What Are Chia Seeds?
Grown and originating in South America, chia seeds are seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is closely related to the mint family. According to Authority Nutrition, the health benefits of chia seeds have been known to the natives in the region for centuries as an important source of dietary enhancer of energy.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that are unprocessed and considered food in the whole-grain category. They have a mild nutty flavor and are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Other chia seed nutritional benefits include having twice the amount of protein than many other grain products and quadruple the proportion of calcium than milk. Chia seeds are also rich in potassium, fiber, and other antioxidants.
Where To Buy Chia Seeds
The many benefits of chia seeds have popularized the product on the health-food market. As such, they are readily available at many retailers. With so many choices out there for chia seeds, you may be wondering where to buy chia seeds that are from a legitimate source. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you are buying the best choice for chia seed products.
1. Read Your Labels
Purchasing organically grown chia seeds will give you a better yield on chia seed nutrition values. Shop from a reputable company that will openly disclose their farming methods and choose chemical-free chia seeds. You want to look for chia seed production enterprises that are in countries that have high standards and regulations on quality and safety. There is more confidence for consumption in chia seeds that have been produced in a clean and organic manner. You can trust that you are getting the optimal amount of chia seed nutrition you paid for.
2. Buy Bulk
Buying bulk will always be cheaper. However, unless your whole family consumes chia seeds on a regular basis, be aware that chia seeds do not have an exceptionally long shelf life. They lose their nutritional value if they are not consumed before their expiration date.
Chia Seed Nutritional Benefits
So what are chia seeds good for? According to Medical News Today via extracted data from the USDA, one ounce (28 grams) or about two tablespoons worth of chia seeds have the following approximate nutritional benefits:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 8 grams of fat
- 13 grams of carbohydrates
Eating one ounce of chia seeds each day would also provide you with the following recommended dietary allowances (RDA):
Chia Seed Calories
According to Livestrong.com, one ounce (or two tablespoons) of chia seeds are roughly equal to 140 calories. A little over half (57 percent) of those calories come from omega fatty acids; 14 percent or 9 calories are protein based. The last 20 calories are carbohydrates that are digestible carbohydrates. With the 11 grams of fiber that our body expels because they are not digestible calories, a chia seed is technically only 100 calories per ounce.
How Many Chia Seeds A Day?
The Mayans and Aztecs had long known the benefits of chia seeds, using this superfood as a part of their daily diets. Doctors Health Press recommends:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons per day for adults
- 1.5 tablespoons per day for teens and children ages 10 to 18
- No more than 1 tablespoon per day for children under 10
How To Eat Chia Seeds
So you’ve learned why chia seeds are healthy and have bought your first bag — now what? There are a variety of ways to eat chia seeds in your everyday meals. More popular methods include making chia seed pudding, making overnight oats with chia seeds, and putting chia seeds in our baked goods.
Here is a list of how to eat chia seeds to maximize their amazing benefits.
1. Chia Seeds In Water Or Juice (Or Even Coffee)
Mixing chia seeds with your morning juice or coffee is by far the easiest and quickest way to incorporate chia seeds into your daily diet.
First, soak chia seeds in warm water and stir. Use approximately one cup of water for every three tablespoons of chia seeds. Mama Natural then recommends letting the mixture sit overnight in your fridge. In the morning, you can add any kinds of juices or liquids to your chia seed gel for a delicious chia seed drink.
2. Chia Seed Smoothie
Whether it’s a chia seed smoothie or a chia seed smoothie bowl, we love these colorful concoctions that brighten up any Monday morning. You can either grind the chia seeds or add them whole. Chia seed smoothies are so easy and can be combined with any fruit combinations as Around My Family Table did. Check them out for a good selection of chia seed smoothie recipes as a part of your morning routine.
3. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding recipes are very popular right now as they can either be served for a healthy breakfast or dessert. After being soaked overnight, chia seed puddings have the same consistency as tapioca puddings and are delicious with any kind of milk and fruit toppings. Wellness Mama gives a really great introductory tutorial on the different variations you can start with in creating your ultimate chia seed pudding.
4. Chia Seed Fruit Jams
If you are looking for a natural alternative in how to eat chia seeds, Mommypotamus gives some pretty simple instructions in making your own chia seed fruit preserve to go on your morning toast. You will be able to add a lot more protein and fiber into your children’s diets without them even knowing because the chia seeds taste and feel just like strawberry seeds in their mouths!
5. Overnight Oats With Chia Seeds
If you are looking for a complete guide in the best overnight oats with chia seed recipes, look no further than Wholefully’s eight classic variations to have your meal prepping as easy and fun as you can imagine.
6. Chia Seed Topping
From yogurt to stir-fry, chia seeds are great as toppings for nearly any of your meals anytime of the day. You can substitute recipes that call for sesame seeds with chia seeds; you can also use chia seeds as a substitute for granola toppings and meals that need a little bit of texture.
7. Chia Seed Baked Goods
The easiest way to add chia seeds so that they are unnoticeable to a picky toddler’s eyes is to use them as a part of baked goods. Chia seeds can be used as egg substitutes in many vegan and flourless recipes. One Green Planet has some great tips on how to bake with chia seeds.
8. Chia Seed Fruit Squeezes
If you are constantly on the go but would still love the benefits of chia seeds in your diet, you can find prepackaged fruit squeezes that your kids will love. Mamma Chia has a yummy selection of different flavors and you can also find them on Amazon.
9. Chia Seed Pizza Crust
Chia seeds can be a great alternative to flour used in pizza crusts. As Healthy Holistic Living’s tutorial suggests, chia seed pizza crusts are super simple to make and healthy to eat with any toppings you choose.
10. Chia Seed Salad Dressing
You can mix chia seeds as an alternative if you love lemon poppy seed salad dressings. You can follow an easy recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod.
11. Chia Seed Meatballs
You can make some very mean and lean meatballs using chia seeds instead of breadcrumbs or panko. We really love the recipe by Meal Makeover Moms for some chi-chi-chi-chia meatballs.
Make sure you try some of these suggestions, and don’t forget to SHARE your own favorite chia seed recipes!