Chia seeds pack a powerful nutrition punch.
These little gluten and grain-free gems dish-up protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants (plus a host of vitamins and minerals) all in a teeny-tiny package.
Plus, unlike flaxseeds, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits.
Here, are 7 surprising yet simple ways to use chia seeds:
1. As an egg replacement in baked goods
Grind 1 tablespoon of chia seeds into a meal with a blender, spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Once ground, add 3 tablespoons of water to the chia meal, in a small bowl. Let the meal and water sit for about 5 minutes, until the texture turns goopy, similar to a raw egg yolk. Use the “egg” immediately in your baked good recipe. This recipe serves as a replacement for 1 egg.
2. As a yogurt topper
Instead of granola, top your yogurt with this deliciously nutty seed. You’ll be gaining more health benefits with this one simple switch.
3. As a smoothie enhancer
Add a tablespoon of chia to your usual AM smoothie for a thicker texture. Bonus –it ’ll be more filling to boot. Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their own weight. Plus, they’ve got 11 grams of fiber per two tablespoons – almost half the recommended daily amount of fiber in a single serving.
4. As a thickener for soups or gravies
Simply add one or two tablespoons of chia and watch your recipe thicken, healthfully.
5. As a pudding
Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or milk and let sit overnight in the fridge. The next morning, you’ll have a delicious and nutritious, ready-to-eat breakfast. Feel free to add berries, nuts, seeds, or any other topping that calls to you. My favorite is 1 cup of unsweetened chocolate almond milk + 2 tablespoons of chia + 1 cup of berries + 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds. I’ll mix it all together and let it sit overnight and enjoy for a couple mornings.
6. As a gel
Mix 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of hemp, almond, or coconut milk and let sit for about 15 minutes. You can use this as an endurance sports fuel or simply as an emergency, no-time breakfast—since it has everything you need—protein, carbs, and fat … plus some.
7. As an oatmeal addition
Add a sprinkling of chia seeds to your next oatmeal concoction for a nuttier flavor and even more staying power. Try this combo: oats + blueberries + chia seeds + a touch of maple syrup.
How do you like to use chia??
Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach with a Masters in Nutrition. Specializing in coaching, weight loss, and behavior change, Corinne has helped hundreds of women develop a healthy positive relationship with food, their body, and themselves. She helps women do this by showing them how to create a healthy lifestyle (they love) using a holistic approach. She believes lasting change starts from the inside out. Visit her at www.CorinneDobbas.com or say, “Hi,” on facebook here.
photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry
photo credit: Barb Dunn