What is it about pudding that is so delicious? The smooth, creamy, velvety texture? The way it jiggles a little? The fact that it is yet another way of enjoying chocolate?
Whatever the reason is, chocolate pudding tends to be a family favorite across all families. Most of us are used to the chocolate pudding found in the small square box or in those handy plastic containers found in the refrigerated section at the store. Sadly, those family favorites are loaded with yicky ingredients which we’ll take a look at in just a second.
Before that, I wanted to point out the sneaky marketing they are using on their packaging to make you think the ingredients are good: “No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial preservatives or sweeteners.” While both of these are good things, there are still many ingredients in the product itself that make you go “Humm…” and it’s really important to be aware of those.
OK, let’s check out the ingredients for Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Snacks (the kind found in the refrigerated section):
SKIM MILK, WATER, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, CONTAINS LESS THAN 1.5% OF HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT AND PALM KERNEL OILS), CORNSTARCH, SALT, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE (FOR SMOOTH TEXTURE), SODIUM ALGINATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D. (source)
…. Where do I start? Can you point out the questionable ingredients?
- Skim milk: Most likely from cows living in crowded conditions, pumped with antibiotics and hormones, and fed genetically modified feed which makes them sick.
- Sugar: Unless stated as “cane sugar,” when you see the word “sugar” it most likely comes from genetically modified sugar beet — read more about that here.
- Modified cornstarch: Corn has a high chance of being genetically modified.
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil: The actual process of hydrogenation takes a potentially healthy oil and turns the chemical makeup similar to that of plastic. Oils are not meant to forego extremely high heat processing and when they are subjected to such high heat, it makes the oil unhealthy for your body by turning them into trans fat.
- Cornstarch: See modified cornstarch above.
- Sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium alginate, calcium phospate: I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what these are. My gut tells me it’s not something I want in my food because I can’t pronounce it and can’t find it in my pantry.
- Natural and artificial flavor: Artificial anything is no good.
- Artificial color: Artificial color has been linked to all kinds of behavior disorders in children. It’s best to skip this ingredient whenever possible.
Take a deep breath. 🙂
The good news is, it’s incredibly easy to make your own homemade chocolate pudding with real ingredients. Instead of using hydrogenated oils to make the pudding thick, this homemade healthy chocolate pudding recipe uses pasture-raised beef gelatin from Vital Proteins. And no, I promise there is no beef taste in the pudding. Vital Proteins gelatin doesn’t give off a beefy flavor like some of the other ones I’ve tried.
Another reason I love Vital Proteins gelatin is because of how their beef are raised; this being a key component to making a healthy homemade chocolate pudding —
Our cattle graze on lush grasslands in Brazil and are not given hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. They eat their natural diet – grass, and receive plenty of open space and sunshine. We believe in providing our animals with an environment that nature intended, and the result is a high quality protein that is natural and pure. (source)
Gelatin has numerous health benefits but some of the most popular ones are:
- Promotes youthful skin, healthier hair, stronger nails
- Keeps bones healthy and strong (adding more gelatin in the diet when you’re recovering from a bone injury can help aid a quicker healing time)
- Supports joint health and helps loosen stiff joints (my FIL took gelatin for 2 weeks in his coffee and could open and close his hands, whereas he wasn’t able to do that before)
- Promotes relaxation and good sleep
Aside from gelatin being used in this recipe, wholesome ingredients like maple syrup, coconut milk, whole milk, and unrefined salt make this homemade chocolate pudding a guilt-free treat.
Well, guilt-free in my eyes… says the 7 month pregnant lady.
So move over Jell-O pudding snacks, hello homemade healthy chocolate pudding made with superfood gelatin!
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- 2½ tsp Vital Proteins beef gelatin
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 3½ Tbl cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp unrefined sea salt
- 1⅔ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, add in the gelatin and coconut milk. Whisk with a fork until there are no clumps; mixture will solidify a bit -- it's okay.
- In a small sauce pan, combine maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, and whole milk with a whisk. Turn the stove to medium low heat and whisk continuously until mixture heats up by bubbling around the edges (5-10 minutes).
- Using a sieve over the bowl of gelatin, pour the hot dairy mixture through the sieve into the bowl; whisk to combine ingredients.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Place the bowl uncovered in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Once the time is up, remove from the refrigerator, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the top of the pudding, and place back in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours so the pudding can set.
- When you're ready to eat it, whip the pudding with a hand mixer or stand mixer to get to a creamy, velvety texture. Using a manual whisk or wooden spoon may not be enough to get the pudding to the desired texture.
This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins. Thank you for allowing me to support my favorite brands and share them with you!