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Ch, Ch, Ch Chia! That’s the first thing that people think of when they hear the word chia. However, chia seeds are good for more than just growing “hair” on a ceramic animals!
I found out about chia seeds when I was looking into flax seeds. I didn’t like what I found out about flax seeds and was directed to chia seeds as a better alternative.
Chia seeds have so many great benefits! After learning all the benefits, I’m sure you’ll by dying to know how to use chia seeds in your meals!
What makes chia seeds so great?
One serving of chia seeds (which is 1 Tbs) contains:
- 5 grams of fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 80mg of Calcium – some say there is more calcium in chia seeds than milk. This is true but only if you match it weight for weight. Serving size it is not.
- 6% of Iron – which is more than the iron in 1 cup of spinach
- 3100mg of Omega 3 – which is more than 3 oz salmon contains
- More antioxidants than blueberries – this is measured gram per gram
- More protein, fiber, and calcium than flax seed
- Chia doesn’t need to be ground before using unlike flax see
- Chia seeds soak up to around 10 times its weight in water forming a sort of gel around each seed. Since it retains so much water, chia helps keep you hydrated and maintains your electrolyte balance.
- Since it forms a gel, chia slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. This means less or no sugar spikes. Which is good for anyone but particularly those with diabetes.
- Long and stable shelf life – about 2 years!
- Gluten free
Pretty amazing right?
How to Use Chia Seeds
There are hundreds of ways to use chia seeds but here are some of my all time favorite methods of incorporating chia seeds into my diet.
Sprinkle on just about anything.
Yogurt, oatmeal, popcorn, salads, smoothies, etc.
Make a chia gel
Use in smoothies, baked goods, salad dressings, as a pectin replacement in jam, or eaten as a pudding much like tapioca. To make the basic gel, simply add 4 TBS of chia seeds to 1 cup warm water. Stir in mixture to avoid clumping. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before using. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
As an egg substitute
Mix 1 TBS chia seeds in 3 TBS water and let sit for about 15 minutes, this replaces 1 egg. Black or white chia seeds can be used. However, if you do not want to notice the seeds then you should use white.
This is when you’ll really feel like you are just eating chia pets.
Note: In my research I found some discrepancies in nutritional facts. The nutritional facts I have listed are on the lower end of the spectrum. Other sources stated that chia seeds were much higher in nutrition than what I stated. I’m not sure why there is a difference but apparently there is. I decided to go by what is on the back of my bag of chia seeds at home.