When you hear the word “chia,” you probably think of sprouts growing out of a decorative planter, but in addition to making great fur for pretend pets, chia seeds also serve as a healthful, edible addition to many delicious dishes.
Chia seeds are petite and packed with nutritional benefits. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, chia seeds are “rich in polyunsaturated fat, fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.”
Adding chia seeds into your diet may help reduce your risk of developing some preventable chronic diseases. Vegetarians and vegans can also catch up on their protein needs by consuming chia seeds.
Lacking a recognizable flavor, chia seeds are easily integrated into many foods that you can make in your apartment or dorm room. A pack of chia seeds can be purchased at many grocery stores, and although they may seem expensive initially, remember that one package contains enough chia seeds to last you a long time.
Pinterest has a plethora of ideas for how you can enjoy chia seeds, reap their health benefits and make that initial cost worthwhile. Below are some basic recipes on how to add the seeds to everyday eating.
Yogurt and smoothies
One of the easiest ways to start eating chia seeds is by adding them into common dairy-based foods for texture. Stir chia seeds and your berry of choice into a cup of traditional or Greek yogurt.
Chia seeds are also perfect in homemade smoothies. Once your other ingredients are blended, add chia seeds last, and blend the mixture once more for a delicious and slurp-able smoothie.
Scoop a spoonful of chia seeds onto a salad of leafy greens, vegetables and dried fruit for a quick chia seed fix. Make sure to top with a light salad dressing so that the seeds have something to stick to.
Coconut chia pudding
Whisk together chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla extract, honey and/or maple syrup. Shake and let sit for a few hours so the pudding thickens.
Top with fresh or thawed frozen fruit to add more flavor.
Hummus and guacamole
A handful of chia seeds can be stirred into any smooth dip without much of a difference in taste.
Buy a container of hummus from the store, or make simple guacamole with avocado, lime juice and garlic salt or powder, and stir in chia seeds to maximize your health benefits.
Jams and jellies
Making homemade jam from fresh fruit is expensive, but you can still find ways to add the seeds to your fruity spreads. If you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, include a layer of chia seeds to give yourself a healthier addition.
Vegans can replace chia seeds for eggs to gain extra protein. Because chia seeds thicken into a gel when soaked in liquid, they can also act as a binder in many recipes.
For the equivalent of one egg, grind up three tablespoons of chia seeds, mix into one tablespoon of water and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Homemade protein bars
Get ready for a busy but healthy week by preparing a pan of homemade protein bars. Chia seeds, quinoa, flax seeds and rolled oats can easily be paired with your favorite nuts and sweets.
Last but not least, add a dash of chia seeds to your oatmeal routine. For a softer, thicker consistency, cook the chia seeds with the oats. Otherwise, just sprinkle chia seeds on top and stir into the bowl.