The popularity of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) in Western diets has soared over the last several years. The tiny, nutrition-packed “superseeds” are now a staple in many health-conscious households. Thanks to their small size, mild taste, and versatility, it’s easy to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are highly nutritious. They’re packed with fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various micronutrients. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein as it contains all essential amino acids for human nutrition at 2g of protein per tablespoon. Studies suggest that they have various health benefits, ranging from weight loss to a reduced risk of heart disease.
HOW TO USE CHIA SEEDS (14 WAYS)
- Chia water: One of the simplest ways to include chia seeds in your diet is to add them to water. To make chia water, soak 1/4 cup (40 grams) of chia seeds in 4 cups (1 litre) of water for 20–30 minutes. To give your drink some flavour, you can add chopped fruit or squeeze in a lemon, lime, or orange.
- Juice-soaked chia: Water isn’t the only liquid you can soak these seeds in. Add 1/4 cup (40 grams) of chia seeds to 4 cups (1 litre) of pure fruit juice and soak for 30 minutes to make a drink that’s full of fibre and minerals. This recipe gives you several servings of juice. Just make sure to keep your intake moderate, as fruit juice contains lots of sugar.
- Chia pudding (my favourite): You can make chia pudding by mixing 2 tbsp chia seeds with 1/2 cup of nut or coconut milk. Then add something sweet like mashed fruit (banana is my favourite) or 1 tsp honey. Add a pinch of salt and your favourite flavours like cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon etc. Let it soak for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight. Chia pudding makes a delicious dish that can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert. If you don’t like the seeds’ texture, try blending it to give it a smoother finish.
- Chia in smoothies: If you want to make your smoothie even more nutritious, consider adding chia seeds.
- In a stir-fry: You can also add chia seeds to savoury dishes like stir-fries. Just add a tablespoon of seeds and mix.
- Added to a salad: Chia seeds can be sprinkled on your salad to give it some texture and a healthy boost. Simply mix them in and add your favourite salad vegetables.
- In salad dressing: You can also add chia seeds to your salad dressing.
- In baked goods: You can also add chia seeds to you favourite bread, pancake, or muffin recipes.
- In home-made jam: Chia seeds can absorb 10 times their dry weight in water, which makes them a great substitute for pectin in jam. This is a great jam recipe.
- In soup or gravy: Chia seeds can be a great replacement for flour when thickening stews or gravies. Simply soak the seeds to form a gel and mix it in to add thickness.
- As an egg substitute: To replace 1 egg, soak 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chia seeds in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of water. Chia “eggs” can be used as egg replacement when baking.
- To make crackers: Adding chia seeds to your favourite seed cracker recipe is a good way to include them in your diet.
- As a thickener for homemade burgers and meatballs: Use chia seeds to replace eggs or breadcrumbs to bind and thicken meatballs and burgers. Use 2 tablespoons of seeds per 500g of meat.
- In dairy free ice cream: You can blend and freeze chia puddings to make a smooth ice cream or freeze them on sticks for a dairy free alternative.
Suitable for all phases of the Art of Undieting.