Chia Seed Snacks
Remember when the ch-ch-ch-chia pet was all the rage? No? Well long before the popular chia seed super-food hit the healthy diet scene, this 30-second commercial (circa 1990) was the first time many people heard of chia seeds. Today chia seed snacks and chia seed recipes are everywhere.
Keep reading to learn more about chia seed nutritional facts, which diets embrace chia seeds, the health benefits of this tiny little miracle seed and how you can make or buy delicious, nutritious, chia seed snacks.
What is a Chia Seed?
Chia seeds are small black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant. A staple in the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations, chia seeds were known to provide energy. In fact, the word chia means “strength” in the Mayan language.
Chia Seed Nutritional Facts
We used a handy little app on eatthismuch.com to calculate the nutritional facts about this powerhouse seed. A 2-tablespoon serving of dried chia seeds packs quite the nutritional punch. While they are not as substantial a source of many vitamins, they are rich in many of the key minerals needed for good health.
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Total Calories - 116.6
Total Fat 7.4g
Saturated fat – 7.4g
Monounsaturated fat .8g
Polyunsaturated fat 5.7g
Trans fat 0 grams
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) 4.3g
Total Omega 3 – 4.3g
Total Omega 6 – 1.4g
Net carbs 1.9g
Fiber 8.3g (34%)
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A IU 13IU
Vitamin B12 0mg
Vitamin C 0.4mg
Vitamin E 0.1mg
Calcium 151.4mg (16%)
Iron 1.9mg (24%)
Magnesium 80.4mg (23%)
Phosphorus 206.4mg (21%)
Manganese 0.7mg (33%)
Selenium 13.2mg (19%)
Niacin 2.1mg (11%)
Compared to other foods, the humble little chia seed provides a stunning amount of nutrition for so few calories. And because they have very little flavor, they are easy to sneak into your diet. Here is how they compare to a few common, healthy foods:
- 5x protein of kidney beans
- 2x iron of spinach
- 6x Omega 3s than wild salmon
Chia Seed-Friendly Diets
The versatile chia seed tops the list of ingredients for a wide variety of popular diets:
If you are on the popular Keto diet and trying to get more healthy fats into your daily routine, chia seeds are a great solution. Add them to a smoothie packed with other healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables for a great way to start your day.
Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
A plant-based whole food, chia seeds are a great way to add the protein to your Vegetarian or Vegan Lifestyle. In fact, chia seeds are the only plant that is a complete protein (contains the full chain of amino acids are bodies need to thrive). So if you are looking for a perfect protein source, add chia seeds to your grocery list for sure.
Even though chia seeds are low in calories and high in great for you fats, WeightWatchers gives this super food 3 points for 1 tablespoon. So, you may want to cut your serving size down to 1 teaspoon and login in just .5 point.
If you have Celiac disease or some other type of intolerance to gluten, this is a great way to add the sometimes missing fiber, calcium, and iron to your diet.
Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
While there are no studies that directly tie chia seeds to weight loss, this low calorie, nutrient-dense seed is very filling. When added to water or other types of liquid, these tiny seeds expand, making you feel full for longer. Feeling satisfied for longer is definitely an advantage for anyone trying to drop a few pounds.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
The vitamins and nutrients mentioned above are the reason there are so many health benefits to eating chia seeds.
Digestive health – the high fiber in these seeds helps prevent constipation. For some people, however, too much fiber can cause gas, bloating and stomach pain. For this reason, it is wise to start off slowly and see how your body reacts.
Heart Health, dementia, depression and arthritis – the risk for all four of these health conditions decreases as your intake of healthy fats increases. While chia seeds have six times the amount of healthy Omega 3s than wild salmon, most doctors still recommend that we get this important nutrient from a combination of fish and plant sources.
Fighting free radicals – higher in antioxidants than blueberries, chia seeds may protect you from the damaging effects of free radicals that can lead to serious chronic diseases.
Where to Buy Chia Seeds
As the word has gotten out about the health benefits of chia seeds, they have become more widely available. Gone are the days when you had to trek down to your local health food store to find them. Their shelf life is about 5 years so you can buy them in bulk, online or in most grocery stores.
While all chia seeds are vegan and gluten-free, read the labels if you are looking for seeds that are organic or not genetically modified.
How to Prepare Chia Seeds
In small amounts, chia seeds can be sprinkled on other foods and eaten raw. Because they are highly water-soluble, they safely soften and expand when soaked in liquids for smoothies, baking, juices or sauces. But there is a wrong way to eat chia seeds. Read this article to find out how eating dry chia seeds can become a choking hazard. Chia seeds are not recommended for small children due to this choking hazard.
When added to liquids, chia seeds become gelatinous, making a great thickener for sauces or as an egg substitute for binding or people with egg allergies.
On-the-Go Chia Seed Snacks
Looking to add a little ch-ch-ch chia seed power to your diet without spending time in the kitchen? Check out these seven (7) options from Creative Snacks. These better-for-you snacks are in resealable packages and require no refrigeration – a perfect fit for your active lifestyle. (Add link to new website for all chia seed products)
- Organic Coconut Snacks (2 varieties)
- Coconut Bites (1 variety)
- Almond Clusters (1 variety)
- Trail Mix (1 variety)
- Chia Cranberry Clusters
- Chia Seeds
Chia Seed Recipes
A quick Google search will give you more chia seed recipes than you could ever use. If you are new to using chia seeds, consider these simple chia seed recipes:
Smoothie Power Boost
Chia seeds make a great power boost to your favorite smoothie recipe. A quick recipe that can be made in a quick minute in a NutriBullet or similar power blender. Simply add the following ingredients and blend until smooth:
- 1 cup of your favorite frozen fruit
- Add 1 ½ cups of liquid (water, juice, coconut milk)
- 2 Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Here is a simple 3-Ingredient Chia Pudding (thanks Yumna Jawad) that will introduce you to the basics of this popular dish. Once you see how easy it is, you can add your own fruits, nuts, and other flavors to make it your own. You should check out her beautiful blog but basically you combine:
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1/2 cup of milk
- A small amount of honey or other sweetener
Mix well and refrigerate for 2 hours to 7 days.
Looking for more chia seed recipes? Check out 20 Chia Seed Recipes That Don’t Just Involve Pudding. 😊