Are Chia Seeds Healthy? Yes, chia seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses that are so easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
In just 100 grams (or eight tablespoons) of chia seeds, there are 16.5 grams of protein and 34.4 grams of fiber, according to the central USDA FoodData database. They are known for being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and for containing minerals vital for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Chia seeds come from a plant belonging to the mint family called Salvia hispanica. It originates from Central America, where chia seeds are said to have been a staple of the Aztec diet. In the southwestern United States, a plant relative called golden chia (Salvia columbariae) was used by the Native Americans of the region.
Another benefit of chia seeds is the fact that they are tasteless and easy to incorporate into most recipes. Here are 25 versatile ways to consume chia seeds.
1. Chia water
Perhaps the easiest way to consume chia seeds is to add them to water. Soak ¼ cup of chia seeds in four cups of water for about 20 minutes. The chia seeds will expand in the water, creating slightly thick but nutritious water that you can add some citrus for flavor.
2. Chia juice
If you prefer citrus-based drinks, you can also soak chia seeds in a variety of fruit juices. Add ¼ cup of chia seeds to four cups of your favorite fruit juice and let sit for 20 minutes. Depending on the juice you choose, your drink may contain added sugars.
3. Chia seed smoothie
You can include chia seeds in any smoothie, whether you prefer green goddess smoothies or strawberry banana smoothies. Soak chia seeds in a little water or milk to form a gel before adding them to smoothies.
4. Fresh chia seed toppings
Chia seeds are also a great addition to casseroles, salads, or oatmeal. You can garnish dishes with whole fresh seeds or grind them.
5. Chia pudding
One of the popular and famous desserts is chia pudding. You can eat it for breakfast or as a dessert.
Start making chia pudding using the same recipe as for chia seed water, but add more seeds until you reach your desired thickness. Let the mixture soak in for 40 minutes or more.
Many people prefer to use milk and add cocoa, vanilla, and other flavors. You can also blend the mixture for a smoother consistency.
6. Chia grains
Swap regular cereal for chia cereal, made by soaking chia seeds overnight in milk or a milk replacer. Instead, you can use mashed bananas or applesauce. Mix it with your regular cereal, or eat the chia mix the same way you would a cereal, including nuts, fruits, or spices.
7. Chia Truffles
Make chia truffles as a quick snack by pairing them with oats, cocoa and dates. You can also include other grains, nuts, and fruits in the mix.
8. Added to stir-fry
Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your favorite stir-fry, like this Chia Seed Cabbage Stew.
9. Sprinkle salad
Sprinkle chia seeds on just about any salad for extra health and texture. Mix them during salad dressing or before serving.
10. Salad dressing
Dress salad dressing with chia seeds. Since many commercial salad dressings contain added sugar, consider making your own salad dressing and adding chia seeds to it.
11. Baked in bread
Include chia seeds in your bread recipes, from banana to buckwheat.
12. Breading with chia seeds
Use ground chia seeds mixed with breadcrumbs to coat fish, meat, or vegetables. Also, only ground chia seeds can be used as a breading.
13. Chia Seed Cakes
Boost the nutritional value of your cake recipe by adding chia seeds to your cake mix.
14. Chia Seed Grains
Soaked chia seeds can be too sticky, but you can change the texture by mixing them with other grains. Include them in breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert recipes that use grains. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to one cup of your favorite grain.
15. Chia Seed Breakfast Bars
Some commercial breakfast bars may contain as much sugar as a candy bar. When making your own, you can cut down on sugar and improve your nutritional profile by adding chia seeds.
16. Protein bars with chia seeds
Similarly, commercial protein bars can be high in sugar. Consider making your own chia seed protein bars at home to boost the nutritional value and avoid the sugar drop.
17. Chia Seed Pancakes
Add a delicious and nutritious texture to your pancakes by adding chunks of chia seeds to the batter.
18. Chia Seed Jam
Pectin is slightly bitter, so jam makers usually add sugar to compensate. To reduce the amount of sugar in your jam, replace the pectin with chia seeds, as they can absorb up to ten times their dry weight in water.
19. Chia Seed Cookies
Chia seeds increase the nutritional value of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal.
20. Thickened sauce or soup
Tired of using flour to thicken your soup or sauce? To be honest, if you don’t choose the right temperature and quantity, you run the risk of getting random lumps of flour that will ruin a great dish.
21. Egg substitute for tying and baking
Are your dietary needs preventing you from cooking with eggs? You can use chia seeds as an egg substitute to replace eggs in baked goods, and you can use them as a binder. To make one “chia egg”, soak a tablespoon of chia seeds in three tablespoons of water.
22. Chia seed dip
As a versatile ingredient, you can also add chia seeds to a dip. Make your own sauce or add a homemade sauce to store-bought sauce and add a nutritious touch with chia seeds.
23. Chia seed muffins
You can eat muffins as a delicious treat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add chia seeds to both sweet and savory muffins.
24. Chia seed yogurt
Chia seeds add texture to yogurt when added whole, or to avoid “crunchiness”, use ground chia seeds.
25. Chia seed ice cream
Similarly, you can add ground or whole chia seeds to any ice cream flavor before serving.