The first thought that comes to mind when thinking about chia seeds may not be of actually eating them, but of your favorite chia pet character that you may have grown. However, chia seeds can actually be a healthful addition to your diet.
Chia seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico. It is originally believed to originate in Central America where it was a staple of the ancient Aztec diet. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseed). Chia seeds have gained attention lately due to some of the good nutrition and health components that they can provide. About 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of total fat with only 1 gram coming from saturated fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of fiber in addition to some calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor which makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. Most often, they are sprinkled on cereal, or added in sauces, vegetable, or rice dishes. You could also put them into smoothies, yogurt, drinks, or baked goods.
Try the recipe below from allrecipes.com to start incorporating chia seeds into your diet.
Quick Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie (makes 2 servings)
• ½ cup rolled oats
• 1 tsp chia seeds
• 14 frozen strawberries
• 6 ounces nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
• 1 banana, broken into chunks
• ½ cup almond milk
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
1. Blend oats and chia seeds together in a blender to a fine consistency. Add strawberries, yogurt, banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract; blend until smooth.
Nutrition Information: 253 calories, 3 g fat, 66 mg sodium, 423 mg potassium, 48 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 10 g protein