When you hear Chia, you may recall the Chia Pet jingle from infomercials years ago, and funny enough, this is actually the very same seed used to make the funky sprouted home décor. I’m here to fill you in on how these little seeds are even better when you eat them.
So what’s so great about Chia seeds?
First of all, they contain all nine amino acids our body needs, making them a complete protein source. If that wasn’t enough, they are also jam packed with fiber. Incorporating foods high in fiber into your daily meals can help to lower cholesterol levels, as well as aiding in the regulation of blood sugar to help provide sustained energy throughout the day. Chia’s high fiber content will also keep you feeling full because it takes the body longer to break down.
If you are still hesitant about trying these wonderful seeds, consider starting small. Just one ounce (a little under 2 tablespoons) of Chia seeds packs 11 grams of fiber, over 4 grams of protein per serving, and over fifteen percent of the daily recommendation for calcium, iron, and magnesium. That’s a lot of goodness packed into one tiny seed!
These little seeds are quite versatile and can be incorporated into sweet and savory dishes. You can use them to add a nice crunch to a salad, over yogurt, cereal, desserts and whatever else you would like to add a little crunch to. If crunchy isn’t your thing I have some good news for you too. A unique quality of Chia seeds is their ability to absorb up to nine times their weight in liquid. They take on a gelatinous quality that allows them to act as a thickener in a variety of foods like jams, smoothies, and popsicles. Chia is also the star of many faux ‘pudding’ recipes gaining popularity, in which a choice of milk (coconut, almond, etc), sweetener, and toppings are combined with Chia. The seeds absorb the liquid and become a healthier alternative to desserts and breakfast parfaits while maintaining the thick satisfying texture.
Below I have included a few simple recipes for Strawberry Chia Jam, a basic Chia ‘Pudding’, and a perfect Summer Popsicle where a small amount of Chia is used to thicken and improve texture. All these recipes are open to customization based on your tastes, more or less sweetener, using seasonal toppings, fruits, nuts, seeds, or even cocoa powder are all possible ways to make these recipes your own. Have fun with these little seeds!
Sunshine Ice Pops
- ½ C Orange Juice
- ½ C Coconut Milk
- 1 C Mango
- 2 tsp Chia Seeds
- Blend all ingredients. Let sit 15 minutes to thicken. Freeze.
Strawberry Chia Jam
- 1 C Strawberries
- 2 Tbs Applesauce
- 2 Tbs Chia Seeds
- Blend all ingredients. Chill at least 1 ½ hours. Enjoy.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 C Coconut Milk
- ½ C Chia Seeds
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¼ C (or less) maple syrup (or sweetener)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- If you do not wish to keep the seeds whole, blend the entire mixture, and then chill for a few hours or overnight. If you wish to leave the seeds whole you can blend all other ingredients and then add the seeds and mix to combine.