Chia Seeds 101

by laury on April 12, 2012 · 62 comments

“So, I bought these chia seed things you always talk about…now what do I do with them???”

This is a questions I often come across. In the blog world and from my clients, family and friends.




Chia is the nutritious seed of the plant Salvia hispanica, which is part of the mint family {they do not taste minty though, they have more of a “nutty” flavor}. This mighty seed is the ancient superfood of the Aztecs and Inca empires who consumed chia seeds for their vital nourishment. As a kid, I remember my mom spreading the chia seeds on the head of a planter that looked like…well….a head! Who knew that those seeds would end up being a staple in my diet someday?

Why eat them?

  • Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, calcium, protein, fiber, and vitamins including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc. I love them, but I know there have been mixed reviews by many. My take is you just have to find a way to add them into your diet that works for you, and that you will like. Even my 11 month old daughter loves them!
  • Aids in weight loss!  Chia seed’s nutritional value will result in a healthier body, and therefore more energy. They are also known to control your appetite! And they expand, to make your food more filling!
  • Research shows they slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. Making them a beneficial food for diabetics! {I have even heard of veterinarians prescribing chia seeds for cats with diabetes!}
  • The omega-3 fatty acid content of chia seeds is even greater than that of flax seeds! Omega 3′s can provide relief from the symptoms of conditions as diverse as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, hypertension and joint pain.
  • Chia seeds are a muscle and tissue builder and an energizer of endurance with extensive hydration properties. {great for athletes…you can make a “gel” that’s much better than the processed stuff on the market!}
  • They contain 9% of the daily value for protein; 13% fat (57% of which is ALA); and 42% dietary fiber {based on a daily intake of 2000 calories}.
  • It binds to toxins in your intestines and helps to pass them through!

What do you do with them?

Chia has so many uses. The best way is to consume them raw, but not everyone has a palate for chia! Here are a few ways I like to incorporate them, and I will add some links at the bottom to some friends recipes! This way, there’s no excuse to hate them…unless you have tried them multiple ways. Personally, I love them every way!

  • You can sprinkle them on salads, oatmeal, in yogurt, sandwiches
  • Blend them into a smoothie, or mix them through nut butter
  • Bake with them, or use them as an egg replacer {1 Tablespoon chia seeds mixed in 3 Tablespoons warm water, let sit for 10-15 minutes}!
  • Grind them up and use them as a flour
  • Make homemade granola or protein bars/bites
  • toast them with some cinnamon and nuts to make a pie crust or a sugar-free cobbler base
  • Grind them, add to water and let it gel up to use in nut burgers, veggie burgers, sliders, etc
  • Skincare—use it as a natural exfoliate!!!

You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and natural sugar stevia to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as “chia fresca.”

*To add to liquid to make “puddings” it’s basically 1 part chia seeds to 9 parts water. I make Ella “chia pudding” all the time with rice or hemp seed milk, cinnamon and berries!

Out of all of the ways you can incorporate them into your diet, I have to say my favorite and most frequent way is in a morning “muesli.” I used to add 1-2 Tablespoons to my oatmeal, and let it fluff up {you can do this the night before to raw oatmeal or that morning to cooked oats} but I have lowered my portion of oats over the past few months {trying to eat less grains} and now I  I use them, along with  hemp seeds, in a protein packed breakfast cereal!



Other Recipes:


Chocolate Chia Energy Bites {this one requires dental floss, but I do love them!}

Morning Muesli

Berry Overnight Oats

Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

Very Berry Millet Pancakes {I give this one 5 stars…Ella too!}

Treats From My Friends:

I asked in the comments last post, but didn’t get too many recipe responses…so I used the power of social media to ask my friends for their favorite recipes! Not all of these are super low in sugar, so anyone that’s trying to avoid it {like me} can definitely ask the original poster how much stevia to sub, if possible.

If you have any to add please link up in the comments section for my readers!

Basic Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Fudge Balls {worth re-posting}

No-Bake Chocolate PB Oatmeal Balls

Chocolate Salty Balls {mmmmm….salty balls Winking smile}

Cherry Protein Pop-Ems’

Chewy Oat Squares

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola

Healthy Breakfast Bars

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins {I’m not a meat eater, but some of you out there are!}

Healthy Peanut Butter “Twix” Bars {these look amazing!}

Lemon Ricotta Chia Muffins

Protein Chia-Seed Pudding

Vegan Gluten-Free Granola Bars {I think I need to try these ASAP!}

Banana Bread Muffins

Dark Chocolate Sunflower Cookies

Green Dip Rice Crackers


Next time I will cover hemp and flax seed with more recipes!!!

I hope I answered all the questions…

let me know your favorite way to use chia!?

You May Also Like:

Coconut Part I

Coconut Part II

Man vs. Sugar

You vs. Sugar


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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Interesting… I have about a third of a container of chia left, and my verdict is still unknown. If I eat chia without adequate soaking, my stomach doesn’t like that. Also, I have found it hasn’t worked for me in smoothies because they tend to clump, and I can’t stand “chia clumps”… must be a texture thing.

However, I have made “chia pudding” with mixed results. With pumpkin and almond milk, it’s actually quite good… not so much with chocolate or if I add too much chia (anything over 1 TBSP per cup).

I should definitely start eating it again, though…. because I really do need to shift my eating toward the healthier side.


2 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm

That’s very interesting! It never bothered my stomach. IO give it to Ella too (but a very small amount, like 1 teaspoon) and she does great with it! In fact, I think it’s amazing for her digestive system!


3 Stacey April 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I have tried numerous times to eat flax seeds (ground) and have a terrible reaction every time. It constipates me (sorry if TMI) and causes me to bloat up for at least a week with terrible stomach pains. So weird because I eat SO much fiber everyday. Anyway, I’m very hesitant to try chia seeds because of this; any thoughts on it? I’m always up for trying new things, but not if they are going to cause severe pain!


4 Jen April 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I find chia seeds to be smaller and you can eat the seeds whole, I have crohns and they don’t bug me, if your not used to alot of fiber that would cause the bowl issues, try having a small amont and up the amont slowly so your body can adjust to the increase in fiber.


5 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

That’s really interesting, Stacey! I never heard of flax giving that reaction before? I guess it does not agree with you!

Maybe if you’re already eating SO much fiber, it was too much? If you do try chia, maybe cut back on the fiber that day and just start with a small amount, like 1/2 Tablespoon or less??? I find the chia may be a little more gentle on your GI tract after they become gelatinous –but that certainly doesn’t mean you won’t react bad to them?

I can totally understand your hesitation! Let me know if you do try them…but I would talk to a doctor maybe and ask if it’s something you should avoid.


6 Courtney March 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I have very healthy eating habits and have found that every time I eat chia, flax, or hemp protein my stomach tries to rip itself out of my body. And over time the reaction has become worse with less exposure!


7 Stefanie @TheNewHealthy April 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I am loving all the wonderful recipes your shared in this post! Great idea! 🙂


8 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Thanks, Stef! DO you have any to add?


9 Jen April 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I finally tryed chia been wanting to but just never took the leap, so far I’ve had them in my green smoothie, yogurt and in oatmeal. I also tryed almond milk( don’t like almonds and was afraid it was gonna have an almond taste) I love it and have replaced my skim milk which for me is good, as I have crohns and most people with bowel issues can’t do diary.


10 Jen April 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I forgot to add that twix recipe looks amazing, will have to try it along with the chia pudding.


11 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Yes, you would love the chia pudding…I make that along with my chia-hemp cereal all the time! So delicious!!!

I’m sorry to hear about your Crohn’s. I have a client who suffers from it.


12 Laura April 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

What a great compilation of recipes… so many I can’t wait to try! Thanks for the nutrient overview, too. I didn’t realize chia seeds are so high in protein!


13 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

You’re welcome!


14 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean April 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

great post! thanks for including me in the roundup!


15 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Thanks for the recipe!


16 The Delicate Place April 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm

i finished a couple bags of chia seeds and haven’t gone back lol. while i appreciate the fact that they offer some nutrient value, i just don’t ‘love them’ and i’d rather just eat normal fruits/veggies/nuts/seeds in their place. i like flaxseed better maybe for the nutty flavor and less goop-y texture?


17 laury April 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Really? You know I got off my chia kick for a bit, but now I am all about it again. I prefer it after it soaks rather than just plain raw too. Hemp is my favorite though!!!


18 Pure2raw twins April 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

love chia!! thanks for the shout out girl, and so happy you are loving our fudge balls 😉


19 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I love them in overnight oats!
Also, I just received several packages of chia goodness breakfast mix thanks to a giveaway I won that I’m quite intrigued to try! It’s chia seeds mixed with spices, dried fruit, and other flavors. You just add milk or water for an “instant” chia pudding!


20 laury April 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

that sounds great!


21 Mikayla April 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Hey! I just came across your blog and absolutely love it. I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m 16 and have a lot of the same nutrition beliefs as you. I have a health blog that’s actually quite similar to yours, if you want to check it out it’s! Have you ever tried the Momma Chia or synergy drinks with chia seeds in them? They are amazing 🙂 I actually recently came across them and my mom, sister, and I are all obsessed with them!


22 laury April 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

Thanks for stopping by, Mikayla! I have seen the Synergy drinks but have not yet tried them! I wasn’t sure how I would like drinking a thick chia drink..but I should give it a whirl!


23 Lisa April 13, 2012 at 12:08 am

Great post! I love chia seeds, I use them at least once a day! I’m looking forward to trying out your chia-hemp cereal, I just discovered I love hemp, and want to try out another breakfast routine during my week! I love chias for their nutrients and how they absorb liquid so well, but they don’t taste like anything. Which I guess is a good think because they are just a blank canvas and you can add anything to them!


24 laury April 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

Yes, they are a great canvas!!!! I feel they are mildly nutty if at all anything!


25 jill April 13, 2012 at 8:21 am

Hi Laury! Thanks for the post, great information! I have chia seeds every morning in my overnight oats.

You mentioned you were trying to how has what you eat during lunch changed? Would love to hear of some different grain free options, are you still eating fruits & legumes? (I know you hate answering these types of questions, so no pressure, just curious.)


26 laury April 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hi Jill!

No worries….I am not “grain-free” by any means, just experimenting with lowering them to see how I feel. I was thinking of doing another “what I eat” post based on Ella turning a year and the weather changing. I knew oatmeal would be the hardest so what I did was slowly lower it over time.

When I was pregnant and the first 6 months of nursing I ate about 1/2 cup of oats, 1 T of seeds, protein, coconut oil, fruit, etc. Then after Ella turned 6 months I lowered the oats to 1/3 cup for a while then 1/4 cup and upped the seeds (when I was eating more oats I was doing 1-2T of seeds, as you see now I do 5 T). Now it’s just seeds, protein, coconut oil and fruit

To answer your question, I am still eating the English muffin a few days a week, when I feel I need something with more “substance” for lunch. As the weather changes I feel I can go away from it more. A few days I will have a huge massaged kale salad and I will add garbanzo beans and another protein like tuna or whole eggs, or tempeh. Dinner I never have grains so that’s so issue. So far so good, but like i said I am not going “grain-free” since when we go out to eat I may have something, or if I make like millet pancakes or something occasionally I will have some too!!


27 Sorya September 27, 2013 at 7:05 am

Hi dear,
Where you get millet?


28 Lisa@HealthyDiaries April 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

I love chia seeds! I go through phases with them and either have them all the time, or go a month without eating them. Lately I’ve been having them all the time with our protein muffin recipes.

Thanks for sharing this Chia-Hemp Cereal recipe. I don’t eat oatmeal anymore (I’ve been limiting my grains as well) and this would be something great to try when I want something different for breakfast. Love that is has protein too cause I need that for my growing baby!

I just need more hemp seeds because I’ve been out for a while!


29 Heidi April 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

Such a wonderful, informative post! You’ve really opened my eyes to new ways of using chia seeds other than sprinkling them on salads and oatmeal. Thanks!


30 Maria@healthydiaries April 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I knew chia seeds were good for me, but I learned exactly why in your post! I have tried the drink Mama Chia, but they use agava in it so I can’t wait to try making a chia fresca! I keep saying I want to make my own chia beverage and now I have a recipe to use!

I’ve barely been eating any grains lately and breakfast can be the hardest meal to avoid grains, so I can’t wait to try your Chia-Hemp cereal too 🙂

Thanks for all the great ideas!


31 laury April 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I tried the cereal with another type of protein, and it didn’t work as well as the Vega. I am going to update the post!


32 Tiffany April 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Thanks for the chia schooling! I still have half a bag left and while I love putting them in smoothies would like to use them in other things as well.


33 Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit April 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Great post! I love chia seeds but I am always looking for new ways to use them. My favorite is in oatmeal.


34 Wendy April 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Thanks for this post!! I have IBS so I”m curious to see how chia seeds would work for me. I had no idea they were this nutritious. Is the basic chia pudding the same kind you give Ella? I’d like to make some for my toddler. Nowwww, ahem, can you do a post on hemp?? 🙂


35 laury April 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Yes, almost… I give her about 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of hemp seeds, 3 T of hemp milk or rice milk (give or take), cinnamon and top it with organic berries. She LOVES it!!!!

Hemp is next on my list!


36 Lisa April 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

So you covered most of the ways I would use chia (yay!)….the only other thing I can think of is to sprinkle some in water (or other drink) and drink it to ease acid reflux symptoms! It really works!

Chia is so great—I love it!


37 laury April 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm

That’s awesome, Lisa! Way better than pepcid! Thanks for the tip!


38 Shan April 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Laury!
Loving your posts as always and had a question for you about your nutritional plans for Ella as she gets closer to reaching her first birthday! My daughter will be turning one next week and I am preparing to ween her from breast feeding as I will also be returning to work at the same time (we get a year of maternity leave here in Canada). I know that you do not intend on feeding Ella any cow’s milk and I am wondering how you are going to ensure she meets her needs for calcium, fat, etc. I am torn on whether or not to introduce cow’s milk to my daughter and would love to hear your thoughts :).


39 laury April 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Thanks, Shan!

First off…wow…1 year! That’s amazing. I am super jealous haha….I went back to work (part time) at 6 weeks! I can’t complain though, I work for myself, am not working as many hours as before…and I do love my job.

Okay…about the cows milk. I definitely do not intend on giving Ella cows milk. I do plan on nursing for at least 18 months, or at least start weaning sometime after a year (I know now it’s going to be so hard, I never thought it would be!) Many mothers do fortified rice milk, I plan to use that/ fortified hemp milk or coconut (if I can find a sugar-free coconut milk beverage). As far as the fat, I use a lot of fat in Ella’s diet, like I put coconut oil on her veggies, she eats avocado, I give her chia, hemp, etc. As far as calcium (and Vitamin D for absorption) I do give her leafy greens…I plan to start sharing green juice with her very soon, she gets her vitamin D drops, etc.

If you are not comfortable with cows and concerned about your little angel not getting the proper nutrients definitely talk to a dietician that shares your views and can help you. There are lots of babies with dairy and soy allergies who have to supplement with fortified rice milk, getting healthy fats from food (I have even heard of moms adding healthy oils to rice milk which you can ask about). I am a firm believer of getting all of the other stuff from real food…not milk from another species meant for baby cows 🙂


40 Trainer Kjirsten April 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I love this post on Chia seeds! I think eveyone needs to be eating them! I usually just eat them on plain Greek yogurt of mix them with flaxseeds and water and drink them for a quick snack just to make sure I get them in for the day!


41 Shan April 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time Laury! I definitely have some more research to do!


42 Kristin May 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi Laury! I wanted to thank you for your wonderful blog which a friend pointed me to a few weeks ago. It came at the perfect time as I’ve been looking for new food and exercise ideas (I have a 6 month old and I’m trying to get back in shape!) I loved your posts about chia seeds and hemp seeds..which leads me to my question. I’m struggling with how much of these, plus additional “fats” like avocados, flax seed, etc to eat in my diet. While I’m not too concerned about losing all the baby weight right away, I am trying to slowly get it off. As I’m incorporating some of these awesome foods, I’m confused on what is considered a fat, versus a protein, etc. I don’t expect specific guidance, but do you have some general tips on how you evaluate how many healthy fats, nut butters, avocados, etc you have daily?


43 laury May 10, 2012 at 12:09 am

Hi Kristin! Thank you for the lovely comment!!! And for reading!!!

It may sound crazy, but I eat a diet pretty high in healthy fats. What works for me is, I usually eat a serving of chia seeds, a half serving of hemp seeds, and a Tablespoon of coconut oil in my breakfast alone. The rest of the day I will usually have 1/4-1/2 avocado, more coconut oil in a treat, and whatever oil I have with dinner. I don’t do much nut butter…only as a “treat” or in healthy desserts. That’s pretty much all of the fat I have in a day.

SO I guess, as a guideline…I can’t really “advise you” but to tell you what I do, I usually go over (sometimes well over)the 40% mark of my caloric intake with healthy fats. I always have the staples…a serving of chia, hemp and coconut oil. Then, I will mix and match the others..but I honestly focus more on watching my sugar intake that I don’t even really focus on how much fat i am getting. I feel great, and have seen awesome results since upping my healthy fats!! (I don’t eat any fatty meats, so if you do you would want to take that into consideration when choosing how much you eat). Best advice is to just find what works with your body, see how you feel, or hire a professional to advise you specifically!


44 Kristin Gordley May 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Thanks so much!! This is so helpful 🙂


45 Abby June 16, 2012 at 6:45 am

Do you know how chia seeds you can feed a cat on a daily basis?


46 laury June 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm


I am not 100%b sure of that. I would check with your vet! I actually plan to start giving my cat chia more often but will probably start out in small doses to see how he feels


47 Christina August 16, 2012 at 12:13 am

I am totally addicted to Chia and yogurt!
Every week I make a small picture of chia and basil seed gel (basil seeds also puff up… less gel, more chewy ball like and they are really great for you so I figured I would just mix them.) and every morning i put about 1 cup of chia/basil gel (for 2 people) in a smoothie with protein powder (whey/casein), hemp protein, and some sort of “green” powder. Also, at night i mix about 1/2 / 1/2 plain fat free greek yogurt and chia/basil gel with a little grade b maple syrup and a pinch of bee pollen (keeps allergies away). I notice when i eat this at night my skin is so soft, clear and has moisture that you just dont get with any moisturizer. AND my stomach is totally flat. Its like whatever I ate throughout the day was totally metabolized and all the salts and sugars that usually keep me bloated are flushed out. Good stuff! My 2 favorite ways to consume chia! Check out basil seeds! You can add them to a sweet tea or drink/treat… think boba 🙂


48 laury August 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

that sounds really amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! I need to try the chia/basil gel! Genius!


49 ~Joshua May 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Yay, I was fine taking chia for a few weeks and then I started getting stomach cramps something awful. I think my appendix was having a negative reaction to them as well. Tests at the doctor take so long though that by the time they got around to doing them I was pretty much fine. Happened to me three times before I concluded it was the chia. Ate a little bit by itself for breakfast and that’s when I knew.


50 Karen March 4, 2014 at 6:13 am

Hi Laury,

Just wanna to know what if Chia seeds mixed with cow milk for making a pudding. Will it be bad taste or what?
I had bought a pack of chia seed a month ago and haven’t open it yet. I do not know what I do with Chia Seed. I love to use cow milk instead of Almond milk or coconut milk. Thanks


51 laury March 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

karen, I guess you will have to try! I am sure if you add cinnamon and some berries or something it will be fine! I recommend using WHOLE grass-fed milk if not already. MUCH healthier and will probably be better!


52 April 20, 2014 at 4:32 am

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