Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

chia seeds pre soakThe phrase “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia” no longer holds the same meaning.  From Chia Pets to Chia Seeds, the term chia has regained its popularity.

So what are chia seeds and where did they come from?
Chia seeds come from a desert plan, Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in southern Mexico.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
Whether you sprinkle ground or whole chia feeds on cereal, rice, yogurt, or vegetables they will add an abundance of nutrients.

Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they contain an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acid, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Chia seeds have:
5x the calcium of milk
2x the potassium of bananas
3x the iron of spinach
3x the antioxidants of blueberries!

Chia seeds packs more omega-3 fatty acids than a piece of salmon. Chia seeds also have more omega-3?s than flax- and, unlike flax, chia seeds do not have to be ground to be digested!

Chia seeds will absorb up to 12x their own weight, making you feel full longer.

One single serving of chia seeds contains 42% of your daily need for fiber. Meaning reduced cravings for sweets and junk foods because its high levels of soluble fiber allow for a measured release of unrefined carbs into the bloodstream. This allows for improved blood sugar management.

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to enjoy chia seeds is by making pudding. Because the seeds gel in liquid, they are a great way to make tasty pudding.

To satisfy a chocolate craving try this recipe… it makes for a great low calorie after dinner snack!

Chia Seed PuddingDark Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or skim, soy or rice)
1/2 cup chia seeds
3 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 packets of stevia
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey, or agave
In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except garnish)
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight
Garnish with fresh berries!

Chocolate Coconut Variation add:
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Chocolate Banana Variation add:
Mash in bananas and top with bananas and almonds!

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It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, honey and vanilla. Add the chia seeds and stir to combine.
2. Refrigerate 4 hours, stirring once halfway through.
3. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Make Ahead:
The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Prep Tip:
Add all the ingredients to a mason jar or sealable container. Shake up ingredients and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Serve in a bowl and garnish as desired.

Share the good news!

Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.  A tablespoon or two won’t change the flavor of your smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, salad or whatever you choose to add this superfood to.

If adding chia seeds to your smoothie I would recommend adding up to 2 tablespoons.  If you add too much chia seeds, it may make your smoothie gelatinous.  I would also recommend soaking the whole seeds for about 10-15 minutes just prior to blending.  The soaked seeds become gelatinous and will blend much easier.

Other reasons why I love chia seeds! 

Excellent Egg Substitute 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.

Gluten and Allergen Free – Chia seeds are free from all common allergens, including gluten and offer a vegan source of omega fatty acids along with easily digestible protein.

Supports Digestive Tract Function – As mentioned earlier, chia seeds are 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.

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Gina Hassick,
MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC

(908) 827-1482
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