I’d be willing to bet that if you are an avid reader of healthy living blogs, you’ve read about chia seeds over and over again. But hey, I could be wrong. If this is the first time you’ve heard of chia, then I am very proud to be the one to introduce it into your life.
You may not realize it, but you’ve probably known about chia seeds since you were a kid- and have even held them in your hands before! Yes- these magical little seeds are the same ones that you spread over a terra cotta animal sculpture to grow a chia pet back in the late 80s (I remember being so excited to get a chia tree for Christmas one year!). But don’t worry- consuming these seeds won’t cause a chia pet to grow in your stomach.
Have I lost you yet?
I remember hearing about chia seeds years ago from Dr. Oz when he was a recurring guest on Oprah’s show. Around this same time, my friend Sarah told me about them and convinced me to buy a bag when we were out shopping one day. I’m pretty sure that bag sat in my pantry collecting dust for months, as I had no idea what to do with it. It wasn’t until I started reading healthy living blogs that I came up with a few ideas. These are my favorite chia seeds (scroll down on the page for nutritional content). I order them from iherb.com. (If you order from there, enter the code QIR197 for $5 off your first order. Oh- and shipping on orders over $20 is free!)
The list of benefits of chia seems to go on and on, but here’s just a few highlights. Chia is:
-a good source of healthy Omega 3s (heart-healthy fats)
-a good source of fiber (and keep you fuller for longer)
- a good source of calcium
- helpful in keeping your blood sugar in check
I’ve seen chia seeds used in all different kinds of ways. I even had them in the form of chia pasta for dinner last night!
I served this with roasted vegetables, turkey sausage and a little cottage cheese- all mixed together.
This pasta caught my eye at Whole Foods last week- and it is really good.
But, my absolute favorite way to chia seeds is to make a chia “gel.”
The chia seeds absorb water pretty quickly, and the “gel” can start to take form within a few minutes. I like to make this gel overnight and have it waiting for me in the morning. This is just two tablespoons of chia seeds combined with about 1/2 cup of water. The seeds bulk up to 8x their original size- resulting in nearly 1 full cup of chia gel! This cup of gel contains 50 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.
What do I do with this gel? I use it to bulk things up! It has a pudding-like consistency, but pretty much no flavor. I like to mix it with peanut flour and a little almond milk for a quick “peanut butter pudding” or with mashed up berries to make jam. You could also combine the seeds with juice (instead of water) to make a fruity-flavored gel. If you’re turned off by the texture of the chia seeds (like I am with chia in kombucha-ick!), you can grind them into a powder using a coffee bean grinder. The powder will still bulk up when its combined with liquid.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, I have a major sweet tooth and almost always crave some type of dessert after dinner. I don’t like to have something super heavy, because the I go to bed feeling like there’s a brick on my stomach. I came up with the perfect, simple recipe to meet my needs: Cocoa Chia Pudding!
Cocoa Chia Pudding
1/3 c water
1/4 c 0% plain Greek yogurt
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I like this brand)
1 T chia seeds
1 packet stevia (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together well. Set in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
The entire recipe has 92 calories, 3.5 g. fat, 6,5 g. fiber and 10 g. protein.
It’s so easy to whip up and can be made hours ahead of time. This pudding really does taste rich and decadent- and definitely satisfies my sweet tooth!
LAST but not least- the winners of the NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway:
Please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can get your goodies to you!
Have a great Tuesday, everyone!
Are you a chia fan? How do you use it?