Welcome to Ingredient of the Week #2. Today’s post is all about chia seeds.

While the first thing you may think of when you hear “chia seeds” is chia pets, the seeds of the chia plant are actually a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and calcium. Unlike flax seeds, they do not have to be ground in order for the body to absorb the nutrients.

One of my favorite things about chia seeds is that they can absorb around ten times their weight in water and form a gel that can be used in drinks, baked goods or in concoctions like overnight oats. They also make a great vegan egg substitute. For every egg called for in a recipe, whisk 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3-4 tablespoons of water until gel forms. I do this all the time since Chris hates eggs.

Chia seeds make for fluffy, voluminous bowls of oats, like this carrot-cake concoction

These mini chocolate cakes have chia seeds instead of eggs in them!

If you’re not into eating little gel balls, totally cool—you can throw dry chia seeds on top of salads, grain dishes, and pretty much anything else you think would benefit from a little crunch.

For more ideas for fun with chia seeds (sarcastic gameshow announcer voice implied), visit my Recipes page.

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