Commercial yogurts that include fruit on the bottom or stirred into the yogurt are often loaded with added sugars, the exact thing most of us should be avoiding. For example, Yoplait’s original cherry yogurt contains 12 grams of added sugars. That’s a quarter of the daily recommended intake for a 2,000 calorie diet packed into one little yogurt container.
When it comes to yogurt, labels matter. Sticking with the same company, Yoplait’s cherry Greek yogurt has only 2 grams of added sugar and a lot more protein, making it a better choice. However, you can avoid this problem and save money by purchasing large containers of plain yogurt and swirling in your own cherry flavoring all year round. Adding chia to your cherries packs an even greater nutritional punch.
Chia seeds have been touted as a superfood for a while now, and with good reason. They contain a high concentration of alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids. Sixty percent of the oil in chia seeds is from these omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with many health benefits including brain health. Brain health is always on my mind given that my father died from Alzheimer’s and my mother developed a different form of dementia in her 80s.
In animal and human studies, omega-3 fatty acids have shown a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health (lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms and blood pressure, preventing blood clots, decreasing inflammation). The fiber in chia seeds is mainly soluble fiber and mucilage, the substance responsible for the gluey texture of moistened chia seeds. These fibers may help to lower LDL cholesterol and slow down digestion, which can prevent blood sugar spikes after eating a meal and promote a feeling of fullness.Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
As an added bonus, chia seeds are packed with high quality plant protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
This homemade cherry topping is super easy to make and takes very little time. It’s good with more than just yogurt. Spread it on toast. Throw it into a smoothy. Spoon it on a muffin. Use your imagination.
- Empty a 1 pound bag (500g) of frozen black cherries into a heavy bottomed frying pan such a Le Creuset or a heavy stainless steel pot or pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or more if you like) to the pan along with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional), stir and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the fruit is heated through and the mixture begins to thicken.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit.
- Transfer to a food processor and process until nearly smooth.
- Return the fruit to the pan.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened. About 4-5 minutes.
- Cool and store in a container in the fridge. It will keep for a week.