigerated environment—more on this later.) Could I become the type of person who preps their breakfast the night before? I wasn’t positive, but I’ll try anything once, especially if I can do it in my pajamas.