Great ways to eat Chia seeds

Chia seeds can be used in vari­ous healthy and de­li­cious re­cipes.

 Chia Seeds: Healthy or Hype?

More than 30 years ago, the Chia Pet craze burst onto the scene as a fun tab­letop plant. Now, chia seeds are be­ing viewed in a dif­fer­ent way: as a pop­u­lar diet choice.

“While chia is cer­tainly a unique food with a strong nu­tri­ent pro­file, its claim as the next su­per­food may be a bit pre­ma­ture,” says Susan Mills-Gray, nu­tri­tion and health spe­cial­ist with Uni­versity of Mis­souri Ex­ten­sion.

Chia is an un­pro­cessed, whole-grain food that can be ab­sorbed by the body as seeds (un­like flax­seeds). One ounce (about 2 ta­ble­spoons) con­tains 139 cal­or­ies, 4 grams of pro­tein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams car­bo­hydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus cal­ci­um, an­ti­ox­id­ants and omega-3 fatty acids. Their mild, nutty fla­vor makes chia seeds easy to add to foods and bever­ages.

Chia seeds are glu­ten-free and do not trig­ger a re­ac­tion for those al­ler­gic to nuts. However, Mills-Gray says, “If you have an al­lergy to ses­ame or mus­tard seeds or are on high blood pres­sure med­ic­a­tions or blood thin­ners, you should ask your health-care pro­vider be­fore adding chia to your diet.”

Here are 32 tips for us­ing chia seeds:

1. Soak one level ta­ble­spoon of chia seeds with a quarter cup of wa­ter to make an egg sub­sti­tute for bak­ing cakes and cook­ies.

2. Grind seeds and add to hot milk to make a “por­ridge.”

3. Add seeds to soup to thick­en and add nu­tri­tion.

4. Grind seeds and mix in­to pan­cake bat­ter, or in­to flour when mak­ing bread or bis­cuits.

5. Eat seeds whole and raw as a snack.

6. Make a “lassie” by blend­ing chia seeds, yogurt and fruit juice.

7. Add seeds to beaten eggs, soak for 10 minutes and make an om­elet.

8. Mix with Worcester­shire or BBQ sauce and brush over bar­be­cued meats.

9. Add whole chia seeds to a cake bat­ter to make a heavy, poppy seed-like cake.

10. Add seeds to thick­en stews.

11. Throw some seeds in­to a stir fry.

12. Make a thin bat­ter of ground chia seeds and milk and cook in a 275 F to 300 F oven to make crack­ers. Sprinkle with salt.

13. Pur­eed fruit, chia seeds and a little fruit juice are a good top­ping for ice cream.

14. Stir whole seeds through cooked len­tils.

15. Cook brown rice in ve­get­able stock and stir chia seeds through when rice is cooked.

16. Top a cheese­cake with chia seeds soaked in fruit juice to make a gel top­ping.

17. Add whole or ground seeds to cook­ie mixes.

18. Mix ground seeds with ground beef to make meat­balls.

19. Cook brown rice in apple juice, add grated apple and stir whole Chia seeds through the mix­ture for a tasty dessert.

20. Toasted ground chia seeds mixed with honey and cin­na­mon makes a won­der­ful cheese­cake base.

21. Add whole seeds to gran­ola.

22. Mix white chia seeds that have been soaked in milk with mashed pota­toes.

23. Sprout the seeds and use in salads.

24. Mix ground seeds with but­ter or pea­nut but­ter for a nu­tri­tious spread.

25. Spread a mix­ture of honey, cin­na­mon, dried fruit and ground chia seeds on to filo or puff pastry, roll up and cook in a hot oven.

26. Mix seeds, whole or ground, through Nu­tella.

27. Add ground seeds soaked in an egg to bind a ham­burger mix.

28. Soak chia seeds in milk and mix through hot oat­meal.

29. Don’t waste leftover li­quid from a stew. Add chia seeds, al­low to thick­en, then heat and serve with toast, over rice, pasta or a plate of ve­get­ables.

30. Whisk 2 tea­spoons of chia seeds in­to coconut wa­ter. This is es­pe­cially good on a hot day for keep­ing hy­drated and an ex­cel­lent idea for ath­letes. 

31. Want a crunchy break­fast or salad? Add 1/2 to 1 ta­ble­spoon of chia seeds to crunchy toasted muesli. Add milk, fruit juice, soy or nut milk and eat im­me­di­ately. Or add chia seeds as a top­ping for salads or ve­get­able dishes. The chia seeds will re­tain their crunch.

32. Add ground chia seeds to your fa­vor­ite fish-cake re­cipe. ••

  An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and the au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her web­site is www.di­

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