{recipe & tips} Incorporating Chia Seeds Into Your Diet

Incorporating Chia Seeds Into Your Diet

This year the Salvia hispanica, or chia seed, is popping up everywhere. This superfood is worth all of the hype, even if it somehow possesses some people to randomly break out into song about pets.

The chia seed has many nutritional benefits. According to Dr. Andrew Weil,

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

This is good news for me. One of my children has a neurological disorder that effects his speech and swallowing. I am constantly sneaking in added Omega-3 and any additional nutrients that cut back on his need for hard to chew and swallow vitamins.

Chia seeds have other benefits when looking for an egg or xanthan gum replacement in gluten-free/grain-free baking. Last year I started adding chia seeds into my shakes and noticed that the chia seed expands and forms a gel when wet. One day I was reading a gluten-free blog where someone warned about the safety of baking with xanthan gum. I wondered, “Is there really something to be warned about?”. After reading up on what exactly xanthan gum was (more on that here) I began to consider if the chia seed could be used in the same way that I had been using flax as a replacer. I’ve successfully used 1 tablespoon of chia mixed with 2 tablespoons of hot water to replace 1 egg and for recipes calling for xanthan gum I typically use equal parts chia to 2 parts hot water. I can’t verify that it works for every recipe but I’ve used it in gluten-free pancakes, biscuits, bread, muffins, pizza, and cookies.

Chia seeds can be thrown in some many recipes but I’ve created two that are a huge hit around here with both adults and kids.

RECIPE: ALLERGY-FRIENDLY & GLUTEN-FREE GRANOLA

DRY INGREDIENTS
3 cups rice cereal
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut

WET INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or whatever sweetener you have)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seed

METHODS

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2) Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl to make a dry mix.

3) Whisk together the wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl:


4) Carefully pour wet mix into the dry mix bowl. Combine gently with a spatula until well coated.

5) Pour mix onto sheet pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

6) Let the granola completely cool. Then add 1/2 cup craisins, raisins, or currants.

7) Store in airtight jar.

EDIBLE GIFT IDEA: Granola makes a great gift. Put a bow on it and give it to someone you care about!

++++

During the winter months I like to make my kids a frozen treat with organic frozen fruit. Along with gluten, dairy is a no-no in my house so I make my own frozen fruit popsicles with almond milk and, you guessed it, chia seeds.

RECIPE: FROZEN FRUIT POPSICLES

INGREDIENTS
2 cups frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, or blackberries
1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds

METHODS

1) Add all ingredients into food processor or blender until smooth.

2) Pour into popsicle molds and freeze or…..This mixture can also be served immediately as a nice sorbet!

These do not last even 1 day around here. Enjoy!

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Awesome to find out more about an ingredient I knew very little about – thanks. Perhaps I shall try to find it today. Great ideas for it too 🙂

    1. Heather F. says:

      I do not have a reliable place close by me to get chia seeds so I order the 2 pack of the
      Nutivia brand on Amazon.com. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. margaret says:

    For more information about chia seeds, and some recipe ideas, check out my website: http://www.chiativity.org I love your granola idea!!

    1. Heather F. says:

      Margaret,
      Thanks for reading! You have some great info on your site.

  3. Roxxroxx says:

    Reblogged this on Adventures in food and commented:
    Great post – very interesting – will see if they can be found i Thailand!

    1. Heather F. says:

      Hey, thank you! Good luck finding them!

  4. Betsy says:

    So interesting!

  5. Gina says:

    One weird thing about Chia seeds is that in some people, they can lower blood pressure. Sounds great, until you find out unexpectedly that you’re one of those people, and when you normally have perfect BP you suddenly find yourself *very* lightheaded and on the verge of passing out. Ask me how I know! LOL!

    Citation: http://www.livestrong.com/article/112631-chia-seeds-side-effects/

    If you have an allergy to mustard seeds or their relatives, chia seeds may cause allergic reactions too.

    I’m ticked off that I can’t eat them, as I found I really liked them mixed with some fruit juice to make chia fresca.

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