chiaOh, where to begin? Chia seeds!  One of my absolute favorite super foods for a busy, growing family. I add chia to our smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and of course, I make chocolate pudding out of it! This creamy concoction is vegan, gluten free, grain free, and brimming with antioxidants, so it’s truly a guilt-free treat that gives us tons of energy and keeps us going for hours. Here are some nutritional facts about chia that might have you running to your local health food market to pick some up! (see recipe below)

fiber

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration they are also a great source of magnesium, folate, iron, and calcium.

regulating blood sugar

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood and reduce insulin resistance.

omega-3 fatty acids!

Chia is the richest plant-source of this healthy oil. By weight, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon. Omega 3 oil is important in heart, cholesterol health, and reducing inflammation.

egg replacer

The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. I sometimes use chia in place of eggs to increase the fiber content and nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes. This can also be helpful for individuals who have an egg allergy, or who live a vegan lifestyle.

no need to grind

Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to absorb their nutrients.

lower cholesterol

Chia seeds used as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.

chia for athletes

Many athletes have successfully incorporated chia seeds into their diets, as they are very high in  protein, which aids athletes in recovering from intense workouts. Chia also help athletes stay hydrated longer, because these magical seeds are capable of holding over nine times their weight in water! So, when you eat chia pudding (or make a simple chia gel from chia and water) as a post or pre workout snack, you are helping your body stay hydrated during long periods of physical activity.

Raw cacao is in this recipe, and is another nutritional powerhouse which I will be dedicating it own post to!

chia

chocolate chia pudding, oh my!

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 3 Tablespoons organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut for garnish

note

My kids love this pudding, but I often vary it depending on what I have in the house, and what we are in the mood for. This is a basic recipe, but you can really jazz it up adding fresh fruit, nut seeds, and fresh orange rind as a topper. You and even add in some food grade citrus essential oils to really kick up the nutritional density and flavor! Have fun with this, and experiment. I will be adding more versions to this blog as I make them. Check back soon!

Directions

Step 1. In lidded glass bowl, add all ingredients except coconut, and mix with electric blender or immersion blender for 30 seconds.
Step 2. Put lid on bowl and let sit 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 3. Serve in individual bowls and top with shredded coconut. Enjoy!