Chia seeds may be tiny, but they pack a huge nutritional punch that feature an array of super nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, heart-healthy fiber, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, chia seeds can be sprinkled on cereal and salads for a satisfying crunch or blended with liquid, in which they bind to fill you up and prevent between meal cravings.
Here are seven versatile and surprising ways to enjoy chia seeds…
1. Salad Topper
As mentioned, chia seeds can be absorbed in liquid for a pudding-like texture, or sprinkled atop dishes to lend a satisfying crunch to cereal, fruit salad, yogurt, and fresh veggie salads.
A mere 1-teaspoon of chia seeds weighs in at under 60-calories, plus 3-grams of protein and 5-grams of fiber. They key to the crunch is to sprinkle on your chia seeds right before mowing down so the seeds don’t absorb liquid and become rubbery and gelatinous in texture.
2. Bake Into Gluten Free Breads
If you’ve opted for a gluten free lifestyle or have celiac disease, you’re going to love our gluten free bread suggestion, featuring chia seeds! Many glutens enjoy a crunchy-worthy slice of seed-filled bread smeared with a bit of natural nut butter (i.e., almond or peanut butter).
A nutritional, gluten-free loaf packed with the hearty munch of chia seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds can also be used as a stellar sandwich bread.
3. Meaty Breading
There’s nothing like the hearty crunch of a piece of fish or a chicken finger. Well, even if you opt for a gluten free lifestyle, you can enjoy meat in a delicious savory breading made with chia seeds.
Chia seeds can be used to coat fish filets, chicken strips, chicken wings, and even veggies (i.e., like peppers or cauliflower florets). Simply combine 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds with a few tablespoons of low fat mayo (or egg white), 3/4-cup of cornmeal, and season with garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Chia Seed Pudding
Believe it or not, tiny chia seeds have super absorbent powers. That means if you soak them overnight (or even for a few hours) in healthy liquid (i.e., cow’s milk, almond milk, yogurt) they will swell up and give your dish a tapioca-like texture.
To ensure your chia pudding isn’t jam-packed with refined sugars and empty calories, use a natural sweetener (i.e., honey, carob, vanilla, or real maple syrup), sprinkle with fresh berries and raw nuts, and let the chia seeds work their absorbant magic for a pudding that’s rich in protein and fiber.
5. Jam with Chia
We’ve already mentioned that super chia has the power of binding liquids and other ingredients together in a pudding-like consistency. If you’re seeking a healthier jam, chia may be your key ingredient.
Thanks to chia seeds, you can mix your favorite fresh or frozen fruits (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, apricot) with a bit of sweetener, and they’ll bind away…no need for pectin! Just sprinkle chia seeds into the saucepan with your cooked fruit and sweetener until the mixture naturally thickens into a jam.
6. Sub for Other Seeds in Baking
If you don’t have any flax seeds, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds handy for your favorite cookie, granola, or muffin recipe, try swapping seeds for chia!
Chia seeds not only pack a nutritional punch with omega 3’s, protein, and fiber, these tiny black seeds are also extremely versatile, meaning they blend seamlessly and take on the flavors of baked goods while adding a super satisfying crunch!
7. Chia Smoothie
Sometimes a smoothie, no matter how big, doesn’t quite quench a hearty appetite in the mornings. I know my green smoothies made with a banana, a handful of spinach, Greek yogurt (or almond milk), and fresh pineapple often don’t keep my tummy satisfied until lunch.
Try adding a teaspoon of chia seeds (remember, less is more) and let the chia absorb the liquids in your smoothie and turn it into a hearty breakfast. For natural sweeteners opt for a tough of honey or maple syrup, or a splash 100-percent orange juice.