First, I start with about eight ounces of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
Next, you'll add your dry mix-ins. Most of these can be measured out and put in a sandwich bag ahead of time, for more time-saving. I typically use the following combination, but feel free to use your imagination. If something seems like it would taste good - try it out!
Chia Seeds - This is the one essential mix-in to this drink. When soaked in a liquid for more than 30 minutes, the Chia seeds form a gelatin shell, which makes the liquid more yogurt or jello like. Chia offers many health benefits including being a great source of Omega-3 and helping keep you hydrated. However, claims regarding it's ability to aide in weight loss have been disputed. Regardless, I love the stuff! I usually put about 3 TBSP of Chia in my 8-oz glass of almond milk, and let it sit for an hour or so (this takes a bit of forethought), if not overnight.
Unsweetened Coconut - make sure it's unsweetened!
Fruit - In the picture above I show dried cranberries (make sure they are simply dried cranberries—most brands are loaded with extra sugar), which is one of my favorites, especially in the winter when fresh berries are hard to come by. This summer I've been using blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and even nectarines. I imagine frozen berries would taste great too, but I've never tried it. The fruit adds the sweetness you may feel you're missing with all the other unsweetened ingredients.
Stevia - On days that I'm wanting a little extra sweetness, I'll add in a small squirt (a little goes a LONG way) of this Stevia sweetener. It doesn't quite taste like traditional sugar sweetener, but it is so much better for you to avoid the sugar!
Flax Seed - Lately I've been throwing in a tablespoon or so of flax seed, which is being called one of the most powerful plant foods around. This does add a bit more grit to the drink, but if you can get past it, the health benefits are huge.
Once you have all your ingredients together, throw them in your almond milk and stir it up. If you haven't let the Chia sit in the almond milk yet, you'll need to let the whole mixture sit for a little while to set up. I usually put this together as soon as I wake up, then help my kids get breakfast, or jump in the shower and it's ready by the time I am done.
As a heads up: I usually get hungry a couple of hours after breakfast when this is what I have. If this happens for you too, be prepared with a banana or LARA Bar (I'm a new lover of LARA Bars thanks to my friend Kristie Belliston of The Belly Fit Club) to hold you over until lunch.
Let me know how you like it! I'd love to hear if you have more ideas for mix-ins, or if you have other quick & healthy meal ideas.