Written by Sophia Marchese.
Don’t let their size fool you. Chia seeds are packed full of critical nutrients essential to thrive.
These powerful little seeds have eight out of the nine essential fatty acids (EFAs) required for survival.
Notice we say ESSENTIAL, meaning a diet deficient of these eight amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) will have negative health effects, such as improper metabolic functioning. Since we don’t naturally produce EFAs, we must source them from our food.
Chia seeds are not just an excellent source for EFAs, they also are a extremely energizing.
In fact, ancient warriors (dating back to 3500B.C.) praised chia seeds for their “supernatural powers.” Aztec warriors would travel with seeds in small pouches tied to their waists, popping a few in their mouth throughout journey or battle to provide energy and endurance.
That being said, the pros of chia have long been established. But what about a more recent example of their powerful abilities?
The Tarahumara tribe, a group of Indigenous people living in present day Chihuahua, Mexico, are renowned for their long-distance running abilities.
And I’m talking like HUNDREDS of miles at a time.
Because of their widely dispersed settlements, the Tarahumara traditionally run up to 200 miles in just one session so that they can stay connected through inter-village communication. These runners drink a liquid concoction of water, CHIA SEEDS and citrus before embarking on a trek.
After drinking this chia mixture, they’ve got the energy and stamina to run, run, and run some more!
But let’s be honest - while it may provide dynamic benefits and energy, chia water doesn’t sound like the most imaginative or delicious option. So how the heck do we get these magical little warrior seeds into our everyday lives?
Chia seeds are surprisingly easy to incorporate into your diet because of their all around versatility. If eaten dry, chia seeds resemble the crunch and mouth feel of a poppy seed. If eaten after being soaked in a liquid, they are somewhat jelled and resemble the tapioca pearls that can be found in the bottom of your favorite bubble tea.
Here are five ideas on how to CH-CH-CH-CHANGE UP your routine with CHIA:
1. Chia pudding
Just one ounce (or about 2 tbsp.) of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, making them a stronger source of calcium gram for gram than the majority of dairy products. So let’s ditch puddings of the past and hop on the healthy, delicious and dairy-free chia pudding bandwagon. I mean, who doesn’t want pudding for breakfast, am I right?
2. egg replacement
Chia seeds are considered one of mother nature's most prominent sources of fiber as it occupies 40 percent of their weight. Their fiber is highly soluble, allowing the seeds to take in nearly 12 times their weight in water. As a result, they become like a gel, expanding in the stomach and promoting fullness. In their gelled state, chia seeds are a wonderful binding substitute for recipes that call for eggs, such as batters and baked goods.
3. Energy bars
As mentioned, chia seeds promote high levels of energy. On-the-go snacks like energy bars or bites are great for sneaking chia into your day. We like using this template to make different flavored creations that can be kept in the fridge and snacked on all week long. Made from whole food ingredients and the best part is that you don’t even have to turn on the oven!
4. Smoothie bowls
Who doesn’t love a good smoothie bowl? These refreshing meals are a simple and quick way to check off a ton of foods on the Daily Dozen list. Pack that blender full of fruits, greens, plant protein, nut milk, frozen ‘nanas and whatever else you so please. Blend it up, spread it into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chia seeds. Voilà! You’ve got a cold ‘n creamy treat so good it could be mistaken for dessert if it weren’t so dang healthy. The chia seeds will add extra quality protein to your smoothie bowl (4g per ounce).
5. Baked goods
Chia “eggs” are a great binder for baked goods, but they are also a fabulous ingredient to sprinkle in while whipping up a batch of muffins or a stack of fluffy pancakes. Not only will these little superfood seeds add nutrient depth to your favorite baked goods, they also add texture and a nice crunch here and there.
These are just FIVE of the seemingly endless possibilities that chia seeds provide.
So... What are you waiting for?!
If you’ve got plans to use chia seeds for something on this list, share a photo of your dish and tag #HappySeedEats! We would love to see where your inspiration led you!