One food I have come to love recently are chia seeds. These little tasteless seeds can hold 9 times their weight in water and can turn into a gel used in baked goods. The experts recommend you split the butter or oil in half and use the chia gel formed for the other half (this means chia seeds soaked in water). These seeds are also packed full of omega 3’s. Don’t like fish or don’t think you eat enough? Top these seeds in pudding, yogurt, or juice to help add omega 3’s to your diet. These seeds also contain calcium, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. And since they do not have a taste, they absorb the taste of whatever you put them in. For example, if you put them in fruit punch crystal light, that is what they will taste like and it is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them! From a nutritional standpoint, you shouldn’t over consume these though because they do contain 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals for every 2 tablespoons. Moderation is key. The fiber is also a great reason to include these into your diet, but remember, don’t over consume them. As I said in a previous post, most Americans do not get the amount of fiber needed per day in their diets. In some studies, chia seeds have been found to assist with weight loss because they help you feel full, but the weight loss concept has not been proven. I enjoy them topped in my Greek yogurt and also added to my crystal light drink for their added vitamins and minerals. There are many recipes found on the internet recently that include these seeds. Try some and see what you think! But remember, too much of a good thing does not make it a better thing, so these chia seeds need to be eaten in moderation as well as any other food.
Here are 2 recipes to try:
1)Lemon Chia Pudding
Developed by Alex Caspero, MA, RD
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple sugar*
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1 cup nondairy milk, such as coconut or almond milk
1⁄4 cup chia seeds
1. Blend together the olive oil, maple sugar, maple syrup, lemon zest and juice, and almond milk. Add chia seeds, whisk together and let sit for 15 minutes until gelled.
*Regular granulated sugar may be substituted for maple sugar.
2) Blueberry Chia Jam
Developed by Kathryn Scarlata, RDN
1 1⁄4 cup frozen wild blueberries
1 1⁄2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
1. In small saucepan over medium heat, add blueberries and maple syrup. Stir and cook the blueberry mixture for 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash blueberries.
2. Next, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and continue to cook and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes or until blueberry mixture resembles a jam consistency. Remove from heat and blend in vanilla extract. Refrigerate and use within a week.
*Fresh, minced ginger or lemon juice also work well as flavoring agents in this jam.