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.

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ChiaSeeds

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!

 

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Other Recipes:

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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

HempSeedsGroundFlax

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

xo

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