Alright, chia seeds are everywhere these days, and it seems as though they are being sprinkled on everything and anything simply because they sound exotic and having these little seeds featured in a food pic make the whole thing seem more #fitfood worthy. So now the real question is: other than getting me more likes on my smoothie bowl insta pic, what do they actually do and how can I use them?
First of all, what are chia seeds even?!
Chia is actually a plant that grows pretty purple flowers similar to lavender in the mint family (nope I had no idea either), however it mostly cultivated for it’s seed.
Alright so it’s a plant with pretty flowers and has some seeds, but what’s all the hype?
Chia seeds are considered a superfood because of their high nutrient content. In one serving (28 grams, about 2 tbsp) chia seeds boast 4 grams of protein, 9 of fat and 12 of carbohydrate while providing 11 grams of fibre, a significant percentage of your daily recommends quantity of calcium and magnesium and being the richest plant based source of omega-3.
So basically it’s a magical seed sent from the gods?
Weeelll it may seem like it when we say that chia seeds are one of the food with highest nutritional content per calorie, but of course you have consume quite a lot of these seeds to really reap the benefits, and they do not come cheap.
So what can I really do with these seeds?
1. Egg substitute: The only thing I thought would be difficult when going vegan and cutting eggs out of my diet would be for baking. I soon found out that chia seeds and flax seeds make perfect egg replacements! Chia seeds soak up liquid and become gelatinous giving an egg-like consistency. To make a “chia egg” you simply have to put 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of water and leave the mixture in the fridge for at least half an hour.
2. Chia Pudding: Another popular way to eat chia seeds is to make them into pudding. One can soak chia seeds in absolutely anything and they will soak up the liquid and take up the flavour! I love soaking them in almond milk with some almond extract and blueberries. Simply put 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 3/4 cup of any liquid and let it soak overnight or a few hours in the fridge.
3. Add in your smoothie: These little seeds are perfect to add a little extra nutritious kick to any smoothie mix. They don’t add any flavour but add nutrients as well as help thicken it up.
4. Make some raw jam: Jam is delicious and amazing and if I could I would live off pb&j sandwiches forever, but store bought jam is always full of sugar, and homemade ones are void of nutrients (since the fruits are cooked). Chia seeds are the perfect thing to use as a natural gelatine that can be combined with blended raw fruit to make a raw jam.