Written by Angela Stanford, MBA, RD, RYT of Vital Nutrition & Wellness
I love chia for so many reasons! I recommend it to my clients because these simple seeds are a superfood packed full of nutritional health benefits, and I personally enjoy baking with chia as I am constantly in my kitchen adapting recipes to become allergy-free and vegan friendly.
1. Excellent Egg Substitute – I work with many clients who have allergies to eggs or have chosen vegan lifestyle, and they still want to eat baked goods. When mixed with water, chia seeds become an excellent binding agent that can be used in place of eggs when baking. For one egg, mix 3 tbsp water with 1 tbsp ground chia. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. For a large egg, use 4 tbsp water.
2. Vegan and Allergy Friendly – Chia seeds are free from all common allergens, including gluten and offer a vegan source of omega fatty acids along with easily digestible protein.
3. Supports Digestive Tract Function – Chia is packed with soluble fiber along with vitamins and minerals that aid in normal digestive tract function. This fiber helps move food along the digestive tract and aides in the absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins.
4. High in Antioxidants – Chia contains high levels of antioxidants. ORAC1 testing found chia higher even than flax seeds or blueberries!
5. Good Source of Calcium – Chia seeds are rich in calcium, containing more calcium by weight than whole milk. Plus, they contain the trace minerals magnesium and boron, which aid in the absorption of calcium and its’ utilization by the body.
6. Versatile – Chia seeds have a mild, nut-like flavor, are easily digested, do not have to be ground like flaxseeds in order to reap their omega-3 benefits. Sprinkle the seeds on salads, stir-fries and oatmeal, soak in nut, rice or soy milks and enjoy as beverages and puddings, or combine with water and use in baked goods in place of eggs. They are so east to use and store. Keep them in the refrigerator and grind as needed. If you buy them ground, use within 3-4 months.
Recipes using chia seeds
The chia seed was eaten by Aztecs for strength and was a main staple food along with corn and beans. Here are a few of my favorite chia seed recipes simple enough that kids can make and enjoy them too!
CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING
Put all ingredients in a mason jar or other glass container with a secure lid and shake thoroughly. Store in refrigerator overnight. Top with chopped nuts and your choice of chopped/ sliced fruit. Sliced strawberries and sliced almonds are my favorite! Triple the recipe to share with friends and family!
5 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
splash of agave
*note: If you use sweetened or vanilla flavored milk, you can cut back on the agave.
Adapted from a recipe by Jillian Bobowicz, Yoga Instructor at Bloom Retreat
VANILLA CHIA DELIGHT
Mix chia seeds and soymilk in a glass. Cover and pop it into the refrigerator for an hour. Remove from fridge and drink right from the glass. The chia soaks up the soymilk, so this drink reminds me of tapioca pudding. Also try stirring in a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg for an equally delicious drink!
2 tbsp. chia seeds
4 oz vanilla soymilk
KIWI BERRY PUNCH
I always keep several bags of frozen berries in my freezer. Berries are natural sweet immunity boosters, low-calorie, and full of antioxidants. Berry consumption has been linked to diabetes and cancer prevention. Full Kiwi Berry Punch recipe here.
2 cups spinach
2 cups water
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
1 cup mixed berries (frozen)
2 tbsp. chia seeds
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible. These recipes are Vegan and Gluten-free.
Where can you buy chia seeds?
I am often asked, “Where do you find chia seeds?” I personally buy mine from Whole Foods, but you can find them at any local health food store, Whole Foods, Sprouts and even Trader Joes. You can also buy chia seeds on Amazon.
This entry was originally written for SimpleGreenSmoothies.com. Visit them for more great ideas on how to use chia in your daily smoothie.
Angela offers nutrition counseling, teaches workshops combining yoga and mindful eating, and helps people start edible backyard and patio gardens. To learn more about Angela, visit Vital Nutrition & Wellness.