What are chia seeds?
In case you aren't familiar with chia seeds, they are tiny black (sometimes white) seeds that are about the size of a sesame seed. They pack quite the nutritional punch and are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
Chia seeds are able to absorb ~12x their weight in water and become gelatinous in liquids (1). In the recipe below for blueberry chia pudding, this gelatinous property is what holds the pudding together and gives it that "pudding" like texture.
The gelatinous property of chia seeds also give them the ability to be used as an egg replacement in vegan baking. Even if you don't follow a vegan diet, experimenting with using chia seeds as an egg replacer can be an easy way to boost the fats and fiber in your diet. Read more about that here.
What are chia seeds good for?
- Excellent source of plant based omega-3s (1)
- May help lower cholesterol and triglycerides (1)
- Excellent source of fiber
- Compared to flax and hemp seed, chia is higher in fiber (1)
- Note: I'm not trying to play favorites - just putting out some facts. Even though chia is higher in fiber, hemp seed is higher in protein and flax seed is higher in omega-3s. As with most foods, a good variety and combination of all these seeds can be beneficial for most people
- May help stabilize blood sugar (1)
- Contains phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium (1)
- May help to lower blood pressure (1)
Where to buy chia seeds
You may be wondering where you can get your hands on some chia seeds. I normally buy my chia seeds at Trader Joes because they seem to have the best price but you can find chia seeds at pretty much any grocery store.
How do you use chia seeds?
- Add to overnight oats
- Chia seed pudding (see below)
- Make a chia seed smoothie
- Add to a yogurt bowl
- Make "chia fresca"
- Add to baked foods
- Make chia jam
- Use as an egg replacer
- Add to granola
Chia seeds are pretty flavorless so you can be creative with what you add them to.
Using chia seeds to make a high fiber breakfast
To be honest, I have been eating chia pudding for a while now but I've found it rather lack luster and tend to only have it when I'm burnt out on my other breakfast ideas. Because chia seeds have so many good health benefits, I wanted to explore how I can bring some pizzazz to chia pudding so I can actually be excited to eat it! And if I may say so myself, I think I have done just that with this blueberry chia pudding recipe below!
You can normally find chia seeds in the breakfast aisle or with the other nut/seeds.
You may be wondering if chia seeds go bad. Luckily, they have a rather long shelf life and refrigerating them can extend that even further. Chia seeds last about 2 years in the pantry and 4 years in the refrigerator (2). Nuts and seeds contains oils that can go rancid. This process can be accelerated by heat, which is why using the refrigerator can extent the shelf life of chia seeds. I like to keep mine in the refrigerator, along with all my other nuts and seeds.
When shopping for chia seeds you may find both black and white chia seeds although black chia seeds are far more common than white. Both seeds are rather neutral in taste and are high in fiber, omega-3s, and protein (3). Black chia seeds tend to be a little bit smaller while white chia seeds are more commonly ground into a flour (4).
Zesty Lemon Blueberry Chia Pudding
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk See this post if you would like to make your own almond milk
- ½ cup Forager Project drinking cashew yogurt (or regular kefir)
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 1-2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 scoops collagen (I like Vital Proteins)
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Combine well so that the chia seeds don't settle at the bottom of the bowl. You may need to mix again after 5-10 minutes to make sure the chia seeds distribute evenly throughout the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into two separate containers that you will store in the refrigerator.
- Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The mixture should gelatinize to the consistency of pudding.
- Top with your favorite toppings. For this recipe, my favorite is to top with blueberry compote and toasted coconut flakes. Other good toppings would be fresh fruit, granola, hemp seeds, and nut butters. Enjoy!