Chia Seeds: The secret nutritional bigwigs

  Jan 25, 2016  |  #Nutrition

Heyyy friends! How was your weekend? Did you play in the snow?

I actually snuck away to Savannah where I was safe from the snow, so sadly, no snow angel pictures to report! I did go on a yummy food tour though…

food tour

Food Tours are hands down my favorite way to explore a city, especially one with so many foodie options. We got to taste 5 dishes from 4 restaurants, PLUS a cupcake, and then we tasted salt and honey, which I can’t say I’ve done before, but I enjoyed it!

I’ve received a few questions about cha-chia seeds, so I figured I’d write a post about them and share why they’re the little powerful powerhouses that they are!

scoop of chia seeds

Nutritionally, these guys pack so much in for their small size that they may be one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Apparently, chia means “strength” in Mayan and Aztec cultures…so it all makes sense. I am grateful to these people for discovering such beauties.

They’re full of…

  • Omega 3’s (help raise HDL, our “good” cholesterol that scavenges cholesterol from our blood and returns it to the liver to be disposed)
  • A ton of antioxidants (more than blueberries)
  • Nearly 30% of your daily value of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, all of which play a role in bone production and development, and muscle contractions
  • High in zinc, iron, calcium, and B-vitamins. They offer nearly 18% of your daily recommendations for calcium! (Psss – if you’re dairy intolerant, these are a great substitution to help your bones!)
  • FIBER HEAVY  (10 grams in 1 ounce! That’s nearly half of what we need daily!)
  • They are vegan and gluten-free!
  • They enhance hydration! They can absorb up to 27x their weight in water

Let’s talk numbers:

Two tablespoons offer about 150 calories, 5 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs (predominantly fiber) and 10 grams of fiber.

Chia Seeds

With all the different diets out there, chia seeds are a common winner to fit in most, since they are unprocessed and a great whole-grain. So how do you incorporate these little guys into your daily diet? Let’s count thy ways..

They are so versatile – I sprinkle them on salads, oatmeal, yogurt, chocolate coconut milk chia pudding, sneak them in breads, muffins, smoothies, sweet potatoes, or you can even mix them with water to up your hydration, or create chia pudding!

breakfast oatmeal with chia

Chia seeds can also be a great option for vegans in substituting eggs, similar to a flax egg. You can mix 1 TBSP of chia seeds with 3 TBSP of water (or in larger amounts, 1/4 cup chia seeds to 1 cup liquid). Here are before and after photos of the chia seeds pre and post “gelling.”

You can see how these guys just swell up, hence maximizing your hydration. After waiting about an hour, I just added some pineapple and strawberries with a pinch of cinnamon. YUM!

The great thing is that chia pudding can be a great base for so many different toppings and flavors – dust off your creative sides and use it as a base to add sweet or savory.

I’m more of a sweet person, so I’ve been adding fruit, PB, chocolate chips and coconut chips to mine, and I’ve also started combining some chia pudding with overnight oats.

IMG_3941

Or, you can throw them in cookies, like I did..

..like these banana chia cookies


banana chia cookies

Or, perhaps you’re more of a bread person? Try this banana chia seed bread with blueberries. 

banana bread with chia seeds and frozen blueberries | Bucket List Tummy

Those are just some of many ideas.

If you like a crunch, how about these chia crackers. Or..amp up your chicken nuggets with these.  Or, some meal prep with these granola bars.

Man on man, when it gets HOT again? THESE. And this and this  for my sweet tooth! If you follow me on Pinterest (Bucket List Tummy), you’ll see I have a whole board devoted to chia seeds. That’s true love.

So, tell me:

What do you add chia seeds to? (Or what do you PLAN to add them to)? I think my next thing will be tossing them in my homemade hummus and just dipping some chips and veggies in!

 

20 responses to “Chia Seeds: The secret nutritional bigwigs

  1. I went through a phase of using chia seeds all the time… I don’t know what happened because they are so nutritious! I really love that they are a source of omega-3s, I struggle to get enough of those in.
    Thanks for sharing all the recipes… definitely help for motivation!

  2. Thanks for reminding me of how beneficial they are – I really love them but they have a way of falling off my radar intermittently. I’m feeling inspired to up my game!! I usually add a tablespoon to my overnight oats and love sprinkle them on pancakes for a little crunch. Love the looks of all of these recipes though πŸ™‚

  3. Chia seeds truly are nutritional powerhouses and, as you prove, can be used in so many ways. Unfortunately, I really don’t like chia pudding. I just can’t. I’ve tried. The consistency / texture… the whole “gel” thing… just can’t do it. But in baking – yes! I like the chewiness they offer in breads and muffins. So I will have my chia seeds yet! Thanks for all the great info lady.

  4. I used to ALWAYS put them into overnight oats, and then my bag expired and I never got more – I really need to though, so much good stuff!!

  5. I actually started using chia seeds when we got a BUNCH of packages for free. Then I didn’t use them for a while. I just used them in some energy bites though. I love that you can even use them for a vegan egg substitute. I love that you shared all their benefits. God made so many WONDROUS foods!

  6. I actually am not a huge chia or flax person–I get so much fiber, lol–and chia pudding honestly scares me! But I have had many snack bars with chia at the forefront, so it isn’t that I dislike it.
    Basically, I’m weird and stubborn πŸ˜€

  7. One great use of chia seeds is actually it’s ability to substitute butter out of recipes! I’ve had great success subbing chia gel for butter, and it worked great!! The fiber content of these little seeds is what always makes me want to eat them, they are crazy!!!!! I also love how chia seeds make any yogurt, oatmeal or smoothie just a little thicker!

  8. Love chia seeds so much. I add them to my oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, or if I make banana bread/muffins, I’ll sprinkle some in there too.

  9. I must thank you for sharing such useful information for a healthy life. I need to lose some pounds and I think that this can help me in achieving my goals.

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