One of the biggest advantages of adding chia seeds to your daily diet is how versatile they are! Whether you simply add a handful of seeds to your morning cereal, cook with hydrated chia seeds (commonly referred to as “chia gel”) or use chia flour in place of nutritionally-poor white flour, there are tons of ways to incorporate this ancient seed into your meals. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
Raw Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are virtually flavor-less, which means they can be added to nearly any dish in their raw state without affecting the flavor of your original meal. Consider adding chia seeds to any of the following items for a quick and powerful energy boost:
- Cereal, granola or muesli
- Nut- and fruit-based trail mix
- Salads and salad dressings
- Grits, polenta and other grain dishes
When chia seeds are mixed with water (typically in a ratio of between 6:1 and 9:1 parts water to chia seeds), the seeds expand and produce a gelatinous coating that has a number of different applications in cooking processes. Try any of the following options, and be sure to experiment with your water to seed ratios to find the ideal balance for your needs:
- Mix chia gel with yogurt, milk, ice and frozen fruit to create a healthy and delicious breakfast smoothie. In fact, try adding chia gel to any smoothie recipe you use frequently, from green smoothies to avocado smoothies and more!
- Use chia gel to replace fats and oils when baking. If you’re trying to stay away from butter, oil and other common cooking fats, use chia gel to replace up to half of the fat called for in any baking recipe. This will help you to cut calories without affecting the flavor of your baked goods!
- Add lemon, lime and sugar to your chia gel and drink it as a “chia fresca” – a refreshing beverage made popular by the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. If the texture of the seeds bothers you initially, mix your chia fresca in a blender with ice and extra water to homogenize the seeds.
Chia Baked Goods
If the thought of crunching on chia seeds or drinking down a chia beverage sounds too “out there” and “earthy crunchy” for you – never fear! It’s still possible to incorporate these powerful health aids into your diet in a way that’s nearly unnoticeable.
One option is to incorporate whole chia seeds into breads, rolls and savory muffins in the same way that you would any other whole grains. Alternatively – if you prefer less of a crunch in your bread products – you can purchase chia seed flour or grind your own seeds into a powder and replace part of the traditional white flour in pancakes, waffles, pizza crusts and more for a healthy kick.
But however you prefer your chia seeds, keep in mind that these recipes are only a starting point. Experiment integrating this healthy ingredient into any other dish you create and you’ll be amazed by the burst of energy it gives you!
More recipes for you to try:
- Soy Glazed Salmon and Chia Seeds
- Whole Wheat Chia Seed Pancakes
- Yoghurt Bowl
- Banana & Chia Loaf
- Cucumber Chia Salad
- Chia Seed Chocolate Smoothie