It’s no secret that NYC can be expensive. That’s especially true if you are not in the habit of cooking and eating at home! More than most other U.S. cities, the culture here revolves around eating out with your friends, exploring what is new and trendy. Potlucks and dinner parties are fewer and further between, since many of us just can’t seat a decent number of people in our apartments. Even meals that don’t solicit any type of occasion are more likely to come from a deli or fast casual restaurant than the stove. It’s just what New Yorkers do.
I am clearly an NYC-transplant because I am the polar opposite -- I eat almost all of my meals at home each week. It makes sense considering I love to cook, and it makes it easier to avoid grains and dairy. It also saves me lots of money!
Occasionally, I find myself unable to eat at home. As a dancer and fitness instructor, I’ll have some days in my week that are totally calm with just one audition and a class to teach. Other days, I wake up at 4 AM and am out and about until 9 or 10 PM! When the hustle gets real, I have a plan to find the nutrition I need at a relatively low cost. One of my favorite ways to save money on fast (and healthy) food in NYC is an app called Servy. No one is compensating me in any way for this plug, I just really love the app! I have earned over $100 by giving my opinion about restaurants via short surveys (less than 5 minutes), and donated 34 meals. Everyone wins!
Ideally, I’ll pack some snacks and mini meals for those long days where I can’t skip home to eat. One of the biggest challenges of doing this is that refrigeration is rarely an option! I suppose I could buy a lunchbox cooler, but I really don’t need one more thing to lug around the subway with me. That’s where my newest creation comes in: Chocolate Collagen Chia Pudding.
I am in love with this recipe for so many reasons, bulleted below.
It’s nutrient-dense. The chia seeds are packed with omega-3’s, fiber, and antioxidants. Collagen is incredible for your skin, joints, bones, and gut, and contains protein.
It is easy to make. It takes about 5 minutes to assemble and blend the ingredients. That’s it! I don’t measure the ingredients either. It doesn’t need to be perfect or create a ton of dirty dishes. You can make it the night before and have it ready to go the next day, but if you didn’t prepare as well as you should, it’s totally possible to make during even the most hectic of mornings.
I typically have the main ingredients on hand. I can’t live without chia seeds, flax seeds, cocoa powder, nut butter, and honey.
This dish doesn’t need refrigerated!!! It can be hard to find protein-rich foods that can travel with me all day long, and Chocolate Collagen Chia Pudding has been my favorite solution to date.
Apologies for the romance novel about Chocolate Collagen Chia Pudding. Here is the recipe!
Chocolate Collagen Chia Pudding
Healthy, delicious, and portable, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect snack or mini-meal. Blending the chia seeds in a high-speed blender ensures an extremely thick pudding with a uniform texture throughout.
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup coconut milk
1 scoop collagen
1 tablespoon nut butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon water
Optional toppings: chopped strawberries, nut butter, coconut flakes
Combine chia seeds, coconut milk, nut butter, cocoa powder, honey, flax seeds, and water in a high-speed blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds (you’re done when it becomes less like a liquid and more like a paste). Scoop into mason jar or portable container, add any toppings, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 generous serving.