I’m a big believer that an important part of a healthy diet is treating yourself. I think if you cut out all treats, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. So many times, I would start a healthy lifestyle (normally on January 1st, because I’m a sucker for the clean slate that a new year brings), and I would be so super dooper committed. I would throw all the treats in my house in the trash. I would stop putting honey in my tea. I wouldn’t even walk past the dessert section of the grocery store. I would be so “good”.
And that would last about three days. Then I’d have a bad day at work, and I’d find myself in the corner of the kitchen, shoveling handfuls of chocolate chips in my mouth while crying over how I was being so “bad.” I’d feel guilty and like I’d ruined everything and could never be healthy. It was a nasty cycle of restriction and self-hate.
It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out that the key to me sticking to a healthy lifestyle was to incorporate the foods I loved, just in different ways. Either by eating them in smaller portions, having them less often, or by adjusting them to make them into a healthier version. A healthy lifestyle isn’t all-or-nothing. The healthiest of diets live somewhere in between the extremes of eating nothing but kale and nothing but fast food. As with most things, the extremes are, at best, not sustainable, and at worst, dangerous.
Forbidding yourself from eating foods you like and enjoy is not going to be a successful strategy for longterm health. No matter how “good” you promise yourself you’ll be. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Long term health?
Like I said, one of my favorite ways to treat myself without guilt is to tweak more decadent foods to have a healthier twist. It’s entirely possible to have a super delicious, super healthy dessert. I swear the phrase “healthy dessert” isn’t an oxymoron! And these chia pudding cups are one of my favorite healthier ways to treat myself. It’s little treats like these cups that help keep my healthy diet sustainable.
I know for some folks, the gel-like qualities of chia seeds are a major turn-off, and if that’s the case, these pudding cups aren’t for you. But I personally love, love, love how chia seeds get all thick and jelly. These chia pudding cups remind me of tapioca pudding—but a much healthier version. They’re so healthy that they could even just be a snack or a side dish instead of a dessert.
I used to make up a whole batch of these on the weekend, and then pack one in my lunch for work. I’d pull it out right around the 2:30pm crash, and it would be such a nice little treat to help me get through the rest of the day.