Chia seeds are slightly nutty-tasting little seeds that can be consumed raw, soaked to form a pudding, or used as a crunchy topping on salads or cereal. They are packed with the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and may support brain, heart, and joint health. They are rich in fiber, which promotes good digestive health and keeps you feeling full longer. There are many delicious ways to add these tasty seeds to your daily menu.
12. Add to Smoothies
Chia seeds can be added to your favorite smoothie recipes either raw or soaked. Chia seeds can absorb more than nine times their weight in water. Therefore, soaking them before consuming them delivers hydration to your body as well as fiber and nutrients. This means you won’t become dehydrated as quickly. Furthermore, soaking chia seeds releases the enzyme inhibitors that prevent the absorption of chia seed nutrients in your body. To soak chia seeds, mix about two tablespoons of chia seeds for every cup of water in a mason jar and store in your refrigerator overnight.
11. Enjoyed as Chia Pudding
To make delicious chia puddings, Chocolate Covered Katie offers a simple base recipe that can be tweaked to make five different flavor options. The basic recipe requires your favorite milk, chia seeds, pure vanilla extract, sweetener, and salt. The addition of berries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, cocoa powder, or coconut can make this healthy dish taste like a decadent dessert. Katie also suggests that those who don’t like the texture of chia pudding made from whole seeds run the ingredients through a blender before refrigerating overnight. This will result in a smoother pudding.
10. Add to a Hydrating Beverage
Add chia seeds to your water bottle for a refreshing beverage that supplies your body with the fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids your body craves. Soak 3 tablespoons of the seeds in 2 cups of water in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. Add a spritz of lemon juice for flavor and a boost of vitamin C. Add fruit juice if you crave the flavor of expensive chia beverages found in the refrigerator case at the supermarket.
9. Grind and Bake into Recipes
Chia seeds can be ground in your blender, food processor, or coffee grinder and enjoyed in pancakes, waffles, muffins, or breads. Allrecipes offers a recipe for Easy Banana Chia Blueberry Pancakes. This recipe requires chia seeds, blueberries, a banana, two eggs, coconut oil, spices, cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoon of flour. These pancakes can be whipped up in 20 minutes and enjoyed with real maple syrup or honey.
8. Bake into Granola
Homemade granola provides heart-healthy whole grains, the sweetness of dried fruits, and the protein and omega-3 fatty acids of nuts. By making your granola at home, you can avoid the problems associated with processed granola found on grocery store shelves. The addition of chia seeds to granola provides your body with an extra boost of energy, protein, and fiber. Combine chia seeds with whole oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees until golden brown.Related: 10 Foods You Shouldn’t Eat for Breakfast and What to Eat Instead
7. As a Nutritious Topping
To add some crunch to salads, sprinkle some chia seeds on them right before eating. In addition to protein and fiber, chia seeds contain magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Their slightly nutty flavor is a great accompaniment to leafy greens and chopped veggies. Chia seeds can also be ground and mixed with bread crumbs to form a crunchy coating for chicken or fish.
6. Mix into Yogurt or Oatmeal
For an extra boost of energy, stir chia seeds into your oatmeal or yogurt along with fresh fruit and nuts. Maryanne of The Little Epicurean makes a delicious No Cook Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal. To make this recipe, you will need old fashioned rolled oats, chia seeds, your favorite milk, dried coconut, and salt. Store this mixture in your refrigerator overnight and sprinkle on your favorite toppings the next morning for a healthy, delicious breakfast.
5. As an Egg Alternative
For a vegan alternative to eggs, grind 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and mix with 3 tablespoons of water. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes. This can be used in place of an egg as a binder in cookies, breads, muffins, cakes, waffles, and more. Check out Detoxinista for a mouth-watering recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Temptations that includes the chia seed egg substitute.Related: 12 Delightful Health Benefits of Oatmeal
4. In Chia Jam
Make your own antioxidant-packed chia jam by combining 2 cups of mashed berries, ¼ cup of chia seeds, and a touch of pure maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until the jam thickens. Enjoy on whole-wheat toast, multi-grain crackers, or stirred into oatmeal or yogurt. Chia jam can also be spread on pancakes, waffles, or biscuits.
3. In Energy Bars
To enjoy a delicious energy boost on the go, look for packaged energy bars containing chia seeds at your local market. Better yet, make a batch of your own chia seed energy bars at home. The Minimalist Baker has a recipe for Super Seedy Granola Bars that can be whipped up in less than half an hour. These bars contain rolled oats, nuts, dates, seeds, nut butter, and maple syrup. Give your oven a break and mix up Allrecipe’s No Cook Energy Balls in just minutes. These delicious bites require only nut butter, chia and flax seeds, oats, chocolate chips, honey, and vanilla.Related: 7 Nutrient Rich Seeds You Should Eat
2. To Thicken Gravy or Stews
The chia seed’s ability to absorb water makes it a great thickening agent for gravies, soups, or stews. Mix ground chia seeds into your cheese sauce when making homemade macaroni and cheese. If you enjoy making your own hot sauce, add ground chia seeds as a thickener. This prevents pureed hot peppers and spices from sinking to the bottom of the sauce. Chia seeds also work as thickening agents in hamburgers or meatballs in place of eggs or bread crumbs.
1. In Homemade Salad Dressing
The pre-packaged and highly processed salad dressing on grocery store shelves seem convenient. However, it really doesn’t take much time to stir up a healthier version at home. Mix up chia seeds with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper to make a citrusy salad dressing that packs a punch of protein.Related: 12 Delightful Reasons to Eat More Chia Seeds